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Venus wins to hand NZ Davis Cup triumph

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 9/04/2017

Michael Venus was the hero for New Zealand, winning a five-set singles marathon to clinch their Davis Cup tie 3-2 over South Korea in Auckland.

Kiwi No.2 Venus powered home in the final two sets to beat Seong Chan Hong 6-3 3-6 4-6 6-2 6-3.

It sealed victory after Korean No.1 Soon Woo Kwon had blown away the lower-ranked New Zealand veteran Rubin Statham 6-3 6-2 6-4 in the first reverse singles match on Sunday.

That levelled the scores 2-2, putting the spotlight on doubles specialist Venus.

He had the more dominant serve, unleashing 17 aces to Hong's four, and also appeared fitter as the three-hour match wore on.

Venus said it was crowd support rather than physical fitness that was decisive in the closing stages.

"It's unbelievable it's why you train and play to get support like this. They lifted me and helped energise me to win," he said.

The result means New Zealand will remain in Asia-Oceania group one next year.

South Korea must play a relegation tie against Chinese-Taipei in September, with the losers dropping to group two.

The Kiwi players will return quickly to professional duty.

Venus will contest an ATP doubles tournament in Houston, where his first-round opposition features compatriot Artem Sitak, who was one half of the successful doubles combination this week.

Statham will play lower-tier singles tournaments in Australia and Asia.

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