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Bryan brothers one step from Grand Slam history

by Dan Imhoff
Thursday 4 July 2013

The Bryan brothers are within one match of holding all four Grand Slams at once after holding off Rohan Bopanna and Edouard Roger-Vasselin in five sets in their Wimbledon semi-final on Thursday. The top-seeded Americans – already with 14 majors to their names – will complete a non-calendar-year Golden Grand Slam should they take care of surprise finalists, No.12seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo.

It would be something no men’s doubles duo in the Open era has accomplished before, given Frank Sedgmen and Ken McGregor’s Grand Slam was achieved in 1951, before players turned professional. “Feels good to be through. You know, the two times we've won this tournament we've had these type of battles. I don't know, you just build confidence that you can win it in sticky moments,” Bob said. “Now we're kind of battle-tested and ready for the finals.”

If they pull off the four-straight, the feat would be made even more impressive by their Olympic gold medal on these courts last summer.

“I don't know what you want to call it. I've been hearing the Bryan Slam. Now you call it the Golden Slam. It's pretty cool,” Mike said. “We're playing kind of a fairytale team, Melo and Dodig, in their first Grand Slam final. Yeah, we'll be tough to beat if we play well.”

The brothers’ sixth final in the past seven slams looked to be slipping from their grasp after they let match points in the fourth set go begging against the 14th seeds Bopanna and Roger-Vasselin. But they steadied, breaking early in the decider for 2-0 and never relinquished the break for the remainder of the match.

“It didn't feel great to have it in our hands and then have the match extended for another hour. But I thought we did a great job of not saying too much at that moment,” Bob said. “It would have been very easy to make a couple [of] snipey comments to each other, which could have kind of unraveled the vibe.

“We did a great job of collecting ourselves and not saying anything, which we tend to do in those moments. It's sometimes better not to talk, ’cause as brothers and twins, you don't want to be coached by your sibling.”

“Ever,” Mike chimed in.

It will be a tall order for the Croatian-Brazilian pairing of Dodig and Melo after their five-set upset of fourth seeds and 2012 Australian Open champions Radek Stepanek and Leander Paes in the second of the semi-finals.

Dodig and Melo broke the Stepanek serve to love in the deciding game of the match for a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 result after two hours and 55 minutes. They sent down an impressive 21 aces to their opponents’ five, finishing the match with 36 winners to 10.

For careers with a long list of accolades, the Bryans were clear where this Wimbledon title would rate, should they succeed. “Probably the highest achievement. You know, it doesn't happen every day. I mean, it would be really cool, I mean, to say that we've had a couple records. To add this on top would just be really sweet,” Mike said.

“These type of records and achievements, there's a lot of 'em. They're always out there. You know, this one's extra cool. There will always be something else to do.”

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Related Photos & Videos

  • Bob and Mike Bryan celebrate their victory.
  • Bob and Mike Bryan sign autographs after their semi-final win.
  • Rohan Bopanna and Edouard Roger-Vasselin discuss their options on No.1 Court.
  • Bob and Mike Bryan playing close to the net.
  • Bob and Mike Bryan support each other in their semi-final match.
  • Mike Bryan with a backhand volley.
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