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

Tennis: Venus into doubles final after downing Kiwi duo

Michael Venus of New Zealand. Photo / Getty Images.
Michael Venus of New Zealand. Photo / Getty Images.

New Zealander Michael Venus and Croatian partner Mate Pavic will contest today's doubles final at the ASB Classic, after a convincing 6-2 6-3 win over Artem Sitak and Marcus Daniell on Friday night.

Stiak and Daniell hadn't played since Monday - after receiving a walk over at the quarter final stage - whereas Venus and Pavic had come through two tough matches in consecutive days.

They looked sharper from the start in the semi-final, grabbing an early break then securing the first set by converting a second break opportunity.

Sitak and Daniell struggled on their second serves, winning just one point in the opening set when their first serve didn't land.

The second set was a tighter affair but Venus and Pavic always held the upper hand; they constantly had Sitak and Daniell, who are aiming to represent New Zealand at the 2016 Olympics, under pressure to hold.

Pavic sealed the result in style, with a slashing forehand drive down the inside line.

"We have been getting better and better this week," said Venus. "We stuck to our game plan and everything came off."

They face fourth seeds Eric Butorac (USA) and Scott Lipsky today, after the Americans beat Julian Knowle and Oliver Marach 6-1 6-4 yesterday.

"They have more experience than us," said Pavic of today's opponents, who have won 30 titles between them compared to one for Venus and Pavic. "[But] we have to set a good game plan and hope for the best."

Meanwhile Venus is thriving on his home court, aiming for more history after last year's singles heroics.

"I love this court," said Venus. "I practiced here all November and December so I am really enjoying it."

The doubles final starts at 12.15pm, with the singles between Jack Sock and Roberto Bautista Agut set to go from 2:30pm.

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