22 Feb 2016

Michael Venus' year gets better

7:26 am on 22 February 2016

New Zealand tennis player Michael Venus' strong start to the season has continued after capturing his third ATP doubles title of the year.

New Zealand tennis player Michael Venus in action at the ASB Classic.

New Zealand tennis player Michael Venus in action at the ASB Classic. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Venus and his Croatian partner Mate Pavic have won the men's doubles final at the Marseille Open, the fifth ATP tournament of the year, following victory's in Montpellier and at Auckland's ASB Classic.

The second seeds defeated Israel's Jonathan Erlich and Brit Colin Fleming 6-2, 6-3 in the Open 13 final, a 665,000 euro tournament in France.

The Croatian/Kiwi duo claimed victory in just 58 minutes, surrendering only 10 points on serve and converting four of their six break point chances.

"We're really excited. It was a great week here and to be able to play that well in the final today," said Venus.

"It's our third title this year. We're just looking forward to next week, starting over again and just going through the same preparations and see how we do."

Mate Pavic (L) and Michael Venus in action at the 2016 ASB Classic, Auckland, New Zealand. Thursday 14 January 2016. Copyright Photo: Chris Symes / www.photosport.nz

Mate Pavic (L) and Michael Venus Photo: Photosport

Venus is ranked 42 in the world and Pavic is one place lower.

The duo started the week at ninth in the Emirates ATP Doubles Race To London and received a further 250 points with victory at this ATP World Tour 250 tournament.

Pavic and Venus lifted the trophy in Auckland in the second week of the season and then prevailed in Montpellier earlier this month.

They have a 4-2 record in ATP World Tour finals, winning their first team title in Nice last year.

Erlich and Ram will quickly have the opportunity for revenge as they face Pavic and Venus next week in the first round of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco.

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal's below-par season has continued with the former tennis world number one dumped from the Rio Open semi-finals with a 3 sets defeat by unseeded Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas.

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