Michael Venus has become the first New Zealand male to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final in 19 years.

The 29-year-old Aucklander and American partner Ryan Harrison have fought back from the brink of defeat to beat the Indian pair of Purav Raja and Divij Sharan 4-6, 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 in two hours and six minutes in their third-round match at the French Open.

The Indian pair served for the match at 6-5 in the second set, and somehow Venus and Harrison were able to break back to force a decider.

"It's really exciting" Venus said. "I've been wanting to be in this position in these Grand Slams for a long time now.


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

Brett Steven was the last Kiwi male to reach a quarter-final at a Grand Slam - at Wimbledon in 1998, playing doubles with American Pat Galbraith. They lost in five sets to the "Woodies", Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde.

Marina Erakovic reached the Wimbledon doubles semifinals in 2011.

Venus had made it to the third round at Grand Slams six times - Wimbledon in 2015 and 2016, the Australian Open in 2014 and 15, the US Open in 2014 and this week.

For long periods, it looked like Venus' quest would end in heartbreak.

The match resumed from yesterday's rain delay, with Venus and Harrison leading 2-1 in the first set. However, after the Indian pair held serve, Harrison was broken and their opponents went on to clinch the opening set in 43 minutes.

Venus was then broken to love at the start of the second set, and while he and Harrison broke back immediately, the momentum was with their opponents.

When Harrison dropped serve in the 11th game, it looked to be all but over.


"I just said to Ryan [at the change of ends] remember Estoril in the semi-finals, where we were down a set and the other guys were serving for the match. They had a match point in that game, and we ended up breaking them and went on to win that match.

"So I said to him we've done it before and I don't think these guys have been in the quarter finals of a Grand Slam before, so they might be feeling pressure so let's throw it in all there."

"From 6-5 in the second set, that's probably the best I've played consistently for that amount of time here, so that's really exciting going forward. I am really happy to play my best tennis when it comes to the crunch time in these tournaments, so I am looking forward to the next match."

The victory for Venus will ensure he moves to the cusp of the world's top 30 doubles players, regardless of the result of his quarter-final against seventh seeds Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Spaniard Marcel Granollers.

"Obviously, they are both very good singles players also, on top of their doubles achievements," said Venus. "It's going to be a tough match, but I played them second round at Australian Open this year and had two match points with Robert Lindstedt in the third set, and we lost in a third set tie break."

The pair are guaranteed to share 72 thousand Euros ($NZ113,000) for making the quarter-finals and if they win their next match, they will be guaranteed 132 thousand Euros ($NZ208,000) between them.

Matt Brown is at the French Open thanks to Emirates Airline​