Michael Venus and his Australian partner John Peers have advanced to the semi-finals at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Rome for the second straight year.
The trans-Tasman pair have beaten Romanian Horia Tecau and Germany’s Kevin Krawietz in straight sets 7-6, 7-5.
It was an incredibly close match with Venus and Peers getting the only break of serve, converting one of four chances.
The Kiwi says their serving was key.
"Playing these guys, they both have big serves and there weren't too many opportunities," he says.
"We saved a set point at 5-4 on my serve in the first set and then played a good tie-breaker.
"The rain started coming down late in the second set and we played a couple of good return games and managed to get a break at 6-5 and win the match."
Venus and Peers now face second seeds Mate Pavic and Nicola Mektic for a place in the final.
The Croatians are the form duo of 2021 - having won ATP Masters 1000 titles in Monte Carlo and Miami, an ATP 500 title in Rotterdam as well as reaching the Madrid final, Dubai final and Australian Open semis.
Venus is aware of the magnitude of the task that awaits them.
"They’ve lost two or three matches in the year, but we have won a lot and have a lot of confidence.
"We must start with ourselves and the things we can control and try to take care of our serves. If we do that hopefully we will get a look in with their service games at some point."
Venus and Peers are playing just their second tournament together since February’s Australian Open and are behind the leading teams in the race to qualify for the ATP Tour Finals at the end of the season.