Bryan Brothers Save 4 MPs, Set Tsitsipas/Koolhof Clash In Miami Final
Five-time champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan saved four match points on Friday to reach the final of the Miami Open presented by Itau, defeating top seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 7-6(7), 6-7(8), 14-12 in a two-hour, 28-minute thriller.
The roller coaster of a battle had plenty of twists and turns, with Kubot ultimately double-faulting at 12-13, allowing the 40-year-old twins to triumph on their sixth match point. Kubot and Melo won 94 points to the Bryan brothers’ 93, but the Americans are into their seventh Miami final.
“Our nerves were a little shocked. I think it was a roller coaster. Obviously a tough team that’s given us trouble in the past. A lot of great shots by everyone, a lot of nerves by everyone. The crowd was going crazy,” Bob said. “That brought out some great focus in us. We stayed tough through some really trying times. It would have been easy to lose our heads there. But I think we’re playing some great tennis. We’re really happy to be in the finals.”
This is the defending champions’ first ATP Masters 1000 final as a team since Bob underwent a right hip replacement last August. Mike triumphed at Wimbledon, the US Open and the Nitto ATP Finals last year with countryman Jack Sock. And after the brothers reunited in January, they claimed their first title since Bob’s injury in Delray Beach.
Throughout the match, Bob showed no hesitation, even diving on a couple crucial points. When the siblings completed their trademark post-win chest bump on Friday, it was Bob who leapt higher.
“He’s in a great frame of mind. He’s got his little kids on the court after the match,” Mike said. “Bob’s bleeding from his hand. He dove on a couple big points and he was ripping his pantyhose as we call them. But we gave everything we had out there. Happy to be in another Miami final.”
“The hip didn’t dislocate. That metal’s pretty in there, so the cement’s not giving out,” Bob said. “Just don’t know what to expect. I’m getting better with every match and hopefully can keep improving, but we didn’t think we’d be here at this stage.”
Bryan/Bryan will face a new challenge in the final against Stefanos Tsitsipas and Wesley Koolhof. Tsitsipas, the reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion, may be inside the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings. But entering this tournament, he had only won three tour-level doubles matches in his career (3-12).
But the #NextGenATP Greek and Koolhof, a Dutchman, have enjoyed a tremendous run in South Florida. On Friday they defeated Ivan Dodig and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-3, 6-7(2), 10-8.
“We started playing together in Indian Wells, lost a close first round against Kubot-Melo in a Match Tie-break. We said, 'Let’s try again in Miami,' and we’ve pretty much exceeded our expectations,” said Koolhof, who had never won a Masters 1000 match before this event. “It’s an amazing feeling to be in tomorrow’s final here.”