By Steve Gorten
KEY BISCAYNE – They’re the most successful duo in doubles history, and had already won this tournament three times, so the Bryan brothers’ exuberance after winning Saturday’s 2015 Miami Open final was a bit surprising.
Mike and Bob Bryan leapt and thumped chests in mid-air, celebrating a 6-3, 1-6, 10-8 win against Jack Sock and Vasek Pospisil on stadium court that avenged their quarterfinal loss at Indian Wells last month.
“It meant a lot,” said Mike Bryan, whose forehand winner between Sock and Pospisil ended the match. “This hasn’t been the greatest way to start the year, but to win here at a tournament we consider one of the biggest outside the [Grand] Slams, against a team that’s been really hot and played us tough over the last year, it did really mean a lot.”
Playing a short drive from Bob Bryan’s home in Sunny Isles Beach, the brothers had many supporters at Crandon Park Tennis Center to watch them win their second consecutive Miami Open doubles championship and second ATP World Tour title of the season.
“It’s just exciting because it came down to the wire, and those match tie-breakers can go either way,” Mike Bryan said. “We got off to a huge start and they started creeping back into it. …It just feels good to get it done at 9-8.”
The Bryans surged to a 6-1 lead in the tiebreaker and led 8-4 after Sock’s volley into the net. But Sock and Pospisil won the next four points, drawing even on Sock’s screaming forehand winner down the line.
Sock’s shot on the next point was long, though, setting up Mike Bryan’s match-ending forehand.
“It was my fault,” Sock said. “In the breaker, we got down early, had a good fight back, and then I definitely messed up at 8-all missing that ball. So you can chalk this one up on me. But it’s been a good three, four weeks at Indian Wells and here.”
Sock and Pospisil beat the Bryan brothers 6-4, 6-4 at Indian Wells and had won two of the past three matchups, including a five-set battle in last year’s final of Wimbledon.
“Now we’ve played them four pretty big matches,” Bob Bryan said. “We’ve played teams as much as 20, 25 times, so the rivalry is young. But if we keep meeting in the finals -- they’re going to be seeded No. 2 with these big results – it’ll be big matches and that will only add to a nice rivalry.”
The Bryans jumped out to a 4-1 lead Saturday and captured the first set in 27 minutes. But as easily as they did that, Sock and Pospisil were even more dominant winning the second set in 26 minutes.
The duo took a bathroom break after dropping the first set and looked like a completely different doubles team.
“It was a match of momentum,” Mike Bryan said. “We won the first set pretty easy. And then they came out in the second set pretty jacked up and won that easily.”
“We just tried to regroup because they came out firing,” Pospisil explained of the second set. “The conditions were a little different today. I thought their balls were really flying a lot, so everything was going pretty fast and we were rushing a bit, playing at their pace. Then we took the bathroom break, slowed down a bit, took our time and made a couple of adjustments. And then it became a dogfight.”
After the second set, the Bryans took a bathroom break that stunted their opponents’ momentum.
“Our bladders are usually pretty small. Usually Mike has to take at least one a match,” Bob Bryan said. “I don’t know if it’s nerves, or what, that brings on that feeling. We never use it as a tactic. We always try to make it very quick and get back. But it probably helped to get off the court a little bit and regroup.”
Two double faults – one each by Sock and Pospisil – helped the Bryans build a big lead in the super-breaker, setting up Sock and Pospisil’s comeback.
“It’s always fun, especially against those guys. They bring a lot of energy,” Sock said. “Hopefully the fans were enjoying it. We like to also bring energy to doubles, which a lot of spectators do like watching. Toward the end it was a lot of fun for us and them.”