Dlouhy-Hanley Continue Red-Hot Start
Lukas Dlouhy and Paul Hanley will go into the Australian Open as one of the hottest teams on tour after beginning their partnership with back-to-back ATP World Tour titles in the first two weeks of the season.
Following on from their victory at the Brisbane International last week, the Czech-Australian pairing triumphed at the Medibank International Sydney on Saturday by defeating World No. 1 duo Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan 6-7(6), 6-3, 10-5 in the final.
"It's amazing. Something I think obviously we were hoping to do. But this is a little bit of a shock, to be honest," admitted Hanley. "Hopefully we can continue down in Melbourne. We're playing really well, and I'm really excited.
“I'm from Brisbane, so to win in Brisbane and now to win back-to-back in Sydney, everyone loves winning their home title. Doing two in a row, I'm still in a little bit of shock, to be honest."
Dlouhy added, "It's exciting because we never lost a match. We are going to play in a Grand Slam with eight matches in our pockets. We just have to focus for the matches like we did these two weeks. We have to keep it going like easy in the head and not thinking so much about what we have done. We have to look forward to what we have to do."
The unseeded Dlouhy and Hanley initially led 3-1 in the first set, but were pegged back by the Bryans, who went on to clinch the opener on a tie-break. However, the Czech-Australian duo again broke early in the second set and were able to maintain their advantage as they levelled the match.
From 3-3 in the deciding Match Tie-break, Dlouhy and Hanley won seven of the next nine points to clinch victory in 78 minutes.
The 33-year-old Hanley captured the Sydney title for the third time, having previously triumphed in 2003 (w/ Healey) and 2007 (w/ Ullyett); it was his 25th ATP World Tour title. The 27-year-old Dlouhy improved to a 10-12 mark in tour-level finals.
The Bryans were bidding to add to their Open Era record of 67 tour-level team titles and dropped to a 67-39 record in finals. Having recorded a perfect 11-0 mark in finals in 2010, it marked their first defeat in a title match since Basel (l. to Nestor-Zimonjic) in November 2009.
The Americans, who go into next week’s Australian Open as two-time defending champions, were looking to win their second title in Sydney, having lifted the trophy in 2009 (d. Nestor-Zimonjic). They also finished runners-up in 2004 (l. to Bjorkman-Woodbridge) and 2008 (l. to Nestor-Zimonjic).