Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Bryans drop round-robin match; Klahn advances

Bruno Soares, left, and Jamie Murray, playing at Indian Wells in
March, defeated Bob and Mike Bryan 6-3, 6-4 today in the ATP
World Tour Finals in London. Photo by Paul Bauman
   The Bryan brothers lost decisively in the round-robin phase of the ATP World Tour Finals in London while Bradley Klahn continued his run in the $50,000 Champaign (Ill.) Challenger today.
   Third-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan, who led Stanford to the NCAA team title in both of their years there (1997 and 1998), fell to second-seeded Jamie Murray of Great Britain and Bruno Soares of Brazil 6-3,
   "We certainly played a great match from start to finish," Murray, the older brother of singles world No. 1 Andy Murray, crowed to reporters. "Probably one of our best matches of the year. We served really well throughout, cleaned up well on our serves. I think we both returned the ball smartly, put it in some difficult spots for them. and we were really active around the net.
   "I think we're both super-pumped about the win and should have a good chance to progress further in the tournament now."
   Klahn, the 2010 NCAA singles champion from Stanford, led fifth-seeded Sam Groth of Australia 7-6 (5), 0-0 in the first round when Groth retired because of vertigo caused by a sinus infection. Klahn, a 26-year-old qualifier, is playing in his first tournament since undergoing his second operation for a herniated disc in his back in February 2015.
   The 38-year-old Bryan twins have won a record 16 Grand Slam men's doubles, but none since the 2014 U.S. Open, and 112 overall.
   "They are the greatest team ever," insisted Murray, who won this year's Australian Open and U.S. Open with Soares. "There's no disputing that, I think, with the number of titles they've won. If we want to be the best, we've got to beat the best."
   The ATP World Tour Finals consists of the top eight singles players and top eight doubles teams of the year. With one round-robin match remaining in the Edberg/Jarryd Group, Murray and Soares lead the standings at 2-0. The Bryans and Ivan Dodig/Marcelo Melo are 1-1, and Treat Huey/Max Mirnyi are 0-2.
   The Bryans, seeking their fifth title in the ATP World Tour Finals, will play Huey and Mirnyi on Thursday.
   The top two teams from both the Edberg/Jarryd Group and the Fleming/McEnroe Group will advance to Saturday's semifinals.
   Groth, who looks like a linebacker at 6-foot-4 (1.93 meters) and 218 pounds (99 kilograms), holds the unofficial record for the world's fastest serve. He blasted a 163.7-mph (263.4-kph) delivery in the 2012 Busan (South Korea) Challenger.
   Klahn will play Tennys Sandgren, a 25-year-old former Tennessee All-American, in the second round. Sandgren trounced wild card Aron Hiltzik, a University of Illinois junior playing on his home indoor courts, 6-1, 6-2 on Monday in the first round.
   Klahn is 4-1 against Sandgren, who also has a Northern California connection. He played for the Sacramento-based California Dream of World TeamTennis in 2015, the team's only year of existence.

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