Kiwi Michael Venus storms into ASB Classic doubles semi-final after first set woes

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NZN

Kiwi doubles specialist Michael Venus and Raven Klaasen have survived a white-knuckle ASB Classic quarter-final ride to defeat Pole Marcin Matkowski and Pakistani Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi 4-6 6-4 (10-4) last night.

Michael Venus during the ASB Classic

Michael Venus during the ASB Classic

Source: Photosport

Falling 6-4 in the first set, Venus and Klaasen clinched a see-sawing second set with plenty of adventurous play and sent the match into tiebreak.

They duly raced out to an 8-2 tiebreak lead on the back of several unforced Matkowski and Qureshi errors, and held their nerve to triumph.

"They served big and we were struggling to get in some of their service games, so we just tried a few different things and found a few things that gave us a look, and then our game really rose and we played a great tiebreak," Venus said.

Having dispatched the reigning Classic doubles champions, Venus and the South African Klaasen will face Max Mirnyi and Philipp Oswald in the semis.

Belarusian Mirnyi and Austrian Oswald, second-round vanquishers of Kiwi Marcus Daniell and his partner, earned a walkover into Friday's Classic semi-finals after opponents Pablo Cuevas and Horacio Zeballos withdrew injured.

Venus and Klaasen - a relatively new pairing after Venus' 2017 French Open triumph with Ryan Harrison - are seeded second in the doubles.

"Anyone we play at this stage of the tournament will be playing well, so we need to execute, work on our game," the 30-year-old Venus said.

"You can practise together all the time but you learn the most when you're out there earning points - it's been great for us to have two great-quality matches."

In today's other doubles semi-final, top seeds Mate Pavic and Oliver Marach will take on the third-seeded Santiago Gonzalez and Julio Peralta.

Venus' Kiwi compatriot Artem Sitak was previously eliminated.

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