French Open

Klaasen takes it on the chin

2014-06-02 19:53
Raven Klaasen (Getty Images)

Johannesburg - South Africa's Davis Cup doubles star Raven Klaasen said he took it on the chin when he and American partner Eric Butorac were knocked out the French Open.

"That's how it goes," said the amiable 31 year-old on Monday.

"You have to accept the highs and the lows and move on. Playing on the slower clay courts in the French Open was always going to be a challenge.

"Now we're already looking towards the next grand slam tournament at Wimbledon where the grass surface should be more to Eric's and my liking."

The South African-US combination, who stunned all in the previous grand slam tournament earlier in the year, by beating a succession of highly-vaunted combinations to reach the final of the Australian Open, were eliminated in Paris in only the second round.

Seeded 14th, the pair started off confidently at Roland Garros with a 7-6 6-1 first round win over the tough American pairing of Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson.

But the wheels came off for Klaasen and Butorac in the second round.

They lost 5-7 6-4 6-4 to Argentina's Maximo Gonzalez and Juan Monaco in a closely-contested struggle lasting a tense two hours, 30 minutes.

Monaco, known almost solely as a singles competitor, has a doubles world ranking of a modest 297th and you would have expected Klaasen and Butorac to have had his measure.

This especially after they had beaten such highly-regarded opponents as the world number one pairing of Bob and Mike Bryan; Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic; Michael Llodra and Nicolas Mahut and also Australian veteran Lleyton Hewitt and super-veteran Pat Rafter in the Australian Open.

"Monaco might not have a great doubles ranking but he is a talented tennis player who generally concentrates on singles.

"That is why his doubles ranking is at a lower level," Klaasen said.

"Except for the ultra-consistent Bryan brothers, the doubles events on the ATP circuit can often be like a lottery and even relatively unknown couples can be a handful.

"Had we made it through to the third round in the French Open we were scheduled to meet the number two seeded pair of Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares, but they also lost in the second round.

"We certainly did not under-estimate the Argentinean combination of Gonzalez and Monaco in any way.

Klaasen's world doubles ranking has now slipped from a recent career-high of 23rd to 30th - which is motivation, no doubt, to make a bigger impact at Wimbledon than he did in Paris.

Read more on:    atp tour  |  french open  |  raven klaasen  |  tennis

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