MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: Bob and Mike Bryan ended Lleyton Hewitt's Davis Cup cameo, defeating the Aussie playing captain and debutante partner John Peers 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3 in a doubles mega thriller at the historic Kooyong Stadium to give the USA a crucial 2-1 edge in this delightful Davis Cup first round tie.
Six weeks into his retirement, the 35-year-old Hewitt suited up again, deciding on Friday night to share the team workload and extending his Davis Cup playing records to a 42nd tie and 18th year representing his country. It was a heck of an encore. The Bryan twins were razor sharp from Jump Street winning the first two sets quickly, 6-3, 6-3. Then Lleyton started hitting lots of laser returns and the Aussies were able to score two long game breaks to capture the third and fourth, 6-4, 6-4. But come the fifth set, the 37-year-old Bryan brothers showed precisely why they are America’s most successful Davis Cup duo of all time. With brutal efficiency, they swept the first eight points, breaking Peers in the second game with two stinging backhand winners down the line off the racquet of right-hander Mike.
Formidable front-runners, the Bryans conceded just two points on serve in the final set. The big serving Bob did not drop a point, closing it out with their signature Bryans’ one-two punch: a heavy first serve and a winning volley from Mike. "I just think we did a great job of regrouping," summed up Bob. "Credit to Mike, he hit a couple of great returns early in that fifth set." The Bryans left-right attack, humming efficiency and twin telepathy saw them take their awesome Davis Cup record to 24-4. Mike said, "It was grasscourt tennis, just a couple of breaks here and there and then we didn't see a break point for a while. Then Hewitt raised his game, singlehandedly broke me twice. He's a clutch player, he's a legend. You could see from the atmosphere out there he was rising to the occasion as he always does but I'm proud of the way we stuck in there and raised our energy in the fifth and got an early break and held on."
"The level was incredible from both sides of the net," observed US captain Jim Courier, unaccustomed to his doubles standouts giving him so many anxious moments courtside. "Obviously it got very complicated there after the second set. But they really put a stamp on it early in the fifth." This always loomed as the rubber the Aussies were least likely to win. "Whichever pair we picked had an outside chance," confirmed Hewitt.
Excerpted from an article by Suzi Petkovski
For some great video highlight clips from the match click here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meqKj6g5cSQ And be sure to click to put in on full screen on your computer . . .