Bryan, Sock Take Thrilling Wimbledon Final
Dramatic five-setters are contagious at this year’s Wimbledon Championships.
First, it was Kevin Anderson stunning Roger Federer and outlasting John Isner to reach his second major final. Then, Novak Djokovic survived Rafael Nadal in a two-day thriller. And later on Saturday, it would be the doubles guys joining the marathon party.
As day turned to dusk at Wimbledon, seventh seeds Mike Bryan and Jack Sock survived Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 after nearly four hours to take the doubles championship. Appearing in just their second tournament together, the all-American team captured the crown in dramatic fashion. It was their third five-set victory of the fortnight.
Bryan, who was competing at the All England Club for the first time with someone other than his brother Bob Bryan, due to the younger twin’s hip injury, became the oldest man in the Open Era to win the Wimbledon doubles title. The 40-year-old also added a record-tying 17th Grand Slam doubles crown in total, joining Aussie legend John Newcombe atop the list.
For Sock, it was the 25-year-old’s second major title, following his maiden triumph with Vasek Pospisil at Wimbledon in 2014. With the win, Bryan and Sock become the third and fourth players to triumph at the All England Club with multiple partners in the Open Era, joining only Todd Woodbridge (w/Woodforde & Bjorkman) and John McEnroe (w/Fleming & Stich).
The drama boiled over on Centre Court on Saturday evening. Sock dictated with his biggest weapon in the first set, riding his forehand as he and Bryan took the opener 6-3. The former champions looked to be in prime position to run away with the final showdown, but after saving three break points midway through the second set, Klaasen and Venus showed their mettle.
The South African-Kiwi duo denied a set point en route to snatching the second set tie-break 9/7, as a Klaasen drop volley winner would draw the match level. It would prove to be a seesaw affair, with the lead vacillating from one side to the other. Sock pummeled his forehand down the line in the third set, forcing an error from Venus to grab an immediate break for 2-0. But after taking a two-sets-to-one advantage, the all-American tandem conceded the lead once again.
With Bryan serving to stay in the fourth set at 5-6, the 40-year-old saved a trio of break points – including one on an ace and another on a sublime drop volley by Sock – before surrendering the set in dramatic fashion. A foot fault would send the final to a decider.
As sunset descended upon the All England Club, the roof would be closed for the fifth set. Bryan and Sock would take full advantage, eventually seizing the deciding break for 6-5 in front of an electric atmosphere on Centre Court. They would close out the title in the next game, emerging victorious after a tense three hours and 39 minutes.