Bryans keep American hopes alive

Top-ranked United States pair Bob and Mike Bryan kept US hopes of upsetting holders Spain alive when they fought off a brave challenge from Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez to win their Davis Cup semifinal doubles 6-3, 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 on Saturday.

Spain had put themselves within a point of a fourth final in five years when David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro beat Sam Querrey and John Isner in Friday’s singles, but Granollers and Lopez were unable to close out the tie against the experienced twins.

The Spanish pair, no doubles slouches themselves having reached the last four of this month’s US Open, were hampered by a calf injury to Granollers that required heavy strapping early in the second set.

Hindered in his movement on the clay in Gijon, he managed to save the Bryans’ first match point with a fine drop volley but Lopez double faulted on the next, prompting the trademark chest-bump victory celebration from the US team.

Ferrer can put Spain 3-1 ahead and clinch a place in November’s final against Argentina or Czech Republic with a win against Isner in Sunday’s opening reverse singles. Almagro is due to play Querrey afterwards.

Granollers and Lopez missed out on a chance to meet the Bryans in the US Open final when Lopez was forced out of their semi against Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek with a calf injury, and the twins went on to win a 12th Grand Slam doubles title. Spain are on a 23-tie unbeaten run at home, a World Group record that dates back to 1999 when they lost 3-2 to Brazil in Lerida. Their latest semifinal pits the US against the country that has dominated the competition over the past decade, with four titles since their first one in 2000.
In the other semifinals at Buenos Aires, Czech Republic took a 2-1 lead after Saturday’s doubles’ fixture.

Results (semifinals): 1-Spain lead 6-US 2-1 (On Saturday: Marcel Granollers/ Marc Lopez lt to Bob Bryan/ Mike Bryan 3-6, 6-3, 5-7, 5-7; 2-Argentina trail 5-Czech Republic 1-2 (On Saturday: Carlos Berlocq/ Eduardo Schwank lt to Tomas Berdych/ Radek Stepanek3-6, 4-6, 3-6. On Friday: Juan Monaco lt to Tomas Berdych 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 4-6).

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