Bryans keep US Davis Cup hopes alive

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iol spt feb2 Mike Bryan AP Mike Bryan returns a shot from the British team during a doubles match at the Davis Cup tennis matches. Photo by:Lenny Ignelzi/AP

San Diego – Bob and Mike Bryan kept America alive in their Davis Cup World Group first-round tie against Great Britain on Saturday with a four-set doubles win over Colin Fleming and Dominic Inglot.

With world number six Andy Murray – originally slated for doubles duty – taking the day off, the Bryan brothers defeated Fleming and Murray's replacement Inglot 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 to pull the Americans within 1-2 in the best-of-five match tie.

Even if Murray had played, the Bryans would have been heavily favored. The twin brothers have won 15 men's doubles Grand Slam titles, an Olympic gold medal and three World Tour Finals crowns.

Saturday's win on the red clay court set up at Petco Park – home of Major League Baseball's San Diego Padres – was their 21st Davis Cup triumph as a team.

While they kept Great Britain from clinching victory, the visitors need only to win one of Sunday's two singles matches to advance.

Fleming and Inglot didn't get a whiff of a chance against the Bryans' serve in the first two sets. The Americans raced through the opening frame, then gained the only break they needed in the second in the penultimate game.

The Britons made their first break opportunity count to take a 4-2 lead in the third set, then fended off a break point in the next game to keep the advantage and go on to force a fourth set.

The Bryans were quick to re-establish their authority, breaking Inglot's serve in the second game and rolling to victory in one hour and 51 minutes.

Reigning Wimbledon champion Murray will get the first chance to close it out when he takes on leading American Sam Querrey.

Mike Bryan said he had every confidence Querrey could keep the tie alive until the final rubber.

“We still believe,” he said. “I think we can come out here tomorrow and get one on the board and see what happens in the fifth match.”

James Ward, who won 10 of the last 11 games in a dramatic five-set fight-back over Querrey on Friday, is scheduled to take on Donald Young in the fifth and final singles rubber.

Young, playing in his first Davis Cup tie as a replacement for injured John Isner, was overwhelmed by Murray in straight sets on Friday.

Murray is still recovering from back surgery he underwent in September. Although he needed only 98 minutes to get past Young on Friday, British captain Leon Smith opted to rest him for the doubles and send him fresh into battle against Querrey. – Sapa-AFP

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