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Relaxed Bryans net third straight title
By Rhiannon Potkey, rpotkey@VenturaCountyStar.com
August 7, 2006
Bob and Mike Bryan continue to ride the wave of positive momentum generated from their Wimbledon breakthrough.
One week after capturing the Countrywide Classic title in Los Angeles, the top-seeded Camarillo brothers defended their title at the Legg Mason Classic in Washington with a 6-3, 5-7, 10-3 (match tiebreaker) victory over No. 2 Paul Hanley and Kevin Ullyett on Sunday.
In extending their consecutive match win streak to 14, the Bryans won their third straight title, fifth of the year and 31st of their career.
After securing the career Grand Slam by winning Wimbledon, the Bryans would not have been blamed for suffering an emotional letdown.
But the achievement is having the opposite effect on the top-ranked team in the world.
"Everything has been lifted off our backs and we are just having fun at tournaments," Mike Bryan said. "We are hanging out during the day playing music, and then going into matches with a relaxed outlook on the whole thing. We feel like with the career Slam everything else is gravy, and we can be loosey-goosey."
Hanley and Ullyett were the last team to defeat the Bryans in the semifinals of Queen's Club, and it appeared they might be streak-busters on Sunday.
The Bryans trailed 3-2 in the match tiebreak, but the 28-year-old identical twins rolled off the final eight points of the match.
"We had a sloppy last game in the second set and were broken, and it woke us up," Mike Bryan said. "Once they butchered a short sitter in the tiebreak and we hit a few winners, we got fired up."
After receiving their trophy and prize money, the Bryans walked out into the plaza and sat in on a few sessions with a band that was providing entertainment.
"We were still in our sweaty red shirts and played some classics for the fans," Mike Bryan said. "Having everybody come cheer our music was a good way to cap off a title."
Although the Bryans want to keep their streak going — they play in Toronto this week — they don't anticipate going the rest of the year without a loss.
"Too much has to go right for that to happen," Mike Bryan said. "The Open is the one we want to be fresh for. We'll go two more hard weeks before a week off, and even if we slip once, we'll go to the Open with our confidence through the roof."
The Bryan Brothers Double Their Pleasure
By Melanie Ho
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 7, 2006; E10
Against a backdrop of blue -- banners, court and seats -- Mike and Bob Bryan wore red. Displaying their choice of primary color with matching T-shirts, the twins distinguished themselves not only through their wardrobe, but through their dominant doubles play. The Bryans won the doubles final of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, 6-3, 5-7 (10-3 match tiebreaker) over Paul Hanley and Kevin Ullyett, claiming their fifth title of the year and their second consecutive title in Washington.
The top seeds and the heavy favorites were again dominant on their serve and were able to take advantage of what few breaks were afforded them.
"They serve big," Ullyett said. "They get through their service game always under the pump. They just bomb through their service game and make you play a lot of balls. Constant pressure in every step of the game. You slip up once and you're in trouble. They're very good front-runners."
In the first set, Ullyett-Hanley slipped up just once, allowing the Bryans an opportunity to break to a 2-1 lead. The brothers then rolled to a 6-3 victory in 27 minutes.
The second set was much tighter. Hanley said that he and Ullyett took their and were able to regroup. Both teams held serve until Bob Bryan served at 6-5 and faced triple break-point. With a big serve, he was able to save one break point, but at 15-40, Mike Bryan's shot sailed out and Ullyett-Hanley won, 7-5, forcing a match tiebreaker. With the tiebreaker at 3-3, the Bryans held serve, then broke Hanley twice. The brothers won the last eight points of the tiebreaker.
Ullyett's double fault gave the Bryans the victory. The twins, 28, followed with their crowd-pleasing chest bump -- a move that has become both their victory signature and a marketing ploy for the ATP. The Bryans, the most recognizable doubles team, are featured on the ATP's Web site as the poster children for the new evolution in doubles play, which involves both the elimination of the advantage in deuce and replacing the third set with a match tiebreaker.
"I think all the doubles players are behind it, behind the new revolution and I think it's really taken off with the fans," Bob Bryan said. "For that place [center court] to be packed at noon on a Sunday, three hours before the singles match is awesome and it shows that this revolution is taking off and that doubles is getting bigger."
Despite an increase in competition, the Bryans still dominate. Ullyett and Hanley were the last team to beat the Bryans in the semifinals at Queen's. Since then, the Bryans have gone on a 13-match unbeaten streak, which started at Wimbledon when the brothers, natives of Camarillo, Calif., were down two sets to one in the first round of Wimbledon. The twins won that match before going on a streak that culminated with a Wimbledon championship and a career Grand Slam.
"Now it just feels like everything is just easier," Mike Bryan said. "The pressure's been released and we're going out there and every match is not the end of the world anymore. We're going to have that career Grand Slam forever. Our confidence is through the roof right now. We're happy every time we step out on the court and we feel like we can beat anyone."
Having won the Australian Open and Wimbledon as well as reaching the final of the French Open, the Bryans hold a significant lead in the doubles race. Their 50-9 record also leaves them riding a lot of momentum.
"Every day we wake up a little happier," Bob Bryan said. "We're not so serious before a match, everything feels, like Mike said, easier. We don't talk about matches as much before, we just kind of go out there and we just play tennis now."