Thursday, June 6, 2013

Bryans reach French Open final; Caps' Townsend falls

   It has been 10 years since Bob and Mike Bryan won the French Open for their first Grand Slam men's doubles title.
   That's nothing, compared to France's drought. No French pair has won the men's doubles crown at Roland Garros since Henri Leconte and Yannick Noah 29 years ago.
   One of those dry spells will end Saturday, when the Bryans meet unseeded Michael Llodra and Nicolas Mahut in the final.
   The Bryans today won their 13th consecutive match, 6-1, 6-4 over seventh-seeded Alexander Peya of Austria and Bruno Soares of Brazil. Llodra and Mahut eliminated unseeded Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay and Horacio Zeballos of Argentina 7-6 (4), 6-2.
   “We’ve never played a French team in the final,” Bob Bryan told reporters. “I’m sure it’s going to be a very enthusiastic support for the French. (It will) probably feel a little bit like a Davis Cup match. We’ve been in those situations before. We kind of (thrive) in those types of atmospheres.”
   In the girls singles quarterfinals, second-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland outlasted 11th-seeded Taylor Townsend of Stockbridge, Ga., 2-6, 6-2, 9-7.
   Townsend, 17, will make her World TeamTennis debut for the Sacramento Capitals at home on July 7. In 2012, she became the first American in 30 years to hold the year-end No. 1 world ranking among junior girls.
   In yet another example of increased longevity in professional tennis today, all of the men's doubles finalists are over 30. The Bryan twins are 35, Llodra is 33, and Mahut is 31.
   The Bryans, coming off titles in Madrid and Rome, have not lost a set in five matches at Roland Garros. Llodra and Mahut knocked off fifth-seeded Max Mirnyi and Horia Tecau in the second round and second-seeded Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez in the quarterfinals. Mirnyi won last year's title with Daniel Nestor.
   The Bryans, former NCAA men's doubles from Stanford, set a record with their 13th Grand Slam men's doubles title at the Australian Open in January. They seek their second French Open crown in their fifth final at Roland Garros and second straight.
   Llodra has won three Grand Slam men's doubles titles -- the Australian Open in 2003 and 2004 with countryman Fabrice Santoro and Wimbledon in 2007 with France's Arnaud Clement. Mahut advanced to his first major final.
   Mahut is best known for losing 70-68 in the fifth set to John Isner in the first round at Wimbledon in 2010.

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