Davis Cup: Bryan brothers win to keep US alive vs. Britain
GLASGOW, Scotland -- Bob and Mike Bryan kept the United States alive in its Davis Cup first-round tie against Britain, holding off a comeback by Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot to win Saturday's doubles in five sets.
The 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-7 (8), 9-7 victory by the Californian brothers reduced the Americans' deficit to 2-1, and took the World Group match to a third and final day.
It also ensured the Bryans - the most successful doubles partnership in the Open era - still have never lost after being two sets up in a match.
Britain remains the favorite to advance, with fifth-ranked Andy Murray expected to beat John Isner in the first of Sunday's reverse singles. Isner lost a grueling five-setter against James Ward that lasted almost five hours on Friday, hurting him mentally and physically.
Ward was scheduled to play Donald Young in the other reverse singles.
The U.S. has been 2-0 down on 40 occasions in Davis Cup play, and has come back to win only once - in 1934 against Australia in London.
The tie is following a similar course to last year's, which Britain won 3-1 after winning both of the Friday singles and losing the doubles.
The Bryans dropped their rackets to the ground and did their trademark chest-bump after Mike served out for the match, which lasted 3 hours, 39 minutes.
''It's the biggest luxury a captain can have,'' U.S. captain Jim Courier said of the twins. ''It's a virtual guaranteed point.''
The 16-time grand-slam champions - and winners of 104 ATP doubles titles in all - were made to sweat, though, by pretty much a scratch pairing. Jamie Murray and Inglot play with different partners away from the Davis Cup - the only times they teamed up previously was for three ITF junior events in 2002-03.
They appeared to take time to find their chemistry, while Murray struggled with his serve early on, getting broken in his first four service games that ultimately cost Britain the first two sets.
Perhaps taking inspiration from Ward's revival the previous evening, Murray and Inglot stepped up their intensity, and Murray's serving improved markedly. Mike Bryan was broken in the fourth game of the third set as the Brits made the set score 2-1, when they clinched a tense tiebreaker on a Murray backhand volley.
The fifth set went with serve until the Bryans went after Murray's serve in the 15th game, although it was Inglot who made the errors this time - four times at the net.
Mike Bryan said making amends for two five-set losses in the Davis Cup in 2013 - to Brazil and Serbia - was at the back of their minds.
''We'd lost a couple of heartbreakers and we said to each other, `Let's erase that pain,''' he said.
Isner will be looking to do just that against Andy Murray on Sunday.