13 Jan 2015

Statham KO'd in first round

5:45 pm on 13 January 2015

A battling performance from the New Zealand tennis player Rubin Statham wasn't enough to overcome Colombian Alejandro Falla in his first round clash at Auckland's Heineken Open.

New Zealand tennis player Rubin Statham in action in a Davis Cup tennis tie in Christchurch.

New Zealand tennis player Rubin Statham in action in a Davis Cup tennis tie in Christchurch. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

An upset looked possible early on when Statham raced to a 3-nil lead in the first set, but the 27-year-old Aucklander eventually went down 6-4, 6-4.

His loss to a player ranked more than 400 places above him in the world continues a five year stretch of a New Zealand player failing to win a singles match at the event.

The world number one ranked doubles combination of Mike and Bob Bryan of the USA were been beaten in their first round match by Robin Haase of the Netherlands and Andre Begemann of Germany.

The Americans thought they'd won but a poor line call went against them and they went on to lose 11-9 in the third set super tie break.

The remaining New Zealander Michael Venus will take on another Colombian player, Alejandro Gonzalez, later this evening.

It has been five years since a New Zealand player won a main draw match at the tournament, when Statham beat compatriot Daniel King-Turner.

The last local hope to beat an overseas player was Mark Nielsen 13 years ago in 2002.

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