First-round casualty SA's Raven Klaasen and his NZ partner were eliminated from the AUS Open on Thursday. Photo: TSA

CAPE TOWN – Another South African has made a first-round exit at the 2018 Australian Open in Melbourne.

On Thursday, South Africa's Raven Klaasen and his New Zealand partner Michael Venus crashed out of the men's doubles in the opening main draw match against the combination of David Marrero (Spain) and Scott Lipsky (USA) who won 7-6 (16-14) 7-6 (7-4).

Klaasen and Venus, the reigning French Open doubles champ (with American Ryan Harrison), the eighth seeds spurned six set points in the opening set tie-break which eventually ended at 16-14. 

Later Venus and Klaasen created the first break point chance against the serve at 4-3 in the second set but the opportunity was quickly snuffed out by Lipsky.

Venus then served two double faults to start the next game and saved two break points against his serve.

The set went to a tie-break and Venus served two more double faults at 3-4 to hand Lipsky and Marrero three match points. They converted on their second one of these, to close out the victory in 1 hour 43 minutes.

Venus and Klaasen won more points than their opponents (91-89) but they committed nearly twice as many unforced errors (24-14) and they will no doubt lament the costly double faults in each tie-breaker.

It's a disappointing result for Venus and his new partner Klaasen, who had high hopes as a team after starting their partnership at the ASB Classic in Auckland last week where they reached the semifinals.  

African News Agency (ANA)

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