Defending Apia International Sydney champs Bob and Mike Bryan repeated as winners Saturday with a decisive 6-4, 6-4 win over fellow doubles experts Horia Tecau and Max Mirnyi. Read a review of the men’s doubles tournament in its entirety.
An early break in both sets helped the brothers along against the newly-paired Tecau/Mirnyi, giving them leads in both sets that they would not relinquish. The Americans didn’t have their service broken all day.
It’s the third title in Sydney for them overall having won a year ago here, as well as in 2009. They were finalists in 2011, 2008 and 2004.
They’re the showmen everyone wants to see. The tops seeds in Sydney are also the world’s No.1 team, and the American twin duo Bob and Mike never let the crowd down. With their charismatic chest-bumping celebrations having become the tradition after big points and big matches, the Bryan Brothers have won a record 82 tour titles, surpassing Australia’s Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde – the “Woodies” – to become the most successful doubles team in ATP World Tour history.
But in their opening match here, the defending champs were pushed to a three-set thriller by new doubles partners Juan Sebastian Cabal and Marcin Matkowski, having to save three match points to finally seal the deal 6-4, 5-7, 11-9. It was no surprise then that the Bryan brothers wanted a quick and clean quarterfinal match against French pair Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra, whom they defeated in clinical fashion 6-3, 6-2 victory.
It was in the semifinals that the Bryans took down the Spanish No.3 seeds Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez, advancing Mike and Bob to their 130th ATP final, including the sixth in Sydney.
The New Men About Town
While Romanian Horia Tecau and Max Mirnyi’s are seasoned and accomplished veterans on the doubles circuit, their partnership in Sydney is completely new for the 2013 season. Having reached the final here without dropping a set, Tecau and Mirnyi have set about announcing themselves as a pair to the doubles world in style.
Former world No.1 Mirnyi has paired up in the past with big-time names like Mahesh Bhupathi, Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt and even Roger Federer. Mirnyi also won the Gold Medal for Belarus at last year’s Olympic Games in the mixed doubles with partner Victoria Azarenka.
While Tecau may have only won his first Grand Slam mixed doubles last year at the Australian Open (with Bethanie Mattek-Sands), this Romanian has reached 24 ATP doubles finals, winning the majority of his 13 titles with partner Robert Lindstedt. But a new year has brought along a new partner, and Tecau and Mirnyi are undefeated thus far. In the semifinals, Mirnyi/Tecau defeated the Spanish powerhouse pairing of David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco in 6-1, 6-1 to make the finals and now look to continue their run all the way to the trophy room.
Double the Fun
But as always, sometimes the best matches are the ones you least expect. One of the highlights of Sydney for this year was a first-round clash between Australian duo Matt Ebden and Marinko Matosevic, who took on doubles veterans Bhupathi and his Canadian partner Daniel Nestor. In a three -set epic, Ebden and Matosevic fought hard and fast, racing to a one-set lead. But in the end they couldn’t hold off the Indian-Canadian pair who eventually sealed the deal in a 3-6, 7-6 (2), 10-8 effort.
The other all-Aussie duo and wildcard entrant, James Duckworth and Chris Guccione also put up a good fight against Jeremy Chardy and Lukasz Kubot in their first round match, but they just couldn’t seem to make it past this European pair who defeated the Aussie’s in 6-4, 7-5.
It was a solid week for Verdasco/Marrero prior to their semifinal defeat against Mirnyi/Tecau. In the Spaniards’ opener they beat doubles veterans Jean-Julien Rojer and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi by a 6-7 (3), 6-3, 10-5 score to set up a battle with No.2 seeds Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek. But Paes and Stepanek, who won the Australian Open crown a year ago, were forced to pull out of the doubles after Stepanek was injured in singles, giving the Spaniards a pass into the semis.