Sunday, November 16, 2014

Bryans survive test, earn fourth ATP Finals title

Bob, left, and Mike Bryan edged Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo
to win the ATP World Tour Finals. 2013 photo by Paul Bauman
   Bob and Mike Bryan almost were eliminated early in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.
   Today, though, the 36-year-old identical twins hoisted their fourth trophy in the season-ending tournament featuring the top eight doubles teams of the year.
   The top-seeded Bryans, originally from Camarillo in the Los Angeles area, edged seventh-seeded Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Marcelo Melo of Brazil 6-7 (5), 6-2 [10-7] for their 10th title of the year and 103rd of their career.
   After losing their opening round-robin match, the Bryans edged fifth-seeded Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands and Horia Tecau of Romania 6-7 (4), 6-3 [10-6].
   The Bryans had trailed 3-1 in the second set and 4-0 in the match tiebreaker against Rojer and Tecau. A loss would have meant an ignominious exit for the holders of a record 16 Grand Slam men's doubles titles.
   The former NCAA doubles champions from Stanford won one major this year, the U.S. Open for their 100th career title.
   “Looking back at the year, we're very proud of the way it went,” Mike Bryan said on atpworldtour.com. “If we had to pick one highlight during this great season, it would probably have to be the U.S. Open. It was just a milestone we were shooting for.
   "One of our big goals coming in the year was to try to hit 100 titles. We did it luckily at our home Grand Slam when there was a lot of talk about it. To finish year-end No. 1 was a huge goal; we did that for the 10th season. That ranks right up there.
   “This is considered the fifth slam, with the top eight teams in the world. To lose our first match and bounce back, barely qualify for the semifinals, win today, was a great feeling.”
   The Bryans won the ATP Finals for the first time since 2009. They also triumphed in 2003 and 2004 and were the runners-up in 2008 (to Daniel Nestor of Canada and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia) and last year (to Spaniards David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco).
   Dodig and Melo were the only team in the field that did not win a title this year.

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