By Mario Sarmento
The Bryan brothers added another piece of hardware to their growing collection, winning their 96th doubles title and third Sony Open Tennis tournament crown with a 7-6 (8), 6-4 victory over unseeded Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.
Before a raucous crowd on Stadium Court, the Bryan brothers won thanks to a perfect service game, as they were never broken in the 11 times they were on serve. “It felt like Davis Cup match,” Mike said, referring to the crowd. “You don’t see that real often.”
What the fans did see was some sterling tennis, particularly in the first set, where both teams held serve the entire way, setting the stage for a dramatic tiebreaker.
And once there, the teams traded points, with neither going ahead by more than one. Cabal and Farah had set point twice, but the Bryan brothers evened the score each time.
The Bryan brothers also had a set point up 7-6, but a Farah serve proved too tough for Bob to handle, and he returned it into the net. After the teams traded points, Bob’s serve forced a long return by Cabal to give the Bryans a 9-8 lead.
Cabal served on the next point, but a strong forehand resulted in the Colombian hitting a volley into the net, and the Bryans took the set. The momentum carried over into the second set, as the Bryans got the only break of the match to go up 1-0. They held on to that advantage for the remainder of the set, as each team traded service wins.
On serve and up 5-4, Bob delivered a hard serve that turned into a Bob smash at the net, and the Bryan brothers had their first Sony Open doubles title since 2008.
The dynamic duo of Mark Woodforde and Tood Woodbridge are the only men’s doubles team who have won more Sony Open titles than the Bryans, and that is the next mark the brothers will be shooting for, as they are just one short of equaling that record.
The Bryan brothers also won their third straight title this season, after winning at Delray Beach and Indian Wells, and are riding a 13-match winning streak. It’s the first time they’ve won Indian Wells and Miami in the same year.
Cabal and Farah, who have reached six finals as a team, are the first South American duo to reach the Sony Open finals.