Venus falls short in Classic doubles final
Michael Venus has failed to win the ASB Classic for the second time as he and partner Raven Klaasen lost to Ben McLachlan and Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3 6-4.
There were high hopes of a New Zealand victory on finals day at the Classic, but instead of it being the Auckland-born Venus celebrating, it’s Queenstown-born Japanese representative McLachlan who got to lift the trophy.
McLachlan and Struff deserved the victory. The German’s serve was unstoppable, while McLachlan played consistent and aggressive tennis.
‘‘They played well, we knew they would,’’ Venus said.
‘‘They served big and you need to take care of your own service games first and we weren’t able to do that.
‘‘The first service percentage was a bit low [57 per cent], we missed some spots on our serves and they took advantage of those and Struff lit us up with quite a few returns.
‘‘If you get broken four times in two sets, it’s not good.’’
In 2016, Venus won his home tournament with Mate Pavic and since then he’s won the French Open and reached the final of Wimbledon.
While the Classic can never compare to the achievements in grand slams, winning this tournament in front of his friends and family is massive for him, but unfortunately he came up just short this time.
Both sets were similar, tight at the beginning, but then rapidly swinging McLachlan and Struff’s way.
Struff hit an incredible winner during the middle of the first set, putting the ball through a small gap between the net post and umpire’s chair to land in court.
This was one of the points that helped him and McLachlan break Venus’ serve and there was a quick hold for a 5-3 lead.
Klaasen was broken in the following game as the set slipped away quickly from the New Zealand/ South African combination.
Having played almost perfect doubles tennis against the Bryan brothers in the second set on Friday night, this was a come down from Venus and Klaasen in the opening set of the final.
‘‘It was a different match up,’’ reflected Klaasen.
‘‘In the one match you get a few more opportunities to have a swing at the ball and with the style of tennis these guys play, there’s not many rallies that get past two or three shots.’’
Michael Venus, left, talks with partner Raven Klaasen during their doubles loss yesterday.