Jonny Marray becomes first Briton in 52 years to reach men's doubles final
Friday 06 July 2012
Jonny Marray became the first
Briton to reach the men's doubles final at Wimbledon in 52 years after
he and partner Freddie Nielsen pulled off a remarkable victory over
American brothers and defending champions Mike and Bob Bryan.
Sheffield-based Marray and Denmark's Nielsen had only played together at three tournaments before Wimbledon, but they outclassed the 11-time grand slam winning duo with a 6-4 7-6 (11/9) 6-7 (7/4) 7-6 (7/5) victory.
Marray, 31, follows in the footsteps of Bobby Wilson and Mike Davies who were finalists for Britain in 1960. He and Nielsen will face Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau or Jurgen Melzer and Philipp Petzschner in the final.
The victory did not come without controversy, however, as the Bryans were angry at being moved to Court 12, where Hawk-Eye was not available and they vented frustration at the umpire on several occasions.
While most of Wimbledon was concentrating on Andy Murray's semi-final with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a few hundred spectators gathered on Court 12, located just about 200 yards from Centre, to witness what they hoped would be a giant-killing.
The match started off tentatively. Both teams served powerfully, leaving the first set poised for a tie-break until the 10th game when Marray and Nielsen engineered two break points.
A tense rally then followed but Marray showed great reflexes and skill to pop a feather-touch drop shot just over the net to take the set.
The Bryans looked determined to level the match and they forced their opponents on the back foot in the second.
They earned three break points in the fifth game but an unreturnable serve from Marray and two unforced errors from the Bryans meant the Anglo-Danish pair survived.
Marray and Nielsen survived two more break points in the 10th and the frustrations of the defending champions boiled over soon after.
Bob Bryan criticised a line judge's call and then sarcastically called for a challenge before remarking: "Oh no, we can't challenge because we are on Court 12."
A tense tie-break followed and the Americans initially took control, breaking when Nielsen netted. His partner broke back immediately with a sweet backhand and a wayward backhand from Bob Bryan handed Marray and Nielsen the set.
The Bryans had four break opportunities in the third set as they looked to get on the board, but Marray and Nielsen held strong.
More protestations at line calls came in the 10th game when Bob Bryan exclaimed "We can't challenge. We're out in the woods here."
Murray and Nielsen remained unfazed and the second tie-break of the match arrived. This time the Bryans took it.
A tense fourth set followed and an inevitable tie-break came. Nielsen and Marray cruised to a 5-0 lead, but the Bryans broke back twice to level at 5-5.
Nielsen then broke with a forehand and the Dane hammered down a backhand winner to seal the historic win and spark euphoric scenes.
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