23 Feb Bryans Notch Another Win, Head to 7th Delray Final
By STEVE DORSEY
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – The 40-year-old Bryan brothers, the winningest men’s doubles team in ATP Tour history, continue to chalk up victories in the twilight of their storied career. They’re in position to claim their 117th career ATP title on Sunday following a straight-sets win Saturday afternoon in the semifinals of the Delray Beach Open.
The No. 1 seed twins, Bob and Mike, earned their seventh appearance in the finals here with a 6-3, 7-5 win against Marcelo Arevalo and Jamie Cerretani and will be bidding for their fifth Delray Beach Open title Sunday at the Delray Beach Stadium and Tennis Center. The won the title here the last time in 2015.
Adding to their remarkable career is the fact that they not only are playing again but also winning matches after Bob Bryan had to take a hiatus from playing to have hip surgery last summer.
“I didn’t know if I was going to be in a position to hold up a professional trophy (again),” Bob Bryan said after Saturday’s match. “I was happy when I played my first professional match back from surgery, so this is a bonus. We don’t take this for granted. We know it’s our last chapter of our career and we’re just going to try to enjoy it as much as we can.”
Sunday’s doubles championship match will be the Bryans’ first final since May of last year in Madrid. The last time they teamed up to win a title was Monte Carlo last April. They have a 4-2 record in finals in Delray Beach.
Bob Bryan said that his rhythm on the court returned “pretty quickly” when he and Mike got back together to practice in December.
“When you have 40 years of experience, it comes back pretty quickly,” Mike Bryan said. “We had three weeks together in December when we caught a bunch of practice matches . . . basically just kind of filling in the holes, and (Bob) just needed to move better, which he started doing in Australia.”
The Bryans played the first match of the day Saturday and will have ample more time to recover compared to whoever their opponents are in Sunday’s final. The other doubles semifinal between Radu Albot/Yoshihito Nishioka and brothers Ken and Neal Skupski will not be contested until late Saturday night after Albot plays his singles semifinal match, which is scheduled to start at 8 p.m.
“We could use any help we can get,” Mike Bryan said, joking that as ‘senior citizens’ he and Bob need more rest. “We’re happy to be in the locker room before 3 o’clock. So we’ve got a lot of recovery time and that’s what you need at this age.”
Added Bob: “Six months ago, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to make this tournament. We’re having a lot of fun and looking forward to playing in the final tomorrow.”