Bryan brothers win first title of 2019 comeback
Last May, the future of the most successful doubles team of all time was in serious doubt, after a hip injury forced a 40-year-old Bob Bryan to retire in the Madrid Open doubles final. On Sunday, nine months and one successful surgery later, Bob and Mike Bryan are back where they belong—bumping chests and lifting trophies as ATP Tour champions.
The twins won their fifth Delray Beach Open men's doubles title, with their 117th ATP title as a pair doubling as the first of their 2019 comeback. The South Florida event was their fifth tournament of the year, with an Australian Open quarterfinal run and a semifinal appearance at the Auckland Open paving their path back to the winner's circle.
"Iron man won his first title with his metal hip," Mike teased Bob, after their 7-6, 6-4 win in a brothers versus brothers final against Neal and Ken Skupski of Great Britain. It was the first all-brothers ATP final since 1977, according to the ATP Tour. Both the top-seeded Bryans and their No. 2 seeded final opponents had won all six sets they played en route to the title match, but it was the Americans who kept their perfect record alive in the championship round.
Despite dropping serve in the third game of the match, the Bryans immediately broke back, as both teams cashed in on their only break point of the set. In the first-set tiebreak, the Brits again edged in front, with an early mini-break, but the home favorites fought back to take it, 7-5.
The Bryans rode the momentum of that tiebreaker to secure an instant break in the opening game of set two, putting their first title since April's Monte-Carlo Masters within touching distance. They would be forced to fend off three break points on their own serve in the second stanza, but thanks to a match total of 12 aces and a 75-percent first-serve percentage, the older brothers were able to serve out the set, 6-4, for the title. On match point, at 5-4, 40-30, a big serve out wide into the ad court by Mike set up Bob for a trophy-clinching volley.
“We're very, very pleased with how this week's gone," Bob reflected. "Our expectations have been a little bit lower than they have in the past. We've just been trying to have fun and enjoy our time together, and it's actually resulted in some really good play."
The Bryans will now seek title No. 118 in Acapulco, Mexico, where they will face Neil Skupski and John Millman in Round 1 of the Mexican Open. The brothers enter the ATP 500 event as the No. 2 seeds.
“We don't want to stop here," said Mike. "We want to keep rolling and hold up bigger ones, hopefully an [ATP Masters 1000] in the near future and then a [Grand Slam]."