Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bryans survive again in quest for rare Grand Slam

Mike Bryan (left) and Bob Bryan of the visiting Texas Wild take
  a break from signing autographs after a World TeamTennis
match in July to pose with Sacramento Capitals owners
Betsy and Deepal Wannakuwatte. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Even for a team as dominant as Bob and Mike Bryan, the margin of error is very small in men's doubles.
   The 1998 NCAA champions from Stanford survived another close call Monday night to keep their calendar-year Grand Slam hopes alive.
   Saving two set points in the first set, the top-seeded Bryans defeated 12th-seeded Colin Fleming and Jonathan Marray of Great Britain 7-6 (7), 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   "We play with a lot of energy, and maybe if we lose the first set, the energy goes down a little bit," Mike Bryan told reporters.
   The Bryans, 35-year-old identical twins who grew up in Camarillo in the Los Angeles area, escaped their first set point by winning a 21-shot rally to even the tiebreaker 6-6. On the second set point, Marray missed a volley off Mike Bryan's return.
   One night earlier, the Bryans switched sides for one of the few times in their career after trailing by a set and a break against Canadians Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil. Normally, left-handed Bob Bryan plays the deuce side and right-handed Mike Bryan the ad side so that both hit forehands on balls down the middle.
   This time, they played it straight.  
   The Bryans need two more victories to become the second men's team to win all four Grand Slam titles in a calendar year. Australians Ken McGregor and Frank Sedgman did it 62 years ago.
   The Bryans have won a record 15 Grand Slam men's doubles titles, including the last four. They will meet the winner of today's match between fourth-seeded Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek and fifth-seeded Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Rojer.
   Marray and Frederik Nielsen of Denmark last year became the first wild cards to win the Wimbledon men's doubles title. That's the last time a team other than the Bryans won a Grand Slam title.

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