Sun, Jan 28, 2007 - Page 24 News List

Bryans claim fifth Grand Slam doubles title

AP , MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

Bob Bryan, left, celebrates with his brother Mike during the men's doubles final at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, yesterday.

PHOTO: AP

US twins Bob and Mike Bryan were jubilant after grabbing their fifth Grand Slam men's doubles title by beating Jonas Bjorkman and Max Mirnyi 7-5, 7-5 at the Australian Open.

"It's great to come out and start this year well," Bob Bryan said. "Winning that first one is awesome."

It was the Bryans' fourth straight appearance in the Australian Open final and their second consecutive win.

Bjorkman and Mirnyi, seeded second to the Bryans' No. 1, and came into the match with a 4-4 win-loss record against the brothers but with three straight wins, including last year's French Open final.

But Mike Bryan's powerful serve helped the brothers to dominate the match, and Bjorkman and Mirnyi scrambled to save five championship points in the last game before Bob Bryan slammed a forehand winner to seal the win.

"I want to congratulate these guys," Bryan said. "They are both friends of ours, they're great doubles players, they are both legends. We were lucky today."

The match had some unconventional at-the-net play. At 0-40 down at 4-4 in the first set, Mirnyi flicked a volley behind his back and followed it up with a more conventional backhand volley to win the point. But the Bryans held serve with the next point.

Bjorkman, 34, from Sweden, and Mirnyi, 29, from Belarus, never managed a break point, but doggedly defended on the big points against the top-ranked Bryans.

Serving at 5-6, Bjorkman consistently delivered strong serves into the back corners, setting up several fast-paced rallies at the net as all the players came forward. Mirnyi saved the second match point when he knocked a reflex volley off his frame and down the middle.

But the pressure finally told on the No. 2-ranked team. Bjorkman double-faulted to set up the Bryan's fifth match point. Mirnyi saved it with a volley, but then set up the deciding point with a volley that went long.

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