Venus and Puetz survive epic battle at Indian Wells

Sunday, 10 October 2021

Venus and Puetz survive tough battle at Indian Wells

Michael Venus and Tim Puetz have saved four match points eventually converting on their sixth match point to win through to the second round at the Indian Wells Masters.

The world number 16 ranked Kiwi, and his German partner have beaten Spaniard’s Carlos Alcaraz and Pablo Carreno Busta 7-5 6-7 (5) 15-13 in 2 hours 5 minutes. It was an epic match that came down to an enthralling match tie break.

There were several huge moments. At 7-7 in the match tie break Puetz lost his service point and Carreno Busta won his first to bring up two match points. But some brilliant returning from Venus helped save the first and Puetz made a volley on the second to level at 9-9. Venus hit a superb second serve to bring up a fourth match point for the Kiwi German combination, but they couldn’t convert, and it was 10-10. Alcaraz then passed Puetz at the net to bring up match point number three for the Spaniards. Puetz just found the line with a huge inside out forehand winner before Venus put away a volley to bring up their fifth match point. But a second service ace from Carreno Busta levelled things at 12-12. He won the next point to have Venus facing a fourth match point which he duly saved. The Kiwi won his next service point and the Spaniard’s volleyed into the net trying to save a sixth match point.

Earlier Venus and Puetz who was playing his first match since suffering a side injury while serving at the US Open last month, were in early trouble when Venus dropped serve at 2-2 in the first set. The Spaniards then held for 4-2 but after Puetz held again, Carreno Busta dropped serve with Venus and Puetz winning a deciding point to level at 4-4. Venus was again taken to deuce in his next serve game but smashed away the deciding point for a 5-4 lead. After Alcaraz and Puetz both held, Carreno Busta was broken to love serving to stay in the set which was decided in 46 minutes.

Venus had to save two break points in the opening game of the second set to hold. Games continued to go with serve. Alcaraz recovered from 0-30 to hold in the sixth game for 3-3. Games went with serve through to a tie break at 6-6. But first Carreno Busta found himself 15-40 down at 5-6 and staring down three match points. He first aced Venus and then Puetz to get back to deuce. The German hit a forehand long and the Spaniards escaped to take the set to a tie break.

A double fault by Alcaraz handed Venus and Puetz an early break in the tie break and they raced to a 4-1 lead. They led 5-3 but Venus netted a forehand volley to allow the Spaniard’s back on serve and a stinging Alcaraz forehand at 6-5 clinched the set.

Venus and Puetz face a tricky second round match against second seeds American Rajeev Ram and Britain’s Joe Salisbury.

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