Knowles/Nestor & Bryan Brothers Reach Final
Top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan, who have won two consecutive Grand Slam doubles titles, will attempt to win a second straight ATP Masters Series title when they play third seeds Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor in the Pacific Life Open final Saturday. In Friday's semifinals, the Bryans defeated Simon Aspelin and Todd Perry 7-5, 6-2 following Knowles and Nestor's 7-6(5), 6-1 win over second seeds Jonas Bjorkman and Max Mirnyi.
Knowles and Nestor, who lost to the Bryans in the BNP Paribas Masters final in Paris at the end of last season, will be appearing in their third consecutive ATP Masters Series final, dating back to their victory at Masters Series Madrid last year. They also are the defending Pacific Life Open champions.
The Bryans, who earlier had twice won deciding points at deuce on their own serves in the first set, claimed the only break in the final game of the set against Aspelin/Perry. Perry served at 5-6, 40/15 to take the set into a tie-break but the Bryans won three consecutive points, clinching the set with a lengthy exchange on the deciding point.
The Bryans broke Aspelin to take a 4-2 lead in the second set when Mike Bryan drilled a powerful second-shot forehand down the line that Perry could not control at the net. The Bryans closed out the match soon after by breaking Perry when Mike Bryan executed a perfect topspin lob on match point.
Mike Bryan said: "Everything is going our way at the moment. I think we're playing the best tennis of our careers and we're going to try to keep riding the wave. We made the final here in 2003 and it would be great to win the title this time around."
The Bryans improved to 18-1 on the year and are chasing their third title of the season, following victories at the Australian Open and Las Vegas.
After pulling through the first set in a tie-break, Knowles and Nestor claimed an early break against Bjorkman/Mirnyi and then secured a crucial hold to go up 4-1 by winning a deciding point on Nestor's serve.
"Given the quality of the opponents and the importance of the match, it was probably our best win of the year," Nestor said. "The Bryans have been the best team in the world for the past year and a half but if we play like we did today, we'll be a chance in the final."
Knowles and Nestor will attempt to win their second title of the year (Delray Beach). They have made four finals from their past five appearances.