10 Jan 2011

So close but so far for Statham in Auckland

1:13 pm on 10 January 2011

The New Zealand national men's tennis champion Rubin Statham has fallen one match short of making the main draw of the Heineken Open in Auckland, losing in three sets in the final round of qualifying to Spain's Pere Riba.

Statham came out firing on centre court this morning and caught the world number 72 off guard taking the first set 6-4, but the Spaniard regained his composure to claim the second set 6-4.

Statham fought hard in the third but was unable to match the classy Riba who broke the New Zealander's serve twice before taking the third set 6-3 and the match.

Riba now qualifies for the main draw at the Auckland tournament.