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Bryans keep hopes alive

Gijon: Top-ranked duo of Bob and Mike Bryan kept US hopes of upsetting holders Spain alive when they fought off a brave challenge from Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez to win their Davis Cup semi-final doubles 6-3, 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 on Saturday.

Spain had put themselves within a point of a fourth final in five years when David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro beat Sam Querrey and John Isner in Friday's singles but Granollers and Lopez were unable to close out the tie against the experienced twins.

No slouches in doubles themselves having reached the last four of this month's US Open together, the Spanish pair were hampered by a calf injury to Granollers that required heavy strapping early in the second set.

Clearly hindered in his movement on the clay in Gijon, Granollers managed to save the Bryans' first match point with a fine drop volley but Lopez double faulted on the next, prompting the trademark chest-bump victory celebration from the US pair.

“We stayed the course the whole way and three hours 40 minutes was maybe one of the longest Davis Cup matches we ever played,” Bob said in an interview with Spanish TV. “We’re happy to get the team to Sunday and I have all the faith in John and Sam to play some good tennis tomorrow and we'll see what happens,” added the 34-year-old, who with his brother is undefeated on clay in Davis Cup doubles.

In the second semi-final on Friday, world No. 6 Tomas Berdych fought back to beat Juan Monaco 6-1, 4-6, 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 in a thriller to put Czech Republic level at 1-1 with Argentina.

The Argentines, aiming to reach a second straight final and fourth since 2006, won the opening singles at Parque Roca with Juan Martin del Potro's 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Radek Stepanek. (Agencies)