It isn't that the Bryan brothers have been the best doubles team in professional tennis forever. It just seems that way.
But Bob and Mike, the twins from Camarillo, now have something else to shoot for besides staying No. 1. When they won their semifinal match in the U.S. Open on Thursday, before a sizable doubles crowd in Ashe Stadium, they moved to within one victory of their 100th tour title.
"This year feels like an added bonus," said Bob Bryan, the left-hander. "If we can do it [win No. 100 here], it would add something really special to the Grand Slam title.…
"It's not like, oh, my God, we're going to be stuck on 99 forever. We're both confident we'll knock down that title at some point.
"It would just be cool to do it here."
They beat the unseeded U.S. team of Scott Lipsky and Rajeev Ram, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.
Sunday, they will play Spaniards Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez, seeded No. 11. If the Bryans win, it will be their fifth U.S. Open title and their 16th Grand Slam title. They have made an additional 11 major finals now, including Sunday’s.
After Thursday's match, they were asked about their effective on-court communication. "We've been communicating like this since the womb," said Bob.
Or maybe it was Mike. If they don't have a racket in their hand, it's hard to tell which is which.
They are both recently married and live in Florida now, Bob in Sunny Isles Beach and Mike in Wesley Chapel. Those cities are about four hours apart and it's as much separation as these two normally get.
They are 36. They used to play other events with other people, or even an occasional men's doubles with another man. Not much anymore. The numbers don't lie.
Bob's winnings last year were $1,632,854. Mike's were $1,632,854.
One story line for the men's singles disappeared Thursday, when No. 6-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic played a mediocre match against 14th-seeded Marin Cilic and lost his quarterfinal, 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (4).
“I started terrible and my serve was off,” Berdych said. “Then it was tough to catch up.”
By advancing, Berdych could have put himself in a position to play second-seeded Roger Federer, who defeated France's Gael Monfils, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-2.
Berdych has been among a handful of players who has given Federer more trouble than usual.
It was a 19-year-old Berdych who took out the in-his-prime Federer in singles at the Athens Olympics in 2004. Federer hasn't won an Olympic singles gold. Berdych also beat Federer in a Wimbledon quarterfinal in 2010 and has the lone win at night at the U.S. Open against Federer in a 2012 quarterfinal.
Cilic wasn't allowed to play last year in the U.S. Open, forced to the sideline by a four-month doping suspension that he says he didn't deserve.
Hingis in a final
Martina Hingis, longtime No. 1 singles player, has not totally retired from the women's pro tour. Thursday, she and partner Flavia Pennetta of Italy won their way into the women's final Saturday. They were unseeded, but beat No. 3 Cara Black of Zimbabwe and Sania Mirza of India, 6-2, 6-4.