Houston: American twins Mike and Bob Bryan clinched the ATP year-end world No.1 doubles ranking here on Wednesday at the Masters Cup, becoming the first brothers to ever achieve the honour.
The Bryans, who captured their first Grand Slam title at this year’s French Open, sealed the crown without lifting a racquet after a loss by second-ranked Max Mirnyi and Mahesh Bhupathi. “We’re happy to be the first brothers team to finish No.1,” Mike Bryan said. “That was our biggest dream in the world along with playing Davis Cup. We’ve accomplished both goals this year. We hope to finish here with a title.”
Canada’s Daniel Nestor and Mark Knowles of Bahamas defeated Bhupathi and Mirnyi 6-4, 6-7 (6-8), 7-6 (7-4) in a Blue Group round-robin match to book a semi-final date on Thursday with Frenchmen Fabrice Santoro and Michael Llodra.
The Bryans will face Argentina’s Gaston Etlis and Martin Rodriguez in the semi-final.
The Bryans also set a record for most doubles titles by a brother duo, breaking the mark of 10 by Tim and Tom Gullikson.
Wayne Arthurs and Paul Hanley defeated eighth-ranked Etlis and Rodriguez 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (11-9), but the South Americans advanced by virtue of beating Mirnyi and Bhupathi head-to-head. Not until Etlis and Rodriguez won a set were they assured of the semis and the Bryans set atop the rankings because Mirnyi and Bhupathi could not erase their 64-point deficit.
Bhupathi and Mirnyi bought a few extra hours of hope by saving two match points in the second set against Nestor and Knowles, giving them tie-breaker hope of advancing had the Aussies won in straight sets. One point shy of being ousted, Bhupathi and Mirnyi were saved when Nestor netted a backhand and Bhupathi followed with two service winners then swatted a forehand winner to claim the set and keep the quest alive.
Bhupathi and Mirnyi earned their first break-point chances of the match in the 11th game of the third set, but Knowles smacked a pair of service winners to deny the break, setting the stage for a dramatic finish. Mirnyi sent a forehand long to give Nestor and Knowles three match points in the tie-breaker. Mirnyi saved the first with an overhead smash but hit a forehand volley wide to end the match. (AFP)