11 Jan 2011

Three up three down for NZ at tennis

12:44 pm on 11 January 2011

New Zealand tennis is still waiting for a big day out at the Heineken Open after the first day ended with three defeats on centre court in Auckland.

Two of the three matches began with New Zealanders winning the first set only to lose the next two.

First it was qualifier Rubin Statham, who took the first set from Pere Riba 6-4 but lost the second by the same margin, with the Spaniard taking the third 6-3.

The New Zealand number one Michael Venus gave the crowd a whiff of a big upset going to 4-1 in the first set of his match with Tommy Robredo.

But the former top five player took it to a tiebreak, Venus coming back from 5-1 down to take the set.

That was as good as it got though as the Spaniard won in the second 6-3 and the third 6-0.

Then the New Zealand half of last year's winning doubles combination, Marcus Daniell, and new partner Artem Sitak lost in straight sets to the Czech Frantisek Cermak and Germany's Christopher Kas.