Heart Break for Venus and Peers at ATP Tour Finals
Michael Venus and his Australian partner John Peers chances at the ATP Finals in London are hanging by a thread after suffering a second straight loss at the 02 Arena.
The 6th seeded Antipodean pair have been beaten 6-2 6-7 (4) 12-10 to 7th seeds Edouard Roger Vasselin and Jurgen Melzer in 1 hour 30.
It’s a result that leaves them needing to beat top seeds Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares on Saturday and hope Horacio Zeballos and Marcel Granollers beat Melzer and Roger-Vasselin which would see the second semi-final spot from the Group determined on a sets and possibly a games countback.
This was a match that Venus and Peers should not have lost. They were the dominant team throughout serving superbly but will rue their failure to capitalise on five match points.
They got off to a flying start at the O2 Arena breaking Melzer early and then clinching the set with a second break for 6-2. Venus and Peers dropped just five points on serve in the opening set and converted two of their three chances. Venus and Peers continued with their strong serving in the second set which was much tighter as the French /Austrian combination also stepped up on serve. They did get a match point at deuce on Roger-Vasselin’s serve at 4-5 but a good first serve to Peers by the Frenchman saw the chance go begging.
The second set went to a tie break and Melzer and Roger-Vasselin were the more composed pair and went up an early break before closing it out 7-4.
The match was decided on a match tie break, first to 10 points. Venus and Peers got on top early and with some top class serving and sublime returns raced to a 7-3 lead.
The gap closed to 7-6 before Peers won both his service points to take them to the cusp of victory with three more match points. But they couldn’t convert, and Melzer came up with a brilliant return of service point to pass Venus and level the breaker at 9-9. Venus made a clutch volley to set up a 5th match point at 10-9 but Melzer held serve twice to set up a first match point for the 7th seeds. Venus dumped a smash into the net to hand Melzer and Roger-Vasselin an unlikely victory.
Venus and Peers will have to pick themselves up for their final Group match against the top seeded Croatian and Brazilian on Saturday, but the Kiwi does know Pavic well having played with him in the early part of his career.
Venus reached the final at the 02 Arena last year with his former partner Raven Klaasen and it’s the fourth straight year the Kiwi is playing at the prestigious year end championships.