Bryan Brothers Rally to Capture Doubles Crown

August 3, 2008 08:30 AM

Top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan came from behind for the second straight day to post a 4-6, 7-6(2), 10-7 victory over No. 3 seeds and defending champions Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram on Sunday.

The Bryans, who lost in last year's final to Erlich and Ram in a match tie-break, were appearing in their third straight championship in Cincinnati. This is their first title in Cincy since 2003 and their fourth this season (4-6). They also improved their match record to 50-13, marking the seventh straight year they have posted at least 50 wins.

The 30-year-old Bryan twins have won titles this season at ATP Masters Series events in Miami and Rome and in Barcelona. They remain No. 2 in the Stanford ATP Doubles Race.

After saving a match point in Saturday's semifinal win, the Bryans found themselves trailing in the final by a set and 0-2 before charging back. Mike Bryan lost his serve in the fifth game of the opening set and Bob Bryan was broken in the opening game of the second set. But Ram double-faulted in the fourth game to level the match at 2-2. The Bryans dominated the tie-break, jumping out to a 5-1 lead before prevailing 7-2.

In the match tie-break, both teams held for the first seven points before Erlich double-faulted and Ram hit a volley long to give the Bryans a 6-3 advantage. The Israelis cut the lead to 8-6 but the Bryans went on to secure the victory in one hour and 32 minutes.
"It's gone the other way many timings this year unfortunately," said Bob Bryan, of their share of match tie-breaks this season. "We've lost a lot of heartbreakers. But like Mike said, it's saving our bodies so we'll have longer careers. It's exciting for the fans. As you could see, no one is booing anymore when they announce that. It's caught on, and all the players are positive. No one is second guessing the decision to go."

"It's a huge confidence boost and it's our first title in a few months," said Mike Bryan. "In this tournament I think we played extremely well. Last week we lost in the finals, which was a positive also. So we're going into the Olympics playing, I think, the best test we have all year. To beat a great team like Andy and Jonathan who have had a tremendous year, it bodes well. I mean, a huge goal of ours is to have a good performance at the Olympics. We've been looking forward to it all year. We're going to take a week off and then give it our best shot."

The Bryans captured their 48th ATP doubles title in their 80th final. The pair has won 13 ATP Masters Series career doubles shields.

Erlich and Ram, who are 13-12 lifetime together (2-4 in AMS title matches) in ATP finals, are 27-14 on the season. They clinched their maiden Grand Slam crown at the Australian Open in January and the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells in March. They will stay at No. 3 in the Stanford ATP Doubles Race.

"Overall I think regardless of the disappointing of today, I think we had a great week," said Erlich. "We didn't have I think for like two, three months a good week where we feel that we really play good. I think we're back on track and we're back in business, and we're very happy about it. We gain a lot confidence, especially here for the Olympics and then for the US Open, one thing that was very important for us. Unfortunately today in the clutch time I think the Bryans were a little bit better than us and we couldn't close the deal in the second set. But overall I'm very happy the way that we performed and get into good shape, and that's what matters."