Bryan brothers hand Americans 2-1 edge in Cup

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Gothensburg, Sweden, Sep 23: Twins Mike and Bob Bryan produced a scintillating doubles display to hand the United States a 2-1 lead over Sweden in their Davis Cup semi-finals today.

The world number one doubles duo survived a tough challenge in the first set before easing to a 7-6 6-2 6-3 win over the unaccustomed pairing of Jonas Bjorkman and Simon Aspelin.

''I thought the first set was one of the most incredible sets of doubles I've ever seen,'' US captain Patrick McEnroe said.

''Both teams played fantastic tennis.'' Bjorkman, 35, a former doubles world number one, and US Open doubles champion Aspelin matched the Americans all the way in the first set which had featured no breaks.

The teams traded numerous set points until Aspelin eventually produced an error to surrender the tiebreak 13-11.

Sweden's captain, Mats Wilander, said the first set was crucial.

''Had we taken our chances in the first, it might have been a different match. Maybe not for the Bryans, but for us,'' he said.

Bjorkman proved to be the weak link for the hosts as he dropped his serve three times over the next two sets.

The American brothers showed their class and broke Bjorkman to love to lead 3-1 in the second and then again to take the set 6-2.

BEST MATCH Aspelin matched the Bryans with his powerful serving but his net play let him down at crucial moments.

In the third, the Bryans were in commanding form and dropped just three points on serve in the set. Bob Bryan closed out the match with an ace.

''I think that was our best Davis Cup match by far,'' said Mike Bryan.

After today's victory, the Bryans have a 12-1 record in Davis Cup doubles play.

''I don't think we played bad tennis, we were just up against the best doubles team in the world,'' said Bjorkman, who suffered his fifth Davis Cup doubles defeat in seven matches when playing with Aspelin. The duo do not play together on the ATP tour.

The tie will be decided tomorrow when Andy Roddick takes on Thomas Johansson and Joachim Johansson faces James Blake.

Things look gloomy for the Swedes as Roddick holds a 5-0 record against Thomas Johansson and demolished him in three sets at the US Open this year.

Reuters>

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