Bob and Mike Bryan stood just three sets from history Thursday in the semifinals at the US Open. But the California twins couldn’t put away the veteran tandem of Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek, losing 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 and thus ending their bid to become the first team to win the calendar Slam since Ken McGregor and Frank Sedgman did it in 1951.
“As competitors we hate to lose, and we knew what was riding on this match and the opportunity of what we could have accomplished,” said Bob. “And then in one sense it’s a little bit of a relief where you get to kind of exhale for the first time in a few months. All of this Grand Slam talk has been in the back of our head, and it’s been an honor to be a part of this run with Mike. It’s been a great 12 months.
“Those guys played a great match and we wish them luck in the finals.”
The Bryans had won their last 28 Grand Slam matches, including a victory over Paes-Stepanek in the 2012 US Open final.
“We’re pretty fortunate to have this opportunity,” Mike said. “[We] played three matches on Arthur Ashe Stadium in a row. Played our third round out there on TV, which doesn’t happen pretty much ever in doubles. The crowds were great. Twenty-eight matches in a row in Grand Slams might not ever happen again, [but] we feel like we did all we can do. Probably never going to have another shot at it.”
Paes and Stepanek will play Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares in the Sunday final. Leander, who stole the show late in the match to pace the upset, praised the Bryans.
“I have tremendous respect for the boys,” Paes said of the Bryans. “They are great champions, great ambassadors for the game. Just the record that they have even before this year shows how great they are as a team. What they have done this year is something really special.
“I tip my hat to them for the year they have had.”
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