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By Chris Oddo | Sunday November 18, 2018

They had it in the bag. Then they were half in the bag.

Turns out Mike Bryan and Jack Sock had it the whole time.

The American duo saved a championship point and converted their sixth in a rollicking match tiebreak to defeat Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert 5-7, 6-1, 13-11 on Sunday to claim their first ATP Finals as a team.

Sock and Bryan, united this summer when Bob Bryan was forced off the tour due to hip surgery, have now claimed each of the three biggest titles on offer in the second half of the season—Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and now the prestigious season-ending finale in London.

After battling back from a set down by taking the second set 6-1, the Americans built a 9-5 lead in the match tiebreak.

Mike Bryan netted a volley on the first championship before Herbert earned two free points on serve.

Tecnifibre T-Fight

With Sock serving at 9-8 Herbert made a quick return and played a series of stellar volleys that finally elicited a forehand error from Sock.

At 9-9, Mike Bryan made an incredible reflex volley at the net that went for a winner and a 10-9 lead, but Herbert made another incredible backhand volley to help save a fifth championship point before Mahut took charge at net on the next point to give the French duo a championship point at 10-11.

Mahut had a look at a lob that could have given the Frenchmen the title on the ensuing point but he left it short and Bryan hammered a put-away smash for 11-11.

Bryan earned a free point with a body serve to give the Americans a sixth championship point at 12-11 and Herbert double-faulted to bring the clash to an anti-climactic finish.

Mike Bryan earns his fifth title at the ATP Finals; Sock gets his first.

"To win here is just an epic experience,” 40-year-old Bryan said. “To finish a great year off the right way, winning here, against some of the best teams in the world. The way we did, it went down to the wire. It was pretty exciting.”

Bryan finishes the season as the oldest ATP year-end No.1 in history. He’s also the oldest champion in tournament history.

Tennis Express

"At 40 you really appreciate these moments a lot more," said Bryan. "You're looking around trying to soak in as much of these great feelings as possible because you don't really know if you're ever going to feel that feeling again.”

Sock dedicated the title to Mike’s brother Bob, who has been rehabbing his hip and plans to begin the season back at his twin brother’s side. The American struggled to find his way on the singles court in 2018, but came through in thrilling fashion when paired with Bryan.

Sock, a semifinalist last year in singles at the ATP Finals, is the first player to reach the semis in both singles and doubles since John McEnroe.

“Honestly, all these moments are for Bob,” he said. “I've known these guys for a long time, we are very good friends. I know he has been watching everything... This is for you Bob, I hope you are watching and I'll see you guys in the off-season."


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