New Zealand tennis has a new hero.

Michael Venus has become the first Kiwi to reach a Grand Slam doubles final since Onny Parun won the French Open in 1974.

Venus and his American partner Ryan Harrison have come from a set down to beat Colombian 16th seeds Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal in three sets 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 56 minutes.

For Venus it was an emotional moment having battled some tough times with the passing of his father David last year.


His mum Lynne was in the stands and Venus fighting back tears said his dad would be looking down on him.

"Yeah I think so, it's really cool to have my mum over here, I wish my dad was here to see it but these things happen, I know he would be super proud right now."

Speaking within an hour of the match finishing, Venus admitted the result hadn't sunk in.

"I'm still in shock it was another tough match, we have gone three sets every match so far so we lost the first set and just said to each other it's been like that each match, let's just enjoy it, dig deep and see what happens."

They will face Mexican Santiago Gonzalez and American Donald Young for the title early Sunday morning after the women's singles final between Simona Halep and Jelena Ostapenko.

Venus played doubles with Gonzalez earlier this year in Houston and at a couple of tournaments in Mexico.

"Obviously it's a huge match on a big court on a big stage. I know him well and when we were playing together he was on the deuce side and I was on the ad side and now we are on the opposite sides and it's working well here. So maybe that was the issue when we were playing together that we were on the wrong sides." Venus said.

The semi-final was played on the second biggest show court at Roland Garros, Suzanne Lenglen with a capacity of 10,000, sadly only around a thousand fans were in attendance but it was match that had high drama.

Venus dropped his opening service game in the third game of the first set as the Colombians seized the opener in 36 minutes.

But a lapse on serve from Cabal at the start of the second set saw Venus and Harrison hit back and go onto level the match. The Colombians created eight break point opportunities but could only convert one and that proved the difference. By contrast Venus and Harrison converted two of their four chances to break.

A tight third set went with serve until 4-4 when Cabal was broken for the second time and Venus served for the match.

"In the third set Ryan (Harrison) was telling me you have been returning great all tournament just go for it and don't worry about it. We got to that big point at 30 all and he smiled and me and said let it go. I managed to (hit the forehand pass) and then he was returning well and gave me a sitter on top of the net."

It meant Venus would serve for the match and a place in the final. He quickly got to 40-15 with some big serving before enduring some nervous moments and saving a break back point. But on his third match point Venus served big to Farah's forehand and the return was put away at the net by Harrison.

'I smiled at myself at the change of ends because for the last two or three weeks I had been serving a basket of serves every single day, and felt I had the confidence in the serve that I would hit my spot. I managed to get some good serves and Ryan knocked off a couple of volleys and here we are."

The win means Venus will rise to the cusp of the world's top 20 if he loses the final and into the top 15 if he wins the title.

Venus and Harrison are guaranteed a financial windfall, sharing 270 thousand Euros ($423,000) just for making the final and 540 thousand Euros ($850,000) should they become Grand Slam champions.

The extraordinary success for a Kiwi who gave up on his dream of becoming a top singles player to concentrate on doubles full time a few years ago, will open up big doors. He will be able to get into the lucrative Masters 1000 tournaments, starting with Montreal in August.

Ironically his partnership with good friend Harrison will end for the time being at least. Harrison has opted to skip the doubles at Wimbledon to concentrate on his singles where he is ranked 41. The doubles is best of five sets format at the All England Club and many of the top singles players skip it.

Venus will instead team up with Brazilian veteran Andre Sa for the grass court season.
The 40 year old Sa has a current doubles ranking of 57 but has been as high as 17 and has won 11 career ATP titles.

Matt Brown is in Paris thanks to Emirates Airline