By Chris Oddo Photo Credit: Sebastian Nogier/ AFP
(April 7, 2012)--Sealed, with a chest bump.
Bob and Mike Bryan avenged one of only two career Davis Cup losses today, when they defeated the French Pairing of Michael Llodra and Julien Benneteau at the Monte Carlo Country Club, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(4).
The Bryans, who have posted the most doubles wins in U.S. Davis Cup history, are now 19-2 in the international event, and an impressive 10-0 on the road.
"We pour our heart and soul into Davis Cup," said Bob Bryan.
Energized from the start, the Bryans broke hard-serving lefty Michael Llodra in the first game of the match, and never looked back in the first set.
The pattern continued in the second set, when the Bryans broke Julien Benneteau and held the rest of the way to take a two sets to love lead.
"They got off to a great start," said American Captain Jim Courier. "They got breaks early in the first and breaks early in the second. They're so solid, they just make so few mistakes."
Neither Mike nor Bob faced a break point during the first two sets, and remarkably, neither even had a deuce game on their serve until the 10th game of the final set.
Employing a lot of switching on the fly, and exhibiting their usual uncanny shot placement and reflex volley abilities, the Bryans never surrendered control of momentum throughout the two-hour, seven-minute affair.
"We ran a lot of plays," said Mike Bryan. "We were doing full switches, which we usually don't do, but I think that kind of threw them off a little bit."
Urged on by the restless French crowd, Llodra and Benneteau raised their level in the third. They eventually forced a tiebreaker, and even grabbed the first mini-break, but the Bryans took the next two points with Benneteau serving, and never trailed again.
When Bob Bryan took the balls to serve with a 5-4 lead, it was all over but the chest-bumping.
Now that they've given the Americans a 2-1 lead in this World Group quarterfinal heading into Sunday, the Bryans can concentrate on pumping their teammates up for the challenge of finishing off the French.
"Our job isn't over," said Bob. "We're going to be right here 10 feet from the action. We're cheerleaders now. We're gonna get the pom-poms out and go crazy."
As Captain Courier can attest, things can get pretty physical on the sidelines. "I'm glad I'm not wearing a heart-rate monitor," he said in a courtside interview today.
But when it comes to the Bryans, who continue to clean up in on the pivotal doubles Saturday in Davis Cup, Courier admitted that he didn't worry too much. "I am pretty relaxed. Listen when you have Bob and Mike out here -- I've said it before and I'll say it again -- they do most of the work themselves, I'm here just to help them if their is something that they may not be seeing. Obviously their record speaks loudly and clearly, they're a fantastic duo."
The Bryans now own a 10-1 record in matches played after a 1-1 split on the previous day.
Since World Group play began in 1981, the U.S. has won 24 of 25 Davis Cup ties after taking a 2-1 lead on the pivotal Saturday.