Kiwi Michael Venus knocked out of ASB Classic after intense semi-final showdown

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NZN

Kiwi doubles tennis specialist Michael Venus and partner Raven Klaasen have fallen out of the ASB Classic at the semi-final stage.

Venus and Klaasen, seeded second at the Classic, lost 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (8-6) today to Belarusian Max Mirnyi and Austrian Philipp Oswald in 99 minutes.

Both pairings failed to break serve in a closely fought contest characterised by big service games, but Mirnyi and Oswald handled the key moments better.

They rode out the first-set tiebreak with aplomb, securing a 9-7 win after several Klaasen unforced errors, and eked out a 8-6 second-set tiebreak win.

The duo will face either the top-seeded Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic or Santiago Gonzalez and Julio Peralta in Saturday afternoon's final.

Venus and the South African Klaasen earned their semi-final spot with a 4-6 6-4 (10-4) win over Pole Marcin Matkowski and Pakistani Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi.

The two players are a relatively new combination after Venus' rich success and 2017 French Open triumph with American Ryan Harrison.

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