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Brave Klaasen falls at final hurdle in Aussie Open

By Mark Etheridge

South African Raven Klaasen’s dreams of Grand Slam tennis glory evaporated on a sweltering Melbourne Centre Court at the Australian Open on Saturday evening (Australian time).

Klaasen and American partner Eric Butorac bowed out to 14th seeds Robert Lindstedt (Swe) and Lukasz Kubot (Pol), going out in straight sets, 6-3 6-3.

But the two fought valiantly for the hour and five minutes the four players were out on court and the unseeded combination will take heart from their efforts. Especially when one considers that this was only their sixth tournament as a team.

And making their defeat that much easier to accept was the fact that they will bank a whopping 260,000 Aussie dollars between them, easily the biggest payday for either player.

That means Cape Town based Klaasen’s bank account will be boosted the tune of roughly R1.25-million.

Klaasen and Butorac won the toss and opted to service but the duo were on the back foot as early as the third game when a nervous Klaasen’s service was broken and they went down 2-1.

Butorac’s service was then broken as the duo went down after 28 minutes.

Their opponent’s service game got better and better and they served up consecutive love games in the second set. At 4-3 down,

Klaasen’s service was broken again despite the brief glimpse of a fightback when they had a breakpoint on the LIndstedt service the Swede held firm and the second set and match was done and dusted after 37min of action.

Speaking afterwards Klaasen thanked all and sundry after their dream run which also saw them beat top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan of the United States.

“Congratulations to Lucas and Robert they were outstanding. And to my partner Eric, it’s been a fun ride and hopefully the start of a long road.

“Then to my family and box who gave us so much backing during the week and finally to my country back home. The support from family, friends, media, just everyone has been awesome.”


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