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By Chris Oddo

Sara Errani French Open (September 15, 2012) -- On the 49th anniversary of Arthur Ashe’s Davis Cup debut, another pair of American Davis Cup legends did their thing in Spain.

Bob and Mike Bryan defeated Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez 6-3, 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 in three hours and thirty-eight minutes on Saturday afternoon, keeping American chances of pulling a massive upset in Gijon, Spain alive, and avoiding getting swept in Davis Cup play for the first time since 2001.

The Bryan Brothers have been in this position before, playing with the Americans down 0-2, and for the fifth time in five tries, they came through with a must-have victory.

“They play pretty good in the clutch and they get us to Sunday when we’re in this position,” said U.S. Captain Jim Courier. “We’ve got a chance.”

Going for their third straight win against Granollers and Lopez this season, the Bryans split the first two sets with the Spanish duo.

It became apparent in the second set that Granollers was having a problem with his left calf, but he continued to battle, and did significant damage with his forehand throughout. Granollers and Lopez hit 24 winners to only 4 for the Bryans in the second set to help the Spaniards pull even, but the Bryans broke twice in the third set and twice again in the fourth to seal the victory for the Americans.

“At times we thought he was going to quit,” said Bob Bryan of Granollers. “But he kept getting the balls, kept hitting the serves, and they played well when they needed to.”

“It’s never easy to play in these conditions as the crowd is so loud,” said Mike Bryan afterwards. “I’m proud of the way we picked it up at the end and played some good tennis.”

With the victory, the Bryan brothers nudged their Davis Cup road record to an impressive 12-0, while pushing their record on clay in Davis Cup to 11-0.

The Americans are still alive for the reverse singles on Sunday. John Isner will take on David Ferrer, and if Isner can pull the shocker, Sam Querrey will face Nicolas Almagro for all the marbles.

Notes, Numbers:
The Americans are 1-37 in ties in which they’ve trailed 2-0, with their only win coming in 1934 vs. Australia... The Bryan Brothers are the winningest team in Davis Cup doubles history with a career record of 20-2...  The U.S. and Spain have split their 10 previous Davis Cup ties... Spain has won its last 23 Davis Cup ties at home.

(Photo Credit: Alvaro Barrientos/ AP)

 

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