Bryans win first point for US against Spain

JIM VERTUNO - AP Sports Writer
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United States' Bob Bryan, left, and doubles partner Mike Bryan celebrate after beating Spain's Fernando Verdasco and Marcel Granollers 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 at the Davis Cup quarterfinal tennis match, Saturday, July 9, 2011, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Kim Johnson Flodin)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Brothers Bob and Mike Bryan earned the United States its first point in the Davis Cup quarterfinal against Spain, keeping the Americans alive with a 6-7 (7), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Marcel Granollers and Fernando Verdasco on Saturday.

Granollers and Verdasco were playing their first doubles together. Granollers was a substitute for Feliciano Lopez, who won a four-hour singles match over Mardy Fish on Friday.

Spain leads the Americans 2-1 heading into Sunday's reverse singles pitting David Ferrer against Fish and Lopez against Andy Roddick.

"I like our chances," Mike Bryan said. "If it comes down to Andy, there's no better guy to have in that position than Andy in his hometown."

After the disappointment of the singles losses Friday night, the U.S. sent the Bryan brothers onto the court fully confident of earning a point.

Fresh off their Wimbledon doubles championship, the Bryans have been rock solid in Davis Cup, entering Saturday's match with a 17-2 record. Granollers was a Saturday sub for Lopez, who had played a four-hour singles match the night before. Granollers and Verdasco had never played doubles together.

Yet, it was Spain which caught the Americans by surprise by winning the first set. The Spaniards even considered the possibility of a huge upset to clinch an insurmountable 3-0 lead.

"I thought we were able to win the match," Verdasco said. "Today I think we played great. We had chances."

But after dropping the first set in a tiebreaker, the Bryans broke serve in the first game of the second to get the home crowd roaring with chants of "U-S-A!"

The Bryans ended the match with their trademark chest bump to send the Americans into Sunday with a fighting chance to advance to the semifinals.

"It would have taken something pretty wild for those guys to have lost," U.S. captain Jim Courier said.

History will not be with the Americans on Sunday.

The U.S. is 1-36 in Davis Cup play when falling behind 0-2. The only time the U.S. rallied to win from 0-2 down was 1934 against Australia in London.

Fish and Ferrer have met seven times with Fish winning four times, but none has come in Davis Cup play. Ferrer was part of Spain's Davis Cup-winning teams in 2008 and 2009 and is considered the leader of a squad missing world No. 2 Rafael Nadal.

"They still have the crowd, the court, everything," Spain captain Albert Costa said. "But we are only one point away."

Roddick has beaten Lopez seven times in eight career meetings, but Lopez beat Roddick two weeks ago on the grass at Wimbledon. Roddick, who lobbied to get the Davis Cup to Austin, dropped a three-set loss to Ferrer on Friday night in a crushing defeat in front of his hometown fans.

Courier certainly isn't ready to hand Spain a victory.

"I didn't go to college so history is not my thing," Courier said. "History means nothing out here. The only thing that matters are the two guys hitting balls. There are no books or stories to tell what will happen tomorrow."

In other Davis Cup play Saturday, France secured a spot in the semifinals when Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga swept the doubles in straight sets to give their team an unassailable 3-0 lead over Germany in Stuttgart. France will play either Spain or the United States. France lost to Serbia in last year's final.

Argentina wrapped up a 5-0 victory over Kazakhstan with Juan Ignacio Chela and Juan Monaco winning their singles matches in Buenos Aires. Chela defeated Evgeny Korolev 2-6, 6-2, 6-0, and Monaco won over Mikhail Kukushkin 6-4, 6-1.

Argentina will face either Sweden or Serbia in the semifinals. Argentina has never won the Davis Cup and has finished second three times: 1981, 2006 and 2008.