ATP World Tour Finals: Harrison/Venus book their spot in the semifinals

Ryan Harrison and Michael Venus made it two wins from two as they progressed to the semifinals in unlikely fashion defeating Henri Kontinen and John Peers in their opening match, and now Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut

ATP World Tour Finals: Harrison/Venus book their spot in the semifinals
Ryan Harrison and Michael Venus celebrate advancing to the semifinals (Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Harrison/Venus
2 1
Herbert/Mahut

Ryan Harrison and Michael Venus clinched their spot in the semifinals with a 6-7(4), 6-4 10-5 victory over the French pairing Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut

Closely fought first set heads the way of the Frenchmen

Both teams started out with comfortable holds of serves with just the one point lost thus far. With a game point in their favor, Venus' volley hit straight into the net as the first break/deciding point arrived. Herbert got the point to break which was swiftly followed up by an impressive hold of serve to love for a 1-3 lead early in the set. 

The French buoyed by their fast start then grabbed double break point chances with Herbert hitting a wonderful backhand crosscourt. An unreadable serve followed by an ace by the American got he and Venus out of trouble to hold for 3-2. 

Pierre-Hugues Herbert plays a volley at the net with partner Nicolas Mahut watching on (Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Pierre-Hugues Herbert plays a volley at the net with partner Nicolas Mahut watching on (Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The pair then took the French pair to a deciding/break point in the very next game with a big return by Harrison which was netted by Herbert. Another big return from the 25-year-old forced Mahut to go long as he responded perfectly to break back for 3-3 before consolidating and going ahead at 4-3. 

Both teams then matched each other on serve, with the next five going with the server as the set was to be decided on the breaker. Immediately, the French broke and never looked like gifting the break back in the breaker, going on to take the first set 4-7 in the breaker. 

Harrison/Venus fight back to take the match to a decider

The eighth seeds came out for the second set positively which paid off immediately, bursting out the gates to break the French pair then consolidating to take a 2-0 lead. Mahut got the Frenchmen on the board in the set with a hold to 15.

But the American/New Zealander had problems in the sixth game, falling behind love-40 after such a positive start to the set. But they managed to save all four points impressively with Harrison coming up clutch on serve at deuce, jamming his serve into the body of Herbert who could only dump the return into the net, 4-2. 

Ryan Harrison and Michael Venus talk tactics as they win the second set (Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Ryan Harrison and Michael Venus talk tactics as they win the second set (Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The team of Harrison/Venus continued to trouble the French pair, holding their serve to 15, going just one game from sending the set to a decider up 5-3. 

The three-time Masters 1000 champions dealt with the pressure quite comfortably handing the responsibility to Harrison, who has looked solid all game. Harrison/Venus then used the momentum they gained earlier to close out the set thanks to Venus' sharp instincts at the net. 

Harrison/Venus win the breaker and advance 

The breaker began with seven straight holds of serve with the eighth seeds ahead at 4-3. Harrison's pace on his return saw the 35-year-old net a volley to gift the first break of the deciding match tiebreaker The French would then lose another point on serve allowing Harrison/Venus to open up a clear gap at 6-3.

Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut congratulate Ryan Harrison and Michael Venus at the net (Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut congratulate Ryan Harrison and Michael Venus at the net (Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Which they did, serving it out twice with ease for an 8-3 lead. The Roland Garros champions would win the fifth point in a row to earn match points with the American firing a return to the body of Herbert who couldn't respond. The French finally stopped the rot to win a point but the eighth seeds ended the match a point later to secure qualification into the semifinals.