Mighty Bryans halt Paes, Stepanek march
American twins clinch record 12th Grand Slam doubles title with a straight sets victory
India’s Leander Paes and his Czech partner Radek Stepanek suffered a straight sets defeat at the hands of American twins Bob and Mike Bryan in the US Open men's doubles final on Friday.
The second seeded Bryans defeated the fifth-seeded Indo-Czech pair 6-3, 6-4 to win their fourth US Open title.
The win was their 12th Grand Slam doubles title together, surpassing the record for most Grand Slam doubles titles as a team in the Open era that was previously shared with Aussies Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde. They now have tied the record for most Grand Slam doubles titles of all time as a team and share that record with Aussies John Newcombe and Tony Roche.
Before Friday's victory, Bob and Mike had won five Australian Open, one French Open, two Wimbledon, and three US Open titles. They were also the gold medallists at the 2012 London Olympics.
The Bryans went into the final having split their four previous matches this year against Paes and Stepanek, but they now officially gained the edge in their head-to-head.
Earning 12 break point opportunities throughout the match without facing a single one on their own serve, the Bryan brothers saved their best for the final.
“It's not going to sink in for a long time,” said Mike. “We idolised the Woodies growing up and they were an inspiration to us. But we're just having fun out there and it's been showing in our results.”
Paes and Stepanek found themselves in trouble from the beginning stages of the match, having to fight off three break points on Stepanek's serve at 0-1 and two on Paes' serve at 1-2. But the Americans made good on their sixth break opportunity, forcing an error out of Stepanek on his serve to take a 4-2 lead. Two easy service games later, Bob fired down a service winner to take the opening set.
Stepanek continued to struggle on his serve in the very first game of the second set, losing his serve a second time to send the pair down a break of serve. Although they were unable to convert on two more break point chances on Stepanek's serve at 1-3 in the second set, the early lead was all they needed. A lengthy volley exchange on their first match point on Mike's serve at 5-4 led to Paes sending a backhand into the net and the Bryan brothers celebrated with one final chest bump.
The win was also a measure of revenge for the brothers' loss to Paes-Stepanek in the finals of the Australian Open earlier this year.
“Even though we got beaten today by one of the greatest teams of all time, my team and Radek's team came out and brought everything they had to this tournament. I can guarantee you we will be giving it everything we have every single day for the rest of the year,” Paes said.