13 Jan 2020

Michael Venus headlines day one for men at ASB Classic

9:53 am on 13 January 2020

New Zealand tennis player Michael Venus is in action on day one of the ASB Classic men's tennis tournament in Auckland today.

11th July 2019 - Tennis - Wimbledon (Day 10) - Michael Venus (NZL) celebrates as he and his partner Raven Klaasen (RSA) win a point against Juan Sebastian Cabal (COL) and Robert Farah (COL) during their Gentlemen's Doubles Semi Final match - Photo: Simon Stacpoole / Offside.

Michael Venus Photo: Photosport

Venus, who is a doubles specialist, was given a wildcard entry into the singles main draw.

Venus will feature as the second match on Centre Court taking on defending Champion Tennys Sandgren of the United States.

The French Open Doubles Champion and Wimbledon finalist will play in the middle of the day when the courts will be at their hottest, and more importantly for the Kiwi, at their fastest.

Sandgren showed his class last year on his march to the title and the pair will be squaring off for the first time since playing at the Futures and Challenger level in their younger days.

Venus will be followed by last year's finalist, ex-pat Kiwi Cameron Norrie.

Whilst Cameron now plays under the British flag, he is a product of the Tennis Auckland high performance programme and called Auckland home for the majority of his life. Norrie will play Thiago Monterio of Brazil.

Sixth seed Hubert Hurkacz, the talented Pole will start the men's week against Italian Lorenzo Sonego first up on Centre Court at noon.

The first match in the night session has fifth seed Benoit Paire taking on someone who is widely tipped for the very top of the sport, in wildcard Jannik Sinner.

At just 18 years old, Sinner has already made the semi-final's of a tournament at this level and won the ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan.

A player hasn't come to Auckland with this much buzz and hype since Rafael Nadal visited as a 17-year-old. Sinner will play his first match against the gifted but unpredictable Frenchmen.

The second night match features American Frances Tiafoe against Swedish qualifier Mikael Ymer.