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NZer Venus through to French Open quarters

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 4/06/2017

New Zealand doubles player Michael Venus is through to the quarter-finals of the French Open.

Venus and American partner Ryan Harrison battled back to beat Purav Raja and Divij Sharan (India) 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 in their third round match at Roland Garros in Paris.

The Indian duo dominated for long periods of the two hour and six minute match after they broke Harrison in the fifth game of the first set and went on to take the opener 6-4.

Venus was broken to love in the opening game of the second set and although the Kiwi-American pair broke straight back, Harrison dropped serve for the second time at 5-5.

But with Raja and Sharan serving for the match, Harrison and Venus played an inspired return game to break Sharan and turn the match.

They won a tight tiebreaker to force a deciding third set, and proved unstoppable in cruising through the final set 6-2.

Venus said the breakthrough into the top eight at a major tournament was exciting.

"I've been knocking on the door but haven't quite got over the line. We were almost out of that match today - we're very lucky to be where we are," he said.

Harrison and Venus will take on Ivan Dodig (Croatia) and Marcel Granollers of Spain, who beat Kiwi Marcus Daniell and his Brazilian partner Marcelo Demoliner in the first round.

Venus says the seventh-seeded Dodig and Granollers will present a real challenge.

"Obviously they are both very good singles players also on top of their doubles achievements. It's going to be a tough match."

Venus is the first New Zealander to reach the quarter-finals at a Grand Slam since Brett Steven and American partner Pat Galbraith at Wimbledon in 1998.

Regardless of the result, Venus is guaranteed a healthy pay day, sharing $NZ113,000 with Harrison for making the quarter-finals.

That jumps to a guaranteed $NZ208,000 if they win through to the semis.

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