Bryans win for U.S. Davis Cup team
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – The Bryan brothers have given the Americans a fighting chance against Spain.
It will be up to Mardy Fish and Andy Roddick – who lost their first-round singles matches – to keep them alive in the Davis Cup.
Twins Bob and Mike Bryan, the top-ranked doubles team in the world, earned the United States its first point of the Davis Cup quarterfinal against Spain on Saturday with a 6-7 (7), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 doubles victory over Marcel Granollers and Fernando Verdasco.
Spain leads 2-1 and needs to win just one of Sunday’s two singles matches to clinch the best-of-five series. The Spaniards are chasing their third Davis Cup championship in four years.
Spain’s David Ferrer will play Fish in Sunday’s first match and could wrap things up with a victory. If Fish wins, the quarterfinal will come down to Roddick’s match against Feliciano Lopez.
“I like our chances,” Mike Bryan said. “If it comes down to Andy, there’s no better guy to have in that position than Andy in his hometown.”
After the disappointment of the singles losses Friday night, the U.S. sent the Bryan brothers onto the court fully confident of earning a point.
Fresh off their Wimbledon doubles championship, the Bryans have been rock solid in Davis Cup, entering Saturday’s match with a 17-2 record. Granollers was a Saturday sub for Lopez, who had played a four-hour singles match the night before. Granollers and Verdasco had never played doubles together.
“It would have taken something pretty wild for those guys to have lost,” U.S. captain Jim Courier said.
After an early stumble that saw them drop the first set, the chest-bumping Bryans delivered the boost their countrymen needed.
“We were pretty jacked up. We came out hyped,” Mike Bryan said. “It feels good to do our job. We’re on the scoreboard now.”
Spain caught the Americans by surprise by winning the first set. The Spaniards even considered the possibility of a huge upset to clinch an insurmountable 3-0 lead.
“I thought we were able to win the match,” Verdasco said. “Today I think we played great. We had chances.”
But after dropping the first set in a tiebreaker, the Bryans broke serve in the first game of the second to get the home crowd roaring with chants of “U-S-A!”
History will not be with the Americans on Sunday.
The U.S. is 1-36 in Davis Cup play when falling behind 0-2. The only time the U.S. rallied to win from 0-2 down was 1934 against Australia in London.
Fish and Ferrer have met seven times with Fish winning four times, but none has come in Davis Cup play. Ferrer was part of Spain’s Davis Cup-winning teams in 2008 and 2009 and is considered the leader of a squad missing world No. 2 Rafael Nadal.
“They still have the crowd, the court, everything,” Spain captain Albert Costa said. “But we are only one point away.”
In other Davis Cup play Saturday, France secured a spot in the semifinals when Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga swept the doubles in straight sets to give their team an unassailable 3-0 lead over Germany in Stuttgart. France will play either Spain or the United States. France lost to Serbia in last year’s final.
Argentina wrapped up a 5-0 victory over Kazakhstan with Juan Ignacio Chela and Juan Monaco winning their singles matches in Buenos Aires. Chela defeated Evgeny Korolev 2-6, 6-2, 6-0, and Monaco won over Mikhail Kukushkin 6-4, 6-1.
Argentina will face either Sweden or Serbia in the semifinals. Argentina has never won the Davis Cup and has finished second three times: 1981, 2006 and 2008.