Klaasen, Venus beaten in Auckland semis

Cape Town - South African tennis star Raven Klaasen and his new doubles partner, Michael Venus from New Zealand, on Friday lost in the semi-finals of the ASB Classic in Auckland.

The duo lost a tight encounter 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (8/6) to Max Mirnyi from Belarus and Austria's Philipp Oswald.

Klaasen and Venus, the tournament's second seeds, earlier in the week won two matches to get to the semi-finals.

Klaasen partnered American Rajeev Ram for the past few seasons, but has started 2017 alongside Venus.

Venus and Klaasen had previously played together when they won a futures tournament in Uzbekistan seven years ago.

The 35-year-old Klaasen, who boasts 13 ATP doubles titles, is currently ranked No 25 in the world in doubles.

He told the Stuff.co.nz website he's happy with how he and Venus are gelling and he feels optimistic heading into next week's Australian Open.

"If you asked me when I arrived here if we'd get three matches under our belt this week if I'd be happy, I would have said yes," Klaasen said.

"We got what we needed here, it would have been nicer to win here today and get another go, but we've learned a lot about each other, we seemed to click out there.

"Today, it wasn't about clicking, it was about finding one or two points to get over the hump."