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Venus through to French Open doubles final

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 9/06/2017

Michael Venus is through to the French Open doubles final and poised to clinch a first New Zealand men's grand slam tennis title for 43 years.

Venus and American Ryan Harrison completed a tense three-set win over a Colombian combination on Friday to book a berth in Saturday's decider at Roland Garros.

The 4-6 6-3 6-4 win over 16th seeds Juan-Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah meant Venus and Harrison have been taken to three sets in all five of their wins at the clay court tournament.

They would be more than happy to do the same again in the decider against another unseeded combination - American Donald Young and Mexican Santiago Gonzalez.

If successful, Venus will match the 1974 achievement of Onny Parun, who won the French Open final alongside Australian Dick Crealy.

The last Kiwi woman to claim a grand slam title was Judy Chaloner, alongside Australian Diane Evers Brown in the 1979 Australian Open women's doubles.

Parun (Australian Open 1974) and Chris Lewis (Wimbledon 1983) were both beaten singles finalists in the modern era.

Venus, 29, can scarcely believe he sits in that company, having suffered three first-round exits previously in Paris.

"This is unbelievable. Coming in to this I hadn't won a set here so I'm just so excited to be here," he said.

"I'm still in shock."

Venus overcame a patchy start, having had his opening service game broken.

One break of Cabal's serve was enough to win each of the two remaining sets, with Venus serving out match point.

The final, on the Philippe-Chatrier Court, will follow the women's singles final.

Aucklander Venus, ranked 39th in the world for doubles, is in line for a substantial pay day.

The winners of the doubles final will share 540,000 euros ($838,000) while the losers share 270,000 euros.

Venus and Harrison have clinched one previous title together, also on clay, when they won the Estoril Open in Portugal in March.

The best Venus has achieved in 14 previous grand slam campaigns was reaching the third round, on five occasions.

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