Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Spaniards edge Bryans for ATP doubles title

Bob, left, and Mike Bryan lost to David Marrero and Fernando
Verdasco 7-5, 6-7 (3), 10-7 match tiebreaker in the doubles title
match of the ATP World Tour Finals. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Would it have been so terrible for the ATP World Tour Finals to use a best-of-three-set format in doubles?
   After all, only the top eight teams in the world were invited.
   Instead, organizers turned the event into a crapshoot by using the infernal match tiebreaker after split sets. Why not just flip a coin or play rock-paper-scissors? It would save everyone even more time. Who wants to see superb shotmaking and lightning-quick reflexes anyway?
   Sixth-seeded David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco of Spain edged top-ranked Bob and Mike Bryan 7-5, 6-7 (3), 10-7 match tiebreaker on Monday to win the title in London.
   Afterward, Mike Bryan told reporters that Marrero and Verdasco "came up with the goods, especially when it mattered. They went for broke … hitting those forehands like overheads.
   "We could have done a few things different. All in all, (when) you get down to a match tiebreak, which we've been playing all week, you're dancing with the devil. It didn't go our way there at the end."
   All of the Bryans' five matches in the ATP World Tour Finals went to a match tiebreaker, of which they won three.
   Marrero and Verdasco became the third Spanish team to win the title and second in a row. Juan Gisbert and Manuel Orantes triumphed in 1975, and Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez prevailed last year.
   Verdasco is the last player not named Milos Raonic to capture the singles crown in the SAP Open in San Jose, taking the 2010 trophy. The tournament is being replaced on the calendar by Rio de Janeiro next February after 125 years in the San Francisco Bay Area.
   The Bryans -- 35-year-old identical twins and former stars at Stanford, 20 miles (32 kilometers) up the freeway from San Jose -- were seeking their fourth title in the ATP World Tour Finals and first since 2009.
   The Southern California natives still won a career-high 11 titles this year, including the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon.
   "We'll take a year like this every year," Mike Bryan said.

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