Kiwi Michael Venus has been knocked out of the Australian Open in the men's doubles quarter-finals.
He and South African partner Raven Klaasen, seeded sixth for the year's first Grand Slam, could not overcome unseeded opponents Leonard Mayer of Argentina and Portugese Joao Sousa to reach the final four, losing 6-4 7-6 (8).
Venus and Klaasen made a poor start, with the Kiwi dropping serve in the opening game of the match. After Sousa held comfortably, Klaasen found himself 15-40 down, but fought back to hold.
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Venus and Klaasen then broke Mayer, and Venus held for a 3-2 lead. Games went with serve until the ninth game, when the Kiwi was broken again and Sousa served out the first set in 44 minutes.
Venus and Klaasen converted one of four break-point chances, while their opponents clinched two of four.
Games went with serve throughout a tight second set, with neither pair able to create a break-point chance. The set went to a tie-break, with the first 12 points going with serve, before Klaasen served a double-fault to hand Sousa a second matchpoint on his serve, which he duly converted.
The result reverses a five-set win by Venus and Klaasen over the same opponents at Wimbledon last year. Despite the defeat, Venus is projected to climb to 13 in the doubles rankings after the tournament.