Bryan Brothers Win In Houston: Hand Levine & Sweeting Their First Defeat
The young Sweeting Levine team was undefeated coming into this final. They played together once in the juniors winning that tournament and, as a wild card team in Houston, they won three matches to make the finals including an impressive win over the Australian doubles team of Fisher and Kerr who had defeated the Bryan Brothers last week in Miami.
In the first two games, the Sweeting Levine team hit most shots to the body of either Bob or Mike which the Bryan brothers successfully then directed down the middle.
In the first set, Sweeting and Levine lost 6 of their 9 first serves and all of their 6 second serves. Given the extraordinary receiving talent of the Bryan brothers team, the younger Americans neglected to adjust in the second set. As the second set progressed, they continued to spin in second serves when a second ‘first serve’ may have been a better choice. With such a low winning percentage on second serves, they could still come out ahead even with occasional double faults that may come with the more aggressive service strategy and it may have taken the Bryan’s off of their toes.
The fans held their breath for a moment when Mike Bryan went wide on a service return in the first game of the second set and got his foot stuck in the clay as he slid to a stop creating some ackward action on his right knee, but he spun and sprinted back in time to see Jesse Levine dump his volley in the net.
Ted Robinson of the Tennis Channel was most impressed with the Bryan’s play in this match and there tethered appearance. Ted said Bob and Mike are “Syncro Tennis”
38 minutes into the match, Bryan Bros were up 6-1, 5-0.
Levine and Sweeting survived a deciding/Championship point at 5-1 with a great 1st serve and put pressure on the Bryan’s service game getting to 2-5, 15-30, but Bob’s poach was solid and it bounced over Jesse’s racquet. The Bryan Brothers then closed out the match 6-1, 6-2.
Since Jesse and Ryan have been the Bryan brother’s Davis Cup practice partners, Levine and Sweeting may need to show Bob and Mike something ‘new’ if they meet again.