Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan won the first match of the 2016 World Tour Finals, defeating Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo 7-6(3), 6-0. The Bryans did not face a single break point in the entire contest as they got the job done in only one hour and six minutes.
Bob posted the following on Twitter: “Good start for us at the #ATPFinals. Next match Tuesday.”
The Bryan brothers, currently ranked No. 3 in the world, still have a chance to finish the year No. 1. They would, however, have to win just about every match–and the title–in addition to getting help from the two teams ahead of them (Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut; Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares).
“We’ve been on the verge of having a breakthrough but haven’t been able to get over that hump,” Bob said of their season. “We’ve had a coaching change this year and are very happy with Dusan Vemic as our new coach. We’ve been working hard on a lot of new things and are waiting for it to pay off. We have been putting in the time and the work.
“It’s tougher to be here competing for the No. 1 spot, but at the same time it’s nice to be the underdog and take the guys by surprise. I feel like we’re moving in the right direction and good things are coming on the horizon. Hopefully sooner than later.”
Good things came for the Bryan brothers on Sunday, just as they did for Murray and Soares. The British-Brazilian duo beat Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi 6-4, 7-5 in the second round-robin match. Murray and Soares fought off 10 of 12 break points before sealing the deal in one hour and 20 minutes.
The eventual winners started each set with clutch play. They survived a 0-40 scare in the first game and clawed out of a 15-40 hole in the opening game of the second set. Although Murray and Soares gave back all of a 3-0 lead in the second, they broke Mirnyi at 6-5 to clinch victory. It ended when a Huey volley that had been called in was challenged and shown to be out.
“It would be a huge achievement to finish the year as the best team,” Soares said of the battle for No. 1. “We knew we could win the big ones once we started playing together. It’s a good feeling to have. We came on pretty strong at the beginning. Our goal now is to win the whole thing here.”
Murray and Soares are within 400 points Herbert and Mahut in the 2016 race.