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Bryans Two Times Lucky In Delray Final

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Bryans Two Times Lucky In Delray Final

img_0137By defending their title at the International Tennis Championships in Delray Beach, Mike and Bob Bryan collected their 58th career doubles trophy.  The Bryans defeated Phillip Marx and Igor Zelenay 6-3,7-6.  In so doing, Mike and Bob surpass Peter Fleming and John McEnroe to become the second winningest doubles team.

Both Marx and Zelenay were making their debut in an ATP tour final and the Bryans took advantage of their opponents’ inexperience early on.  After an expeditious opening game by Mike, Bob stuck a forehand volley winner for three break chances.  When Marx dumped a volley into the net after a low return by Mike, the Bryans had the break.  With another quick game, the brothers widened their lead to 3-0.  On Zelenay’s serve, another volley mistake gave the Bryans a look at three opportunities for a double break lead.  However, by forcing a couple of errors from his opponents, Zelenay guarded serve.  Thereafter, each team comfortably held until the ninth game when Mike served for the set.  After arriving at two set points, the Bryans netted a forehand and with Marx producing a forehand down the line winner, they faced a deciding point.  Luckily, a superb serve by Mike resulted in a Zelenay return error leading to the Bryans bedding the first set.

Once Zelenay and Marx settled down after being broken in the initial set, they gave their adversaries quite a battle.  These two pushed the Bryans to 40-30 numerous times. Finally with Bob serving at 3-4, as a result of a double fault and a backhand error, Zelenay and Marx obtained 30-40.  However, with stellar serves, Bob helped to equalize the set at 4 all.  With neither party able to manufacture break points, the set went to a tiebreaker.  With Marx punching a mid-court forehand long, the Bryans had a mini-break lead for 1-0.  Then, with a low return, team Bryan caused Marx to volley up and built a 4-1 advantage.  Later, Marx double faulted to give the Bryans four set points.  On the Bryans’ second match point, Bob put away a backhand volley to seal the championship.

The Bryans were overjoyed to prevail.   They affirmed that they “love coming back to [Delray] and  [that] there’s always room for more trophies”.  With Davis Cup coming up in Serbia this week, Bob and Mike felt that Delray was a great way to prepare.  This victory “gives us momentum”.  They also tipped their hat to Marx and Zelenay because they put up a good fight; “they played really well. . .  we were fortunate today”.

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Karlovic Staves Off Fish to Get to Final

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Karlovic Staves Off Fish to Get to Final

img_0042_ikWith a 4-1 record against the ace machine, Ivo Karlovic, defending champion Mardy Fish knew he had his work cut out for him.  In the semifinals of the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships, the chilly weather possibly affecting a chronic left knee injury, a ribcage issue and Karlovic firing backhand winners all conspired to halt Fish.  Karlovic prevailed 6-2, 6-3 to earn his first final spot in two years.

Following an initial comfortable service game, with a Karlovic forehand up the line winner, Fish went down break point. When Fish failed on a pass attempt, Karlovic took a 3-1 advantage.  With Fish unable to chip away at Karlovic’s serve, the latter jumped to a 5-2 lead.  At that point, Fish called the trainer and received attention to his abdominal area.  With Fish’s serve lacking zip and going predominately to the forehand, Karlovic elicited a couple of errors from his counterpart and wiped out two game points.  Then, with a backhand down the line winner, Karlovic arrived at set point.  Ivo cashed in when Mardy was unsuccessful with the down the line pass.

Initially, after getting off on the right foot in the second set, Fish stumbled again.  Subsequent to a forehand up the line winner by Karlovic erasing a game point, Fish saw a backhand down the line blaze by to set up a second break point for the Croat. As Fish’s forehand flew long, his racket also went airborne as he realized in handing Karlovic the break, he was probably done down 1-3.  With three back to back love games, Karlovic punched his ticket into Sunday’s  final against Ernests Gulbis.  This should be a fascinating encounter since it will be these two’s first meeting.

In doubles, Mike and Bob Bryan will defend their ITC title after defeating Taylor Dent and Ryan Harrison 6-7,7-5,10-4 in the semifinals. After a multitude of chances with either break or deciding point on Harrison’s serve in the first set, the Bryan brothers could not get the 17 year old to blink.  Instead, cool under pressure in the tiebreaker, Harrison made a stellar return which allowed Dent to finish with a backhand up the line winner for their first mini-break.  But, later, a miss hit return by Mike led to a Dent error wiping out the advantage.  Still, after holding serve to get a second set point, Harrison connected with a monster forehand return giving his team the first set.

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