Mike Bryan, minus Bob, moves into another Grand Slam final
NEW YORK (AP) — Mike Bryan continues to excel at the U.S. Open, even without his twin brother and longtime doubles partner, Bob.
Bryan and Jack Sock, who stepped in earlier this year when Bob went down with a hip injury, moved into the men’s doubles final with a 6-2, 6-7 (1), 6-4 win over the Colombian team of Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah on Thursday.
It was the 11th consecutive win in a Grand Slam match for the pair that has become known as “Team Brock.”
They hope to add the U.S. Open title to the Wimbledon championship they won in July in just their second event together. They will face seventh-seeded Luke Kubot of Poland and Marcello Melo of Brazil, who won the day’s first semifinal 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-3 over Radu Albot and Malek Jaziri.
In the women’s doubles semifinals, the 13th-seeded pair of CoCo Vandeweghe and Ashleigh Barty upset the top-seeded duo of Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova 6-4, 7-6 (6). Vandeweghe and Barty will face the No. 2 seeds, Kristina Mladenovic and Timea Babos, who eliminated Samantha Stosur and Zhang Shuai 6-4, 7-6 (4) in the semifinals.
Bryan will be going for his sixth U.S. Open doubles title in Friday’s final.
“It is a little bittersweet to do it without (Bob), just because we’ve been a package deal for so long,” Bryan said. “I know how bad he wants to be back out here. But, to suit up with (Sock) and have him help me do it again was really cool.”
The third-seeded Americans cruised through the first set in just a half-hour, breaking the Colombians twice.
They appeared headed to an easy win before Cabal and Farah saved a match point in the second set. With Bryan serving, Sock mistimed a jump at the net trying to get to a return on a switch and sent a shot wide right. The Colombians broke to bring the set to 5-5 and dominated the subsequent tiebreaker as the Americans dropped a set for the first time in the tournament.
They responded in the third, celebrating after Sock stepped in front of Bryan to send a forehand winner cross-court on match point.
Kubot and Melo are rounding back into the form that saw them win the 2017 Wimbledon doubles title.
They came into Flushing Meadows having lost five of their previous seven matches and will be looking for their first Grand Slam title since then.
The pair had 21 winners in the first set but needed a couple of mini-breaks in the tiebreaker to take the lead. Albot and Jaziri responded by getting two service breaks to take the second set. But they dropped the fourth game of the final set and could not get the break back. Jaziri at one point served a ball into the back of Albot’s head.
“At times in that third set, we sometimes put on a little bit more pressure,” Melo said.
Albot, of Moldova, and Jaziri, of Tunisia, weren’t supposed to be playing in Flushing Meadows at all. They got into the tournament as alternates when 2016 finalists Pablo Carreno Busta and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez withdrew.