Kiwi tennis pair to play for bronze after semi-final defeat

New Zealand doubles pair Michael Venus and Marcus Daniell have been beaten in their Olympic semi-final this evening despite a spirited effort.

It was a tough semi-final for Marcus Daniell (left) and Michael Venus, but the doubles pair still have a shot at an Olympic bronze medal. Source: Getty

It was always going to be a massive challenge for the Kiwi duo, up against the intimidating presence of Croatian star Marin Cilic and his partner Ivan Dodig.

Cilic, a former US Open champion and one of the best singles players in the world, was pumped up when the Croatians broke serve in the fifth game of the first set.

From there, the match was dominated by the Croats, as the Kiwis struggled with their serve, recording five double faults in the first set, and two more in the opening game of the second.

The Croatian pair flew to a 4-0 lead in the second set before the Kiwis managed to pull a game back. The pair kept fighting, winning another game to take it to 5-2.

But it was too little, too late, as the Croatians wrapped up the match soon after 6-2, 6-2.

Venus and Daniell will now play for the bronze medal against the loser of the second semi-final between number-one ranked pair Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, also of Croatia, and American duo Austin Krajicek and Tennys Sandgren.

New Zealand have never won an Olympic medal in tennis in any of the 11 previous Games the sport has been included.

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