By Jason Brown, USTA.com
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Nobody does it better. In need of a momentum-changing doubles point, Bob and Mike Bryan once again delivered. In the process, they became the winningest tandem in U.S. Davis Cup team history.
The world’s No. 1 doubles team earned their 15th win in Davis Cup competition, defeating Yves Allegro and Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(2), giving the U.S. their first lead of the series, 2-1, one point away from clinching the tie.
“What’s always impressed me about them, in addition to what they do on match day, is their preparation, just how professional they are, how motivated they are to go out there and perform on the Saturday,” said U.S. Captain Patrick McEnroe.
The U.S. is 68-9 in team history when they win the doubles point. Enjoying another sensational season on tour, the Bryans are 16-1, including another Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.
Picking on Allegro’s serve throughout the match, the Bryans converted on key breaks in the first and second sets. Visibly frustrated, Allegro snapped his racquet in two late in the third frame.
Prolonged by a strong Swiss comeback in the third set, the Camarillo twins had to fight for their place in history.
Showing resolve, Allegro and Wawrinka forced a fourth set. But the Bryan brothers were ultimately too strong and prevailed, running away with the tie-break.
“The crowd was unbelievable,” said Mike Bryan. “It really adds 10%, 20% to our energy. I think that’s what kept our energy high in that breaker. They kind of pushed us through the finish line.”
With the crowd going wild, Mike leaped into his brother’s arms at match point.
“I think the crowd took it to the next level today,” agreed McEnroe.
In sole possession of first place for the most team victories, the Bryans moved one win ahead of Peter Fleming/John McEnroe and Wilmer Allison/John Van Ryn.
“To be right there with those guys is an extreme honor,” said Bob Bryan. “I truly didn’t even know we were playing for the record today at all. It’s great to look at when you retire. When you’re in the heat of the moment, still in battle, you just want to keep trying to get better and look for ways to improve.
Before the match started, fans at the sold-out BJCC Arena were treated to a musical performance by Birmingham native Diana DeGarmo of American Idol fame. DeGarmo performed the National Anthem prior to the match and held a mini-concert after the match. As a 16-year-old, DeGarmo finished runner-up to Fantasia in the third season of American Idol.
The weekend series concludes on Sunday with the reverse singles matches featuring the team No. 1’s, Andy Roddick and Wawrinka followed by the No. 2’s, James Blake and Marco Chiudinelli.
A sensational closer, Roddick is 10-0 when given the opportunity to clinch for his country.
“We call him the closer,” said Mike Bryan about Roddick during the on-court interview with Justin Gimelstob after the match.
“When we put them up 2-1, he always shuts it down for us. He's going to bring everything he has tomorrow. And I guarantee he’s going to shut it down tomorrow.”
All three days of the first round series at the BJCC Arena in Birmingham are sold out, including 16,137 fans for Saturday’s match.
Tennis Channel will air all three days of competition with live daily coverage at 2 pm EST.
The winner of USA-Switzerland will play Croatia in the quarterfinal round. If the Americans advance, they are guaranteed to play at Croatia for the quarterfinal round, July 10-12, the weekend following the end of Wimbledon.