Harrison Triumphs at French Open: American Beats American in Doubles with Help from New Zealander

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

PARIS—Shreveport native Ryan Harrison teamed with New Zealander Michael Venus to win the men’s doubles trophy at Roland-Garros Saturday in a three-set shootout that stayed even until the last three games.

When Chicago-born Georgian Donald Young shockingly double-faulted twice in a row to lose his service at 3-4 in the third set, Harrison raised his own service game beyond its usual reliability and put the ball in play with 130 mph shots as he and Venus went all out for the match, which had gone to tiebreaks in the first two sets.

A great passing shot by Young and rock-solid net defense by his Mexican partner Santiago Gonzalez kept the game even despite the high-velocity missiles, and Gonzalez saved a match point with a solid return-of-serve to Harrison at 40-30.

A second match point came from a Harrison ace on the T against Young, and on the next play Gonzalez sent a backhand long to end the match. Until that last set there had been no service breaks; both teams relied on speed and nerves at the net as the side on-serve moved forward to close off baseline rallies.

It was the kind of match where you felt both sides deserved the win, and all four champs had praise for one another at the trophy ceremony directly afterwards. Neither team was seeded and none of the players had competed in a Grand Slam final, singles or doubles, prior to this event. For veterans Gonzalez and Venus it was a long-awaited reward, while for the two Americans in their mid-20s, it was proof the expectations for their careers are by no means unfounded.

Ryan Harrison, who is 25, won the Memphis Open earlier this year in singles while reaching the finals in doubles. He joins a long list of illustrious compatriots, including Arthur Ashe and Marty Riessen (1971) and Mike and Bob Bryan (2003 and 2013), among quite a few others, in hoisting the Coupe Jacques Brugnon, named for the doubles specialist among the famed “Four Musketeers” who made France the major tennis power of the late 1920s and early 30s.

If Bethanie Mattek-Sands successfully defends her Roland-Garros trophy on Sunday, it will be a good show in mens’s and women’s doubles for the Stars and Stripes.

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