[CR3] Bob/Mike Bryan (USA) vs. [CR4] Nicolas Mahut/Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA)
It has been a rough start to the season for the former number one doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan. They’ve made it to one final this season, Delray Beach Open, and lost. In fact the last tournament they won together was in August 2015 in Montreal, ATP Masters 1000 Canada. They ended last year with six titles but none was a coveted Major. They were the defending champions at this tournament and things looked promising for them until they ran into the in-form French duo. Was it simply just another off day for the Bryan brothers? It must be very hard to maintain such a high level of tennis as they have for the past years without getting a little disenchanted at times.
They were the number one ranked doubles team at one time for a stretch of six consecutive years. We have gotten used to seeing them at the top and we unrealistically expect them to win every tournament. With the passage of time, younger and faster players are nipping at their heels and defeating them. Today they had the unfortunate luck of running into Mahut and Herbert who have been playing some stellar tennis lately. They are coming off the title in Indian Wells last week and are looking primed to take home this title as well. Mahut and Herbert were much sharper than the Bryan brothers today in their first encounter and defeated them 6-3, 6-3 in a fairly routine manner. Will the Bryan brothers find a way to turn their season around? I think they will; however, perhaps there are a few more things distracting them from tennis these days and who can blame them?