Mirnyi/Nestor retain Roland Garros Title

World No. 1 pairing Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor retained their Roland Garros crown on Saturday with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over the No. 2-ranked duo Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan.

A year earlier, Mirnyi and Nestor had won their first Grand Slam championship together at Roland Garros, defeating Juan Sebastian Cabal and Eduardo Schwank. It is their seventh tour-level team title since joining forces full time at the beginning of the 2011 season.

“Unbelievable. It’s a great feeling,” said Nestor. “It might have been not the best match by some of us on the court today, including myself and definitely them. But Max was very solid from start to finish. He played great. He carried us. That was important today.

“Regardless of the fact, a slam is a slam and to beat the best team probably of all time in the finals is a good feeling.”

The 34-year-old Mirnyi captured his sixth Grand Slam doubles title, and his fourth at Roland Garros. As well as his 2011 victory, the Belarusian previously triumphed on the Parisian clay in 2005 and 2006 with Jonas Bjorkman.

Contesting his seventh Roland Garros final, the 39-year-old Nestor lifted his eighth major doubles trophy. He also won the title in 2007 with Mark Knowles and finished runner-up with his former long-time partner in 1998 and 2002, and again with Nenad Zimonjic in 2008.

Playing against the Bryans for the second time this season, Mirnyi and Nestor avenged the straight-sets loss they had suffered in the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters final in April. The Belarusian/Canadian duo secured the first set in 37 minutes after breaking Mike Bryan’s serve in the fifth game.

Both teams squandered break point chances in the opening exchanges of the second set before Mirnyi and Nestor converted their seventh opportunity to break Mike Bryan in the third game. Serving for the match in the 10th game, the top seeds missed their first match point as Mirnyi stroked a backhand volley long. Nestor created a second opportunity with a second serve ace past Bob Bryan and they converted with an unreturned serve after 95 minutes.

Explaining their muted celebration, Mirnyi said, “We just probably have too much respect for the opposition today. We’ve beaten them many times. We’ve lost to them probably more times than beat them. Just the mutual respect of we were happy we won. You don’t want to sort of rub it in because maybe they didn’t play their best today.”

The 34-year-old Bryans were bidding to win a record-breaking 12th Grand Slam title together. They were also denied in this year’s Australian Open final, finishing runners-up to Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek.

“Today just wasn’t our day,” said Bob Bryan. “They came out aggressive and hit some good shots. I was a little bit cold and heavy at the beginning and maybe it caught us a little bit off guard. It’s disappointing because we had been playing some really good ball. But they hit some great serves when they needed it.”

The Americans won their first major title at Roland Garros in 2003, defeating Paul Haarhuis and Yevgeny Kafelnikov. They have since been runners-up in 2005 and 2006, falling to Bjorkman/Mirnyi on both occasions.

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Bryans Are Beaten as Mirnyi and Nestor Retain Title

PARIS – The first time Max Mirnyi stepped to the line in the French Open men’s doubles final on Saturday, the Bryan twins kept him serving for nearly four minutes, holding him hostage on three break points and numerous deuces.

Mirnyi and his partner, Daniel Nestor, finally broke the spell and won the game to tie the score at 1-1. It seemed an omen. The Bryans were alert and combative, key qualities in the shootout world of doubles.

But looks were deceiving. Mike Bryan lost his serve in the fifth game, and the match settled into a seesaw struggle.

Mirnyi and Nestor prevailed, 6-4, 6-4, to win the men’s doubles title for the second straight year at Roland Garros.

”Unbelievable; it’s a great feeling,” said Nestor, who discounted his own play and praised his partner. ”Max was, you know, very solid from start to finish. He played great. He carried us. You know, that was important today.”

The winners seemed oddly deflated and said their opponents had not had a good day. The Bryans confirmed that assessment but insisted that the better team had won.

”It’s disappointing because we had been playing some really good ball,” Bob Bryan said. ”But, you know, they hit some great serves when they needed it. Yeah, it stings right now, but hopefully we can take some positives and, you know, learn from it and work harder.”

The Bryans have won 11 doubles Grand Slam championships, second only to the 12 titles won by John Newcombe and Tony Roche.

In a tense first set, the Bryans had only one break point and lost it. Mirnyi and Nestor had only two break points and won one – all they needed to take the set in 37 minutes. Nestor capped it with a sharply angled forehand volley for a clean winner.

Seeded second here behind Mirnyi and Nestor, Bob and Mike Bryan won the two teams’ most recent match, 6-2, 6-3, in Monte Carlo in April.

In the first game of the second set, Mirnyi and Nestor returned the favor of holding the Bryans hostage, keeping Bob serving for 13 minutes through a flurry of break points and deuces. The Bryans won it, but the ordeal wasn’t over. Serving in the third game, the Bryans became trapped in a 10-minute game.

This time they lost it, to trail, 2-1. Soon Mirnyi and Nestor led by 4-2, and the Bryans were running out of chances.

Still, the Bryans had their moments. In one of the best, Bob Bryan won a three-shot point-blank shootout against Nestor. But it was too brief. On the next point, Nestor drilled a backhand volley crosscourt to win the game. The Bryans were down, 3-5.

During an exchange in the final game, Mike Bryan saved three shots but not the seventh. A moment later, he blocked a backhand volley into the open court for a winner. Then he forced Mirnyi into slapping a backhand long. The score was 30-30. But not for long.

At the first match point, Nestor served to Mike Bryan, who unleashed a backhand that Mirnyi couldn’t handle. But Nestor aced Bob Bryan to gain a second, and final, match point.

Then Mike Bryan’s forehand return sailed long, and the match was over, in 95 minutes.

This is a more complete version of the story than the one that appeared in print.

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