Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan advanced to the third round of the Australian Open for the 18th consecutive year on Friday, battling past Adrian Mannarino and Andreas Mies 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 in one hour and 56 minutes.
The feat is even more impressive because Bob Bryan, the left-handed of the twins, underwent hip surgery just more than five months ago. The pair’s last match together before this year came in the 2018 Madrid final, where Bob hurt his hip. It was unlikely to see the 40-year-old American back on the court so quickly, forget showing good form to reach the last 16 at the year’s first Grand Slam.
The Bryan brothers own the Open Era record of six doubles titles in Melbourne, with their most recent major victory coming at the 2014 US Open. Mike Bryan, however, triumphed at Wimbledon and the US Open last year with Jack Sock, before partnering Sock to the title at the prestigious Nitto ATP Finals.
Bryan/Bryan will next face Spaniards Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Pablo Carreno Busta, who beat wild cards Mao-Xin Gong and Ze Zhang 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. The Bryan brothers defeated Garcia-Lopez/Carreno Busta in the 2017 Australian Open semi-finals in straight sets.
The shock of the day came when defending champions Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic were ousted. Maximo Gonzalez and Nicolas Jarry defeated the top seeds 6-4, 6-4 in 73 minutes, and they did not face a break point in the match. The Argentine-Chilean duo reached the third round or better at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open last year. Gonzalez/Jarry will clash with Leonardo Mayer and Joao Sousa, who beat alternated Roberto Carballes Baena and Andrey Rublev 7-6(5), 6-3.
The elimination of Pavic/Marach means that there will be no repeat titlist in the doubles draw, with the last team to retain its trophy being the Bryan brothers, who won three consecutive titles at Melbourne Park from 2009-11.
The pair that won two years ago, Henri Kontinen and John Peers, played well to defeat brothers Ken Skupski and Neal Skupski 6-3, 6-4. The No. 12 seeds, who did not face break point, will face the winner of Steve Johnson/Denis Kudla and Radu Albot/Malek Jaziri.
Did You Know?
The Bryan brothers’ longest streak of reaching the third round at any other major was at Wimbledon, where they advanced at least that far every year from 2001-16.