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Spaniards Surprise Three-Time Former Titlist Bryans; Save 1 M.P. In Group A Win

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Granollers, Lopez© AFP/Getty ImagesMarcel Granollers and Marc Lopez celebrate beating Bob and Mike Bryan on Monday.

Sixth-seeded Spaniards Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez got off to a dream start on their Barclays ATP World Tour Finals debut Monday when they defeated top seeds and three-time former champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan 7-5, 5-7, 11-9 in one hour and 38 minutes in Group A round robin play.

The Spaniards saved one match point at 8-9 before closing out their first ever win in four meetings against the American team, who has finished year-end World No. 1 in eight of the past 10 years.

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The Bryans took a 2-0 lead, but it was short-lived. Mike Bryan saved one break point at 5-5, but on sudden death deuce Lopez hit a well-place lob, that turned defence into attack, and came to the net for a smash winner down the middle. Lopez then closed out the 42-minute first set to 15.

With Granollers playing at the net and Lopez battling from the baseline, the Bryans were forced to change their own tactics, as they often got engaged in lengthy rallies, rather than short exchanges ending with volley winners. There were few chances in the second set, but the Bryans capitalised on a lack of first serves from Lopez at 5-6 to clinch the set. Lopez double-faulted at 30/40.

In the third point of the Match tie-break, Bob Bryan guided a backhand return down the line and went onto take a 4-1 lead. The Spaniards eventually got back on serve by blasting holes in the Bryans net defence. But Mike Bryan raised his game, returning with authority to move the twins within sight of their 60th match win of the year.

Lopez double-fauled at 6-7, but the Spaniards fought back to ensure a nail-biting end. Mike Bryan hit a backhand into the net at 9-8, before Granollers ripped a forehand winner down the middle for the Spaniards first match point opportunity. Granollers finished the 16-minute Match tie-break with a forehand, that Bob Bryan volleyed wide.

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Granollers and Lopez are the first Spanish players to compete at the season-ending championships since Sergio Casal and Emilio Sanchez in 1994. Spain’s Davis Cup doubles duo have compiled a 2-4 record in ATP World Tour finals and a 37-15 record this year.

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