Michael Burgess is a sports writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Tennis: NZ presence guaranteed in doubles final

Kiwi doubles team, Marcus Daniell in action with Artem Sitak (not pictured). Photo / Nick Reed
Kiwi doubles team, Marcus Daniell in action with Artem Sitak (not pictured). Photo / Nick Reed

There will be a guaranteed New Zealand presence on finals day at the ASB Classic, after Michael Venus and Croatian partner Mate Pavic won through to the semifinals on Thursday night.

In the perfect scenario for the tournament - and Kiwi tennis fans - Venus and Pavic will face off against Artem Sitak and Marcus Daniell in Friday night's second semifinal.

However, there can only be one winner and Venus admitted that the existing familiarity added a different dimension.

"I know them both pretty well," said Venus, of his long time Davis Cup team mates. "[And] they could probably tell you what we are going to do...it's pretty basic. I think everyone knows [our plan] but we will stick to that and see where it goes."

Pavic and Venus were very convincing in their 6-3 6-4 win over third seeds Philipp Petzschner and Alexander Peya.

The New Zealand-Croatian combination were always in control and forced five break point opportunities (converting two).

"Both of us have good serves and we moved well at the net which was good," said Venus. "We returned good in patches, managed to get the breaks and hold on there."

And both players revelled in the atmosphere created by the crowd at the ASB Tennis Arena.
"Playing with a Kiwi on centrecourt I felt like a Kiwi," said Pavic. "The atmosphere was amazing."

"The crowd was awesome," added Venus. "It's something you don't get throughout the year on tour."

But who would the local fans back on Friday night?

"I don't know, I might have to ask a few more friends to come," joked Venus. "If Karl [Budge] gives me some more tickets."

- NZ Herald

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