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Nitto ATP Tennis Results • Harrison, Venus Making Winning Debut In London

Photo by @ATPWorldTour via Twitter

Harrison/Venus make strong debut at #NittoATPFinals, opening with RR win over defending champs Kontinen/Peers

 

 

Ryan Harrison and Michael Venus ruled Paris in June.

 

The French Open champions made a rousing debut in London today.

 

The long-time friends knocked off defending champions Henri Kontinen and John Peers, 6-4, 7-6 (8) in the Group Eltingh/Haarhuis of the ATP World Tour Finals.

 

The American-Kiwi duo created a quick start at the season-ending event handing Kontinen and Peers their first-ever loss at the O2 Arena and jeopardizing their hopes for the season-ending world No. 1 ranking.

 

The Finnish and Aussie pair, who won all five matches they played en route to the 2016 World Tour Finals title, arrived in London 1,270 points behind top-ranked Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo.

 

Harrison and Venus faced only two break points in the match, while converting two of their 14 break points in a one-hour, 29-minute victory.

 

While Kontinen and Peers are the more experienced pair, Harrison and Venus played more freely for much of the match. Harrison hit a high leaping backhand volley in the ninth game putting Peers under pressure on serve.

 

Two points later, Harrison sent a backhand return right back at Kontinen, whose blocked volley tangled with the top of the tape and fell back on his side as the American and New Zealander converted the first break on their sixth break point for 5-4.

 

The second seeds struggled to consistently connect on first serve. They served just 47 percent in the opening set.

 

Venus elevated spiking a smash to close the 34-minute opener with a clenched fist. The pair won 13 of 16 first-serve points in the opening set.

 

A stunning debut! First-time #NittoATPFinals finalists Harrison/Venus start their campaign with a 6-4 7-6(8) win over the defending champs – Photo by @ATPWorldTour via Twitter.

Threatening the Aussie’s serve again, Harrison and Venus earned four break points in the fifth game of the second set. Peers persevered through the pressure, reeling off four straight points holding for 3-2.

 

A Harrison backhand return split the opposition, Venus slid a forehand pass down the line as the pair scored the second break of the day for 6-5.

 

Serving for the match, Venus could not close as Peers put a forehand swing volley into the body for break point. When Harrison punched a forehand volley into net, the defending champions earned their first break to force the tie break.

 

Peers’ inside-out forehand return winner gained the first mini break and a 4-2 lead, but the second seeds couldn’t hold on as Kontinen framed a high forehand volley. The defending champions saved match points at 5-6 and 7-8.

 

When Peers double faulted—the fifth double fault for the pair—Harrison and Venus had their first match point on their own serve. Harrison banged a wide serve to close it.

 

They’ve yet to win a hard-court doubles title together, but Harrison and Venus gained an ideal start to their World Tour Finals debut.

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