After seizing a 2-0 lead on Day 1 at the Davis Cup, a U.S. victory seemed assured with prolific doubles pair Bob and Mike Bryan taking the court for an afternoon match on Feb. 2.
The Bryans, winners of a record 13 Grand Slam doubles titles, lost for only the third time in 23 Davis Cup matches. Brazilians Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares staved off a late rally by the Bryans to win 7-6 (6), 6-7 (7), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.
"We're obviously disappointed," Bob Bryan said. "We would have loved to get the point for the U.S. I feel like we're capable of playing at a higher level. We'll get back to work and hopefully the guys will get it done on Sunday [Feb. 3], and we'll have another opportunity to make this right [in a Davis Cup semifinal later this year]."
The Bryans squandered three set points in the first-set tiebreaker, then rallied after a challenge reversal gave them new life in the second set.
There was a verbal exchange at the end of the second set between the doubles pairs.
"Yeah, Davis Cup is an emotional atmosphere. They got passionate after they thought they won the set [before the challenge]. I got passionate to them," Bob Bryan said. "There were some words said. You know, no hard feelings, no grudges. It's Davis Cup. This sort of stuff happens all the time."
Soares joked that he wasn't involved: "Marcelo could explain better. ... He's bigger and stronger than me, so I just ran away."
"Bob never did this before," Melo said. "I have him as a friend. In that moment, I [was] in shock. ... At the same time, I want to see the video again to see if he did it to me or to the crowd. If the guy do to the crowd, [it's] OK. It's not OK, but it's not words to say to another player."
Melo and Soares responded by breaking Mike Bryan twice — in the third and fifth sets. They improved to 3-1 all-time against the Bryans, considered by many to be the best men's doubles pair in tennis history.
In the match, the Bryans … More