Michael Venus wins French Open doubles crown

Author
NZN,
Section
Tennis,
Publish Date
Sunday, 11 June 2017, 7:15AM
Ryan Harrison of US and Michael Venus of NZ celebrate victory with the trophy in the mens doubles final match. (Getty)
Ryan Harrison of US and Michael Venus of NZ celebrate victory with the trophy in the mens doubles final match. (Getty)

Michael Venus has ended a Kiwi tennis grand slam drought that spanned 38 years after clinching men's doubles success at the French Open in Paris.

Venus and his American partner Ryan Harrison held their nerve to win a final at Roland Garros that lasted more than two hours.

Their 7-6 6-7 6-3 defeat of American Donald Young and Mexican Santiago Gonzalez meant Venus and Harrison needed three sets to win all six of their matches at the clay court tournament.

Venus hardly looked fatigued after Gonzalez hit the ball long on match point, delightedly throwing his racquet in the air and embracing good friend Harrison.

The 29-year-old is the first New Zealand grand slam winner since Judy Chaloner won the women's doubles at the 1979 Australian Open, alongside Australian Diane Evers Brown.

The last man to achieve the feat was Onny Parun, with Australian Dick Crealy in the 1974 French Open men's doubles.

The previous Kiwi finalist was Chris Lewis at Wimbledon in 1983, which he lost to American great John McEnroe.

To even reach the decider was a surprise to world No.39 Venus, whose three previous campaigns in Paris had ended in the first round. He had never even won a set.

The final was tense, with no service breaks in the first two sets. Venus and Harrison won the first tiebreaker 7-5 but lost the second 7-4.

They secured a break early in the final set but Venus then had his own serve broken, having squandered a game point when he botched a simple volley.

The Kiwi didn't let the mistake get to him, breaking back shortly afterwards before Harrison served out the match.

Venus can expect a decent world ranking boost and will bank half of the winners' prizemoney of 540,000 euros ($838,000).

It is a seventh tour title for Venus and his second alongside Harrison.

The pair won on clay in March, at the Estoril Open in Portugal.

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