|ESPN.com: Wimbledon 2013||[Print without images]|
LONDON -- Going in, this one looked like a landslide.
Bob and Mike Bryan were playing in their 25th Grand Slam doubles final, while the No. 12-seeded Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo found themselves in their very first. The Bryans, the No. 1-ranked team in the world, had won 23 consecutive matches and an ATP World Tour record of 90 doubles titles.
No contest, right?
|The Bryan brothers are one Slam title away from becoming the first Open era team to win all four in a season.|
Eventually, though, the pendulum swung back. And the 35-year-old identical twins from Camarillo, Calif., rallied to win the Wimbledon title for the third time, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, their 15th Grand Slam title overall.
In less than two hours.
Bob Bryan finished it off with back-to-back aces and the two produced one of their best-ever chest bumps.
In their 16 years as professionals, they have never been better.
They now hold the championship at all four majors -- last year's US Open and this year's Australian and French Opens, along with Wimbledon. No men's doubles team, across the Open era that goes back to 1968, had ever done that.
And, the Bryans also won the gold medal at last year's London Olympics, so you could call it the Golden Slam.
And now there is more work to do. With a victory at the coming US Open, they would achieve a calendar-year Grand Slam, another unprecedented feat for the Open era.
Safe to say, the Bryans did not get the start they were hoping for.
In fact, 16 minutes into the match they trailed 5-0 and were two points from getting bageled. The Bryans rallied, however, and won three games before Dodig and Melo locked down the first set in 31 minutes.
The Bryans, rejuvenated, broke them for a 2-0 lead in the second and went on to win in 26 minutes. They broke three games into the third to take control of that frame. Throughout the contest, they seemed to be picking on Dodig's backhand at net.
The brothers' success this year has pushed doubles into the view of even causal tennis fans. After winning their semifinal, their postmatch interview actually took place in the spacious Room No. 1. They were funny and introspective in a rambling discussion of the game and themselves. At one point, they admitted that all of the records are starting to blur together.
They are the kings of the Open era, but some of the all-time marks are still out there. The big one? Australians Ken McGregor and Frank Sedgman won seven straight Grand Slam tournaments from 1951-52.
We'll save that for another time.
Another Swiss champion
Top-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland ended American Taylor Townsend's terrific run here at the All England Club, winning the final 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. Townsend, 17, was the No. 5 seed. The last Swiss junior champion? Roger Federer, in 1998. Four years before that, it was Martina Hingis. Not bad company.