Bob and Mike Bryan celebrate their 21st victory together in Davis Cup play after defeating Great Britain's Colin Fleming and Dominic Inglot.
© Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
By Sandra Harwitt, special to USTA.com
SAN DIEGO – The U.S. took one step forward in this weekend’s Davis Cup by BNP Paribas first-round tie against Great Britain on a sunny but chilly Saturday afternoon at Petco Park in San Diego.
Bob and Mike Bryan delivered a fairly straightforward 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 doubles win over the British duo of Colin Fleming and Dominic Inglot to provide the U.S. with its first point of the weekend.
The Bryans’ victory helped the U.S. take away the sting of ending Friday with a 0-2 deficit. In the opening match on the tie, Andy Murray defeated Donald Young, 6-1, 6-2, 6-3, and James Ward bounced back from being two-sets-to-one down to upset Sam Querrey, 1-6, 7-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, in the second singles match.
Now the tie will come down to the reverse singles matches on Sunday, with Querrey playing Murray in the first match, followed by Young taking on Ward. Murray holds a 5-1 lead over Querrey in head-to-head matchups.
“[Sam’s] going to have to play significantly better than he did yesterday to stand a chance,” U.S. captain Jim Courier said after the Bryans’ victory. “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.”
The Bryans’ victory also removes a bad memory of their 2013 Davis Cup season, when they surprisingly lost both doubles matches they played. The Bryans are now 21-4 together in Davis Cup play after Saturday, and they are 6-0 when playing with the U.S. trailing, 0-2.
“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.”
The Bryans raced through the opening two sets in just 57 minutes. Fleming and Inglot weren’t willing to just surrender, however, rebounding to force a fourth set. Nevertheless, the effort of the British duo went for naught as the Bryans quickly broke Inglot’s serve twice to close out the fourth set – and the match.
Initially, the Brits were scheduled to play Murray along with Fleming but decided to give their No. 1 guy a day to rest. The Bryans were surprised about that decision but said they were prepared for all possibilities.
“We were getting ready for Andy all week, but we’d played Inglot a few times in the past,” Mike Bryan said. “So in the back of our head we thought there was one scenario up 2-love for Britain that they might throw out Inglot. So we had every game plan on the able, and we prepared in the warmup for Inglot.”
While the British team still head into Sunday’s reverse singles with a 2-1 lead, the Americans go into the final day well aware that coming back from 1-2 down is certainly doable. The U.S. has accomplished that feat on five occasions in the past. Most recently, the U.S. survived being in a 1-2 deficit twice in 2000 – against Zimbabwe in the first round and then against the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals.
The quarterfinal meeting against the Czechs in 2000 happened just a few hours north of San Diego in Los Angles. The U.S. squad is hoping that California will bring good luck to the team again this year.