NEW ZEALANDERS will have to wait another year to see a local in the second round of the Heineken Open singles.
Kiwi number one Rubin Statham, handed a wild card for the tournament, battled hard against Lukas Lacko of Slovakia but didn’t have the goods, losing in straight sets 6-3 6-1.
Statham, ranked 288 in the world, was competitive in most games of the first set with the 90th-ranked Lacko, holding his first three service games despite being frequently under pressure.
But the floodgates opened once he lost his serve in the seventh game, with Statham dropping six consecutive games to lose the first set and put himself under pressure in the second.
Statham took one more service game but Lacko quickly closed the contest out from there, recovering from 0-40 down to serve out the match.
Statham has one more chance to advance in the tournament when he and fellow New Zealander Michael Venus play in the doubles later on Tuesday.
The only time in recent years when a New Zealand player made the second round of the singles was after Statham beat fellow New Zealander Dan King-Turner in the first round in 2010.
Lacko will play fourth seeded American John Isner in the second round.