Monday, January 20, 2014

Bryans shocked early in Australian Open

Bob, right, and Mike Bryan suffered their earliest loss in the
  Australian Open in 11 years. 2013 photo by Paul Bauman
   There will be no Grand Slam for the Bryans this year.
   Unseeded Eric Butorac of Rochester, Minn., and Raven Klaasen of South Africa stunned top seeds and defending champions Bob and Mike Bryan 7-6 (9), 6-4 on Sunday (California time) in the third round of the Australian Open in Melbourne.
   It was the Bryans' earliest exit from the Australian Open in 11 years and their quickest departure from a Grand Slam tournament since losing in the first round of the 2011 U.S. Open to 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) Ivo Karlovic of Croatia and 6-5 (1.96-meter) Frank Moser of Germany.
   The Bryans, 1998 NCAA champions from Stanford, have won a record 15 Grand Slam men's doubles titles, including six in the Australian Open.
   "We like coming down here and starting the year hot, and I don't think we played terribly," Mike Bryan told reporters. "It's just the margins are really small."
   The Bryans came within two match victories in the U.S. Open of winning all four Grand Slam crowns last year. They said Sunday's loss illustrates the depth in men's doubles.
   "I feel like the game's being played at a pretty high level by a lot of good teams," Bob Bryan said. "The old days of just enjoying the pro tennis lifestyle without fully committing yourself are completely in the past."
   The 35-year-old identical twins have been playing together almost all their lives. Butorac and Klaasen, however, joined forces only four months ago. It almost never happened.
   "Someone actually suggested, 'I think Raven would be a good partner for you,' " said Butorac, a 32-year-old left-hander who played for the Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis in 2008. "I went to go watch his match, thinking this could be my guy, and he was awful. And I was like, forget that."
   Butorac and Klaasen will meet 12th-seeded Treat Huey, a Washington, D.C., native who plays for the Philippines, and Dominic Inglot of Great Britain in the quarterfinals.
   "We played so many doubles matches on back courts in front of small crowds," Butorac said. "We finally get to be in a big arena. Let's embrace it."
   Also reaching the doubles quarterfinals -- on the women's side -- were eighth-seeded Raquel Kops-Jones from Cal and Fresno and Abigail Spears of San Diego. They topped unseeded Alize Cornet and Caroline Garcia of France 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
   Kops-Jones and Spears will face another unseeded team, Shahar Peer of Israel and Silvia Soler-Espinosa of Spain, in the quarterfinals. Peer and Soler-Espinosa upended No. 2 seeds Su-Wei Hsieh of Taiwan and Shuai Peng of China in the second round.
   Advancing to the second round were former Stanford star Scott Lipsky in mixed doubles and Michaela Gordon of Los Altos Hills in the Bay Area in junior girls doubles.
   Lipsky is playing with Jie Zheng of China. Gordon, 14, is seeded seventh with Katrine Steffensen, 17, of Scarsdale, N.Y.

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