Double trouble for NB

NEWPORT BEACH — Mike Bryan said it's been a whirlwind.

That might be the best way to describe a month that has featured Bryan and his twin brother Bob capture their second Wimbledon men's doubles title, then play Davis Cup, and now settle in for a lengthy tour as marquee players in World Team Tennis.

Many people don't even use their first names; just saying "the Bryan brothers" suffices. The best doubles team in the world — arguably of all-time — came to Newport Beach on Wednesday night, playing for defending league champion Kansas City.

The Breakers didn't have enough to get a much-needed win, losing the match, 23-17, at a sold-out The Tennis Club Newport Beach.

It's the fourth straight loss for the Breakers (3-5), who fell to fourth place in the five-team Western Conference.

The Bryan brothers, originally from Camarillo, tied the record for team Grand Slam men's doubles titles (11) by winning at Wimbledon. Yet they're just as at home in the WTT format, playing their seventh straight year for the Explorers.

"We hate to lose," Bob Bryan said during a pre-match press conference. "If we do lose, we'll be pissed off. It doesn't matter what it is, Scrabble at home or WTT."

But the youngest Explorer was the one who sealed the deal for Kansas City (3-4). Madison Brengle, 21, beat Anne Keothavong for the second time in two weeks, 5-2 in women's singles. That came after the Bryan brothers edged Lester Cook and Travis Rettenmaier, 5-3, in a very entertaining men's doubles set.

"The margins are small," Rettenmaier said. "When you play against those guys you have to be so sharp. The most slight mistake, they expose it. But I actually thought we hung in there pretty well. We had a chance at three-all to get a break, but it was fun. It was high-quality; I'm pretty sure all four players enjoyed it."

The match didn't start well for Newport Beach in men's singles. Cook had a 4-2 lead on Alex Kuznetsov, and a 3-0 lead in the game on his serve. But he couldn't convert four set points and would eventually lose the set in a tiebreaker.

"I'd say three-all points got the better of us tonight," Breakers Coach Trevor Kronemann said. "I'd say game points got the better of us, let alone three-all points. We had a lot of opportunities to put games away and we just couldn't get the lucky end of the deal tonight. If you look at three-all points, I'm totally guessing but I'd say we're at 30% maybe. That's not good enough. We just have to get better on those three-all points by getting after it a little bit more, and being more aggressive."

Kansas City won 10 of 13 three-all points Wednesday, and the Breakers converted just three of 21 break points.

The Breakers did come back for a 5-3 win in women's doubles, as Anne Keothavong and Marie-Eve Pelletier beat Kveta Peschke and Brengle. Peschke is also coming off a Wimbledon win, in women's doubles with Katarina Srebotnik.

Annie Smythe of Huntington Beach also got a victory between sets. She hit the green target between the service line and baseline, winning a trip to this year's U.S. Open in New York.

"I'm just so surprised," Smythe said.

Pelletier and Travis Rettenmaier couldn't similarly surprise Mike Bryan and Peschke in mixed doubles. Bryan and Peschke won the last three games, rallying for a 5-3 victory that gave the Explorers a 13-12 advantage at halftime.

Newport Beach is off Thursday and plays at Sacramento (featuring Mardy Fish) on Friday. The Breakers are back home Saturday night to play the Capitals again.

"I think that now we'll be rested going Friday and Saturday," Kronemann said. "[We have an] all-day flight on Sunday and then we're really going to have to bear down for those last four matches. If we're going to make the playoffs, I haven't looked at the stats, [but] we're going to have to put together a good effort from here."

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