As the US Open men’s singles draw is just starting to heat up, the men’s doubles draw is coming to a close. On Thursday afternoon, the men’s doubles semi-finals were played and the roster for the final match was set.
The first semi-final featured 4 American players: Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan, Scott Lipsky, and Rajeev Ram. In this All-American matchup the Bryan’s earned themselves a spot in the championship after defeating Lipsky and Ram in three sets, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. The Bryans are identical twins and as many of their matches as I have watched I still can’t tell them apart when they aren’t holding a racket. They really don’t make it easy on you, wearing the exact same outfit and playing with the same racket. I’m pretty sure the only difference between them is what hand they hold the racket with; Bob is left-handed while Mike is right handed.
The twins will be playing for their 100th career doubles title and how sweet would it be if it came from the US Open? The only grand slam tournament hosted by the United States of America, their home nation.
The Bryans are arguably the most dominant doubles team in history and at 36 years old they don’t look like they’re slowing down either. They have ben ranked the #1 men’s doubles team for nine of the last eleven years. Not only are these statistics very impressive but so is the fact that they have remained dedicated to the game for so long.
The Bryans won this match with effective communication and great net play. Few tennis fans realize how different doubles and singles are, but a key part of doubles is the ability to hold your own at the net. Almost every point is finished at or in front of the service line. Having quick hands and great feel is almost a prerequisite to being a successful doubles player, and most of the reason why I was a not so successful doubles player. It’s also different from the singles game in that the whole court is used, if the ball lands in the alleys it’s still good and the point continues. Because there is more court to cover, communication is essential and from the very beginning it was clear that the Bryan’s had the edge in this category. In the first point of the match, one of the Bryan brothers hit a ball right down the middle of the court and Ram and Lipsky just stood there and looked at each other while neither of them went for the ball. Lipsky and Ram’s play got better from there but they were at a disadvantage even before they stepped onto the court. Seriously, how is anyone supposed to compete with twin brothers who are in sync all the time in the communication category of the game? Despite this though, they gave the Bryan brothers a run for their money and did not let them win easily.
The Bryans will meet Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez of Spain in the finals. I’m really pulling for the Bryan brothers to win this matchup but only time will tell. The men’s doubles final is scheduled to play on Sunday. History could be made but either way it’s going to be a great conclusion to the grand slam season for men’s doubles.