Doubles or nothing for Raven

SA’s Raven Klaasen goes high to get to the ball as Michael Venus of New Zealand looks during their doubles round-robin match against Nikola Mektic of Croatia and Alexander Peya of Austria at the ATP World Tour Finals November 13, 2018 in London
SA’s Raven Klaasen goes high to get to the ball as Michael Venus of New Zealand looks during their doubles round-robin match against Nikola Mektic of Croatia and Alexander Peya of Austria at the ATP World Tour Finals November 13, 2018 in London
Image: Naomi Baker/ Getty Images

It is set to be a winner-takes-all match as King William’s Town-born Raven Klaasen and his doubles teammate Michael Venus of New Zealand take on the Columbian pair of Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah for a place in the ATP World Tour Finals semifinals in London on Thursday.

Both pairs head into the final round-robin game having won one and lost one match in the season ending tournament and the winner will progress to the semis along with Britain’s Jamie Murray and Brazil’s Bruno Soares who have already qualified from the group.

“It's all go now, we knew [Tuesday] if we don't get this win then we’re playing on Thursday for nothing really, so we have done our job today to get the win in straight sets and put ourselves in the hunt and now we can leave everything out there,” said Klaasen.

“I think it has given us a little bit of extra motivation for Thursday.” Having lost an epic three-setter to the Murray/Soares combination in their opening match, Klaasen and Venus went into their second game on Tuesday, knowing only a win would keep them in the running. It turned out to be a massive arm wrestle, but in the end the SA/New Zealand pair emerged victorious after edging the tie 7-6 7-6.

“This scoring system can keep things interesting out there, we felt the first set that we were probably more comfortable on serve, we had a few looks with them but they played well on those points and then you just have to kinda stay calm that the stuff you’re doing is going to work in the tie-break,” said Klaasen. “Obviously, we would have liked to serve it out [in the second set], but they came up with a good shot on break point and then again we practised being positive after things go wrong and regrouped to finish the match and very happy we didn't have to go three [sets].”

Klaasen and Venus will now hope that having avoided the extra effort that would have been needed in going to three sets will stand in their favour and that they will be fresh for the Columbian challenge, while they will also take that winning momentum into the match.

Cabal and Farah will have to bounce back from the disappointment of their last match loss if they are to force their way into the semis. Also looking to seal a place in the semifinals, this time on the singles side, will be SA's Kevin Anderson who has the daunting task of taking on number two seed Roger Federer. Fourth seeded Anderson has been in terrific form, brushing aside sixth seed Dominic Thiem 6-3 7-6 in his opening match and then crushing seventh seed Kei Nishikori 6-0 6-1 in his second match on Tuesday. The action will be live on SuperSport on Thursday night.

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