Bryan twins give United States life in Davis Cup

Posted: Sunday, December 05, 2004

SEVILLE, Spain The Bryan twins stopped Spain's momentum in the Davis Cup final. Now it's up to Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish.

Bob and Mike Bryan defeated Tommy Robredo and Juan Carlos Ferrero in 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 Saturday, leaving the Americans down 2-1 entering Sunday's singles in the best-of-five series. The Californians are 5-0 in Davis Cup doubles and haven't dropped a set.

''We obviously have a lot of work tomorrow, but we know what we have to accomplish now,'' said Fish, who could face Rafael Nadal in the deciding match Sunday, provided Roddick tops Carlos Moya in the first singles match.

Only one team in Davis Cup history has come back to win after being down 2-0 in the final. That was Australia in 1939 against the United States. The Americans have won the Davis Cup 31 times, but not since 1995. Spain is seeking its second title.

''It's a big task. We know what we have in front of us,'' added Fish, who gave his team a rallying cry Friday after the Americans lost both singles.

''We went back to the hotel and were thinking about comebacks,'' said Fish, who came up with one: ''Remember the Red Sox.''

The Americans will need all the inspiration they can find on the slow clay, where the Spaniards are so strong and will be backed by 27,200 screaming fans at Olympic Stadium, a covered but open-air venue.

On Friday, Fish went down tamely in three sets against Moya, and 18-year-old Nadal upset Roddick in four sets.

The Bryans overpowered Robredo and Ferrero, with Ferrero managing to hold serve only once. The twins came in behind every serve, either hitting the ball right at or right past the Spaniards. Spanish captain Jordi Arrese called the brothers ''great players in doubles.''

Dozens of winning points were cheered by the twins' flag-waving grandparents, Carl and Alice Bryan, who sat behind the American bench. Leading the Spanish cheering was Prince Felipe, the heir to the Spanish throne, and his wife, Princess Letizia. The prince has a degree from Georgetown University, but there was no doubt about which team he favored.

''It feels good, but it's not going to be as good if we don't win two tomorrow,'' Mike Bryan said ''It feels good to give those guys another shot, and Spain has to go to sleep on that.''

Added Bob: ''I'm really confident in Andy winning that first match, and then anything can happen.''

U.S. captain Patrick McEnroe took over the team four years ago and has built it from scratch. Although he talked with Andre Agassi about joining the squad for the final Agassi said no he has stuck with his young players.

''We know we are up against it,'' he said. ''We've been the underdog from the minute we landed here.''

''Mardy's an underdog in his match, but he learns pretty quickly,'' McEnroe added. ''He knows he's going to have to be aggressive. He's going to have to take some chances. But if it gets to 2-all. ... Who knows what could happen?''

Roddick has a 3-0 edge on Moya in career matches, but all the victories have come on hard courts. The last was earlier this year in Miami. Fish and Nadal have never played.

Arrese named Ferrero on Saturday to play doubles with Robredo, subbing for Nadal to let him rest. Nadal was called in for Ferrero in Friday's singles. Ferrero is finishing the worst season of his career, slowed by injury and illness.

''I don't hide, and I show up when I am asked to,'' Ferrero said.

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