Bryan Brothers Hold Off Nadal/Verdasco

Third seeds bounce back to advance to second round

Under the lights at the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday night, Bob and Mike Bryan brought their best when it mattered to deny Spanish compatriots Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco 3-6, 7-5, 10-8. Up 8-2 in the match tie-break, the No. 3 seeds let their left-handed opponents crawl back to level at 8-all. 

But a Nadal double fault and a well-played point later, and the Bryans had advanced to the second round at Indian Wells in one hour and 30 minutes.

“The American crowd really got behind us and kept us going because we were not really close to our best early,” Bob Bryan said. “We stayed in it and got a little momentum there at the end of the second, but it took us a while.”

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The Bryans certainly beneftted from the 6000-plus fans who packed Stadium Court 2 to marvel at the impressive play from both sides. Nadal and Verdasco, better known for their singles exploits, tried to keep the Bryan brothers from swamping the net. But the Americans, who have won 109 titles together, used their doubles wit and quick hands to dull the Spaniards' attacks.

Among those who witnessed the epic battle were former boxing champion Mike Tyson, actors Hilary Swank and Kaley Cuoco, and the owner of the tournament, Larry Ellison. “It was a great atmosphere just right from when we walked out,” Mike Bryan said.

With the win, the Bryans are now 7-0 in doubles matches against Nadal. They move on to the second round to face two more singles specialists, Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut and Serbia's Viktor Troicki.

In other doubles action, Great Britain's Jamie Murray and Brazil's Bruno Soares, No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings, beat Treat Huey of the Philippines and Martin Klizan of Slovakia 6-4, 6-7(5), 11-9. Defending champions Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock also advanced to the second round, beating Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan and Gilles Simon of France 6-0, 7-5.

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