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01 February 2014

Bryans back to winning ways


By Sandra Harwitt

Photo: Susan MullaneBob and Mike Bryan (USA)

SAN DIEGO, USA: The Bryan brothers were back to their usual reliable form in securing the doubles point for Team USA against Great Britain in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas first round tie this weekend.

Bob and Mike Bryan, taking to the court with the USA trailing 0-2, delivered the first point of their team with a 62 63 36 61 win over the untested British Davis Cup duo of Colin Fleming and Dominic Inglot.

Last season was an unprecedented — not in a good way — Davis Cup year for the Bryans, who lost both of their Davis Cup doubles matches played. But, on Saturday, they were back to themselves, the guys who have amassed impressive winning Davis Cup record — Bob is now 22-4 in Davis Cup doubles, while Mike is 23-4.

“We’ve been waiting a long time to get another opportunity to get that bad taste out of our mouth,” Bob Bryan said. “It always feels bad to let the team down. We were kind of coming out of our shoes. (We were) really itching to get on the court.”

Andy Murray was initially named to play doubles with Fleming, but British captain Leon Smith decided to rest him for Sunday’s reverse singles matches, putting Inglot into action in his Davis Cup debut match. Inglot reached the fourth round of doubles at the recent Australian Open.

“We thought it was best to rest Andy, especially when we had two very good doubles players to come in and play anyway,” Smith said. “Obviously the Bryans played a good match today and got a win. Could have happened if Andy played as well.  I think it was better to keep him for tomorrow.”

In the first set, the Bryans lost only three points in four service games. In the second set, the Britons were able to hold serve three times, but at 3-4 and serving, Fleming lost serve. The first two sets of the one hour, 51 minute match took less than one hour to play.

The third set went the Britons way as they broke Bob Bryan’s serve at 30-40 in the sixth game. But even though the Bryans lost the third set they never felt they were losing control of the match.

“All four sets I thought we played pretty solid,” Bob Bryan said. “I knew if we just kept putting it on ‘em we would get paid off.”

The twins did rebound quickly in the fourth set, breaking Inglot’s serve in the second and sixth games.

Despite the doubles loss on Saturday afternoon, the British team know they still have a strong 2-1 lead with the reigning Wimbledon champion Andy Murray set to face Sam Querrey in an effort to clinch the tie. If Murray — or Ward — get the job done it will be the first World Group tie victory for Britain in 28 years.

“We’re really in a really good position, 2-1 up, away from home, against the USA,” Smith said. “(If you told me that a few weeks ago) I would have bit your hand off for that.”

The USA has come back from 1-2 down on five occasions in Davis Cup ties. The last time they achieved that feat was in 2000 when they did it twice, including in a World Group quarterfinal victory over the Czech Republic in Los Angeles, California.

“(Sam’s) going to have to play significantly better than he did yesterday to stand a chance,” U.S. captain Jim Courier said. “Andy’s a great player who plays well under pressure. Tomorrow is going to be one of those matches that Andy knows if he loses that anything is on the table in the fifth match (between Donald Young and James Ward). For Sam it’s a free swinging match.”

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Bob amd Mike Bryan (USA) - 01/02/2014

Captain Jim Courier (USA) - 01/02/2014

Captain Leon Smith (GBR) - 01/02/2014

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