RELATED: McEnroe Quarterfinal Blog
By Jason Brown, USTA.com
|Mike and Bob Bryan after their match against Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra at the 2008 U.S. vs. France Davis Cup Quarterfinal. (photo: Getty Images)|
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Attempting to clinch the quarterfinal series, Bob and Mike Bryan suffered a stunning defeat, falling to Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra in four sets, 6-7(7), 7-5, 6-3, 6-4, keeping hope alive for the visiting country.
“It obviously hurts a lot,” said Mike Bryan. “Those guys stepped up for us yesterday, got a 2-Love lead. We wanted to shut it down so we could have a good time tonight.”
“We’ll still have a good time tonight,” said U.S. Captain Patrick McEnroe.
“These guys are human. We count on them. Like everybody always says, ‘the doubles is a lock’. You got to give the French credit. They played unbelievable tennis on the big points.”
Even though they grabbed the first set in a tie-break, the Bryans couldn’t solve Clement and Llodra. Unable to break either player over four sets, the twins couldn’t seize the momentum, while the French were operating in a zone.
Their nine-match winning streak in United States’ uniforms snapped, the California twins will look to teammate Andy Roddick on Sunday to earn the third and final point to clinch the series.
Roddick is scheduled to face Paul-Henri Mathieu (1:00 pm ET; Versus Network), but French captain Guy Forget could elect to play Richard Gasquet.
“I think there’s a chance they could put in Gasquet,” said McEnroe.
“I think Mathieu played great yesterday. Certainly from the way he played, probably deserves another chance. I think it really depends on how Gasquet’s feeling, if they think he’s a hundred percent physically. We’re not too concerned, to be honest. If Andy comes out and plays well, plays his game, I think we’re in pretty good shape.”
Arguably the best closer in U.S. Davis Cup team history Roddick is a perfect 9-0 when given the opportunity to clinch a tie.
In 2007, Roddick clinched two series – the first round against the Czech Republic in Ostrava and the semifinal against Sweden in Gothenburg.
“I think Andy and James, they’re feeling good, and they’re going to get it done for tomorrow and save us,” said Bob Bryan.
The final match of the best-of-five series, James Blake is scheduled to meet Michael Llodra of France, who will be playing for the third consecutive day.
|Mike and Bob Bryan in action against Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra at the 2008 U.S. vs. France Davis Cup Quarterfinal. (photo: Getty Images)|
Gasquet was initially benched because of a blister problem, but his dedication to the team and Davis Cup competition as a whole has been called in question by his captain.
Mathieu is suffering some aches and pains following a nearly four hour match on Friday against James Blake, won by the American in five sets.
Now 14-2, the Bryans will have to wait until the next round for their second attempt to move past the legendary combination of John McEnroe and Peter Fleming for sole possession of first place on the all-time team doubles list.
The Bryans dropped their career record to 2-4 against Clement and Llodra, including a four-set loss in the Wimbledon final last summer.
“I mean, 14-2, I’ll take that,” said McEnroe. “That’s still a pretty darn good record. Hopefully we can move on and they’ll start another streak.”
The United States Davis Cup team is 158-3 when leading 2-0. This is the second time the United States has been ahead 2-0 in this year’s Davis Cup play; the U.S. also led Austria, 2-0, in the first round.
The last six times the U.S. led 2-0, it clinched the tie by winning the doubles match – five times by the Bryan brothers and once by the team of James Blake and Mardy Fish. The last time the United States dropped a 2-0 lead was in the 1994 semifinals at Sweden.
Earlier on Saturday, Spain became the first nation to advance to the 2008 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Semifinals. In Bremen, Germany, the team of Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez defeated Philipp Petzschner and Philipp Kohlschreiber in an epic five-set match, 6-7(3), 7-6(1), 6-4, 2-6, 12-10.
The winner of the United States-France tie will play Spain the weekend of September 19-21.
The last time Spain hosted the U.S. was the 2004 Davis Cup Final played before a record crowd in Seville.
Spain defeated the U.S., 3-2, to clinch the championship. James Blake, Mardy Fish, and the Bryan brothers all played in the final.
Bryan Brothers Winning Streak Snapped
- 2008 Quarterfinal vs. France – Clement/Llodra def. Bryan/Bryan, 6-7(7), 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.
- 2008 First Round vs. Austria – Bryan/Bryan def. Knowle/Melzer, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2
- 2007 Final vs. Russia – Bryan/Bryan def. Andreev/Davydenko, 7-6(4), 6-4, 6-2
- 2007 Semifinal vs. Sweden – Bryan/Bryan def. Aspelin/Bjorkman, 7-6(11), 6-2, 6-3
- 2007 Quarterfinal vs. Spain – Bryan/Bryan def. Lopez/Verdasco, 7-5, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5)
- 2007 First Round vs. Czech Republic – Bryan/Bryan def. Dlouhy/Vizner, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
- 2006 Semifinal vs. Russia – Bryan/Bryan def. Tursunov/Youzhny, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2
- 2006 Quarterfinal vs. Chile – Bryan/Bryan def. Capdeville/Garcia, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4
- 2006 First Round vs. Romania – Bryan/Bryan def. Hanescu/Tecau, 6-2, Ret.
- 2005 Playoffs vs. Belgium – Bryan/Bryan def. Rochus/Vliegen, 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-1, 6-3