10 Jan 2017

One NZer left in ASB Classic singles

8:17 am on 10 January 2017

There's just one New Zealander left in Auckland's ASB Tennis Classic men's singles after two players were dumped out on the opening day.

New Zealand tennis player Michael Venus in action at the ASB Classic.

Michael Venus. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Playing last night's feature match on centre court Michael Venus won the first set of his first round match against Spanish sixth seed Feliciano Lopez before losing the next two to be beaten 3-6 6-4 6-3.

Wildcard Venus, traditionally a doubles specialist, says he's unsure when he'll next enter a singles draw.

Venus, a full-time doubles player, is not even ranked inside the top 1000 singles players in the world and no one expected him to get close to the 28th-ranked Lopez.

Venus will now focus on defending the doubles title he won with Croatian Mate Pavic last year, although this week he's paired with Sweden's Robert Lindstedt.

Fellow New Zealander Finn Tearney also lost his first round singles match yesterday, going down in straight sets to Dutchman Robin Haase.

Tearney, who's ranked a mammoth 389 places below Haase, went ahead 3-0 in both the first and second sets before the Dutchman fought back.

The 58-ranked Haase eventually won the match 6-4 7-5.

Afterwards, Haase said he thinks it just came down to experience.

"I think I served quite well, so I got a lot of free points and I think in the end...the experience to play this kind of match for him was tough - home crowd, maybe it's his first ATP I'm not even sure," Haase said.

"But the circumstances are never easy here with the wind and you try to play your game but you have to adjust and I think I did that in the end a little bit better."

Earlier the American seventh seed Steve Johnson was the first player to make it through to the second round of the tournament, beating Frenchman Stephane Robert 6-4 6-3, despite looking a bit rusty during parts of the match.

Also through to Wednesday's draw are Czech player Jiri Vesely and Tunisian Malek Jaziri, who both overcame their opponents in straight sets.

Artem Sitak is the only New Zealander remaining in the singles, he takes on Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in the first round in tonight's late match.