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Llodra and Mahut ready for Bryan brothers

Michael Llodra and Nicolas Mahut on Court 12
by William Denny
Wednesday 2 July 2014

Michael Llodra and Nicolas Mahut booked their place in the Wimbledon semi-finals with a 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 win over the reigning French Open champions, Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, on Court 12.

“It is always good to win a match, especially this one because it was a quarter-final against a French team,” said Llodra. “It is never easy but we are very proud today because we knew it was going to be difficult.

“We try to stay focused even if we lose the first set. I think we were much better in the game, the return, the serve and the volleys. But on grass everything can be fast. At the beginning of the fourth we were very aggressive and we broke Benneteau so it was close and difficult to finish the match but we showed good intensity.”

The No.12 seeds got the better of the early exchanges in this all-French affair, clinching the opening set without an unforced error. For Benneteau and Roger-Vasselin, missed opportunities and punishing winners would be the story of the second set as their opponents edged closer to the next round.

Both pairs treated the crowd to some wonderful play in the third set with flamboyant volleys and sublime winners entertaining the crowd before a break of serve in game No.12 moved Benneteau and Roger-Vasselin to within one set of their opponents.

Yet, Llodra and Mahut broke early in the fourth set before clinically taking the match at the first opportunity. “I think, you know, we were much better in the game, the return, the serve and the volleys,” added Llodra. “But you know on grass everything can be fast. At the beginning of the fourth we were very aggressive and we broke Benneteau so it was close and difficult to finish the match but we showed good intensity.”

The prize for the Frenchmen is a match with the Bryan brothers, who faced their toughest test yet on No.2 Court, against Julian Knowle and Marcelo Melo, eventually winning 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and 17 minutes. The top seeds, looking for their 16th Grand Slam title at the All England Club, found themselves one set adrift after just 26 minutes as the No.9 seeds capitalised on a pedestrian start.

Yet Melo, a 2013 Wimbledon finalist in the gentlemen's doubles, and his partner Knowles were soon on the receiving end of some classy stroke play by the American twins. After a second set tie-break Bob and Mike began hammering through accurate serves as they took control. In the end, 21 aces and 29 winners were enough to book their place in the last four.

“It is difficult to play in the semis and quarters because the best teams are here, especially when you play the Bryans,” conceded Llodra. “They have won a couple of times here plus the Olympic Games so it is going to be difficult but why not? We have a chance and we will try to beat them.”

In the remaining third-round ties, No.5 seeds Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek overcame a tricky encounter with Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau on No.3 Court, winning 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-4, 7-5. The Australian Open quarter-finalists will now face No.3 seeds Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic while No.2 seeds Bruno Soares and Alexander Peya meet Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock after the Candian-American pair won in straight sets on Court 17.

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