It's an intriguing first round doubles draw for Kiwi Michael Venus and his South African partner Raven Klaasen in the lucrative Rome Masters this week.

Venus will play against his former doubles partner and good friend Ryan Harrison who he won the French Open with last year.

Venus and Klaasen face Harrison and his Spanish partner Fernando Verdasco with the winners to meet fifth seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares in the second round. It's the Kiwi number one's final hit out before he starts the defence of his Roland Garros doubles title in a couple of weeks.

After a week off Artem Sitak and his Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof line up at the Bordeaux Challenger tournament in France. They will then play the ATP tournament in Geneva the week prior to the French Open.


Meanwhile New Zealand's top ranked singles player Rubin Statham has won through to the final round of qualifying at the strong Busan Challenger tournament in South Korea.

Statham has beaten local Tae-Woo Lee 7-6 (3) 6-3 in 1 hr 41 and will face 30 year old Spaniard Guillermo Olaso for a place in the main draw at the US $150,000 tournament.

Olaso is ranked 359 with Statham 346 and it should be a tight match. Statham is in the main draw of the doubles and plays with Japan's Toshihide Matsui, a 40 year old with a ranking of 130 against the Thai identical twins pairing of Sanchai Ratiwatana and Sonchat Ratiwatana in the first round.

In Incheon South Korea, Kiwi Erin Routliffe has been seeded 15th in the qualifying draw for the ITF US $25,000 women's tournament. Routliffe has made a great start thrashing Korean wildcard Suyeon Song 6-2 6-0 in the first round.​​