Venus/Klaasen Advance To Semi-finals In London
Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus became the first doubles team to reach the semi-finals at this year’s Nitto ATP Finals, earning their place on Tuesday with a 6-3, 6-4 win against Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo.
”Everything seems to be going great this week. We just keep trying to work hard and persevere together,” Venus said. “We’re just happy to be playing this well at the end of the year and especially in London. It’s such a special event… The atmosphere makes it awesome to play out here.”
The South African-Kiwi pair are 2-0 in Group Jonas Bjorkman after also scoring a straight-sets win on Sunday against Rajeev Ram/Joe Salisbury. They’re making their second team appearance at the season-ending championships and advanced out of round-robin action for the first time. Klaasen also finished runner-up at this event in 2016 with Rajeev Ram (l. to Kontinen/Peers).
”We’re really excited about how we played,” Klaasen said. “Mikey carried me out there today. We’re just happy to be through.”
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Klaasen/Venus take a 4-3 lead against Kubot/Melo in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry and have won their past three matches, including victories en route to their two ATP Tour titles this season in Halle and Washington.
Kubot/Melo drop to 1-1 this week, having beaten Ivan Dodig/Filip Polasek on Sunday. Their final round-robin match against Ram/Salisbury will determine the second team to advance out of Group Jonas Bjorkman.
Klaasen/Venus got off to a hot start and broke Kubot early, with Klaasen knocking off a forehand volley for a 3-1 lead in the first set. The South-African Kiwi pair only dropped four points on serve and didn't offer Kubot/Melo a break point. A comfortable hold from Venus at 5-3 gave his team the early advantage after 32 minutes.
Both teams remained even in the second set until Venus stepped up by hitting the shot of the day at 4-4. With Melo serving on a deciding point, Venus responded to a Kubot smash by flicking a half-volley winner for the break. A big serve by Venus in the next game wrapped up play after 71 minutes.