Venus falls short in Clas­sic dou­bles fi­nal

Sunday News - - SPORT - David Long

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.’’

AP

Michael Venus, left, talks with part­ner Raven Klaasen dur­ing their dou­bles loss yes­ter­day.

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