By Jason Brown, USTA.com
Ostrava, Czech Republic – Bob and Mike Bryan earned their tenth career victory in United States’ uniforms, but more importantly, they gave their country a 2-1 advantage in the best-of-five Davis Cup First Round series.
“We’re one match closer to winning than the Czechs, so that’s the good news,” said U.S. Davis Cup Captain Patrick McEnroe. “But we realize that can change quickly.”
The Bryans, left-hander Bob and righty Mike, were dominant on Saturday afternoon at the CEZ Arena, breaking Lukas Dlouhy and Pavel Vizner of the Czech Republic in the tenth game of the first, second, and third sets, en route to a tidy 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory.
“It’s pretty spooky,” said Mike Bryan about the perfect symmetry of the match.
“I was telling Bob I wanted to keep the scoreboard – we call it, “four sailboats” – we’ve been playing a lot of poker, so we wanted to keep it four, four, and four. At the 5-4 games, we really stepped our level up and got the break on Dlouhy every time.”
Displaying the world-class form that has cemented their standing at the top of men’s doubles, the Bryans elevated their game on the points that matered the most.
Three of four on break points – including three clutch set point conversions on Dlouhy’s serve – the Bryans did just enough to secure the win in a shade over an hour and a half.
Deep into the third set, on their second attempt at match point on Dlouhy’s serve, Mike Bryan laced an angled cross-court winner past Vizner that sealed the win.
A signature celebration by the natives of Camarillo, California, the Bryans met high in the air at mid-court to celebrate with a well-earned chest bump.
“It was a dog-fight,” said Bob Bryan. “They had break points, they served well, and they volleyed well. At the 5-4 games, we definitely upped our level a little bit and got lucky.”
A year ago, Wimbledon quarterfinal opponents of the Bryans, the Czech duo of Dlouhy and Vizner played them close on grass in a match won by the Americans and decided by a pair of tie-breakers.
But in their second meeting, in Vizner’s Davis Cup debut, on indoor red clay, the score was not nearly as close. Interestingly enough, the 36-year-old Vizner serves as Dlouhy’s coach on the pro tour, but on this day, they were partners.
Together, the Bryans picked on Dlouhy’s soft serve, while southpaw Bob Bryan dominated from behind the service line.
With the win, the Bryans wrote another chapter in U.S. Davis Cup team history, tying Ken Flach and Robert Seguso’s mark of ten doubles victories. Their next progression in the history books will be to equal the thirteen wins set by Bob Lutz and the great Stan Smith.
“It’s obviously an honor for us to be considererd in the same sentence as those great teams,” said Bob Bryan.
According to their father, Wayne Bryan, the twins got hooked on doubles in 1990 after watching Rick Leach and Jim Pugh represent the U.S. Davis Cup team at the LaCosta Resort against Mexico. Leach and Pugh won that match in four sets and clinched the tie for the United States.
“It’s all happened pretty fast," continued Bob Bryan. "Patrick just picked us three years ago, and we’ve been really excited to play each Davis Cup match. We’ve prepared really well for each one and every time we walk out there, we’ve really brought energy and really brought our game. So if he keeps picking us, we can keep piling them up and see what happens.”
Since making their debut against the Slovak Republic in September of 2004, the Bryans have played in eleventh consecutive ties for their country. Along the way, the Bryans have also nudged their career winning percentage to .909, an impressive clip by any standard.
Sunday's reverse singles match, including Andy Roddick's potentially series-clinching match against Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, will be aired at 12 Noon eastern time. That will be followed by an encore performance on the Tennis Channel starting at 8 pm eastern.
Also: Roddick in Familiar Position of Closer