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Fil-American netter Treat Huey and Belarusian partner Max Mirnyi started their claycourt season campaign on a low note after making a quick exit at the Grand Prix Hassan II tournament in Marrakech, Morocco Wednesday night.
The unseeded pair fell short to Great Britain’s Dominic Inglot and Croatia’s Mate Pavic, 6-4, 6-4, in the opening round of the 16-pair field, which stakes 500,000 euros.
Incidentally, Inglot was Huey’s former long-time partner where they both won three Association Tennis Professionals titles before parting ways late in 2015.
A victory for Huey and Mirnyi could have arranged them a quarterfinal meeting with third seed Rohan Bopanna of India and Marcin Matkowski of Poland, who dumped New Zealand’s Marcus Daniell and Brazil’s Marcelo Demoliner, 6-4, 6-3.
Huey and Mirnyi have not been successful in their title bid since the start of the season in January, where their best performance was a runner-up finish at the Delray Beach Open in Florida last February.
The pair is gunning to surpass their third-round finish at last year’s French Open, as well as erase the stigma of a second-round finish at the Australian Open last January.
The French Open is set late next month.
Huey is currently ranked No. 34 in the ATP doubles – his second worst this season – while Mirnyi dipped at No. 33 after starting the year at No. 21.
Huey skipped the Asia Ocenia Zone Group II tie against Thailand last week, citing back pains, although many perceived it as a sign of protest over the ongoing leadership row in the tennis association.
Apart from him, veteran Davis Cuppers Ruben Gonzales and Francis Casey Alcantara also begged off citing injuries.