For the most successful doubles team in history, an eight-month period without lifting a trophy is akin to an extended title drought. But Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan have the opportunity Saturday to snap that unwanted streak in the final of the Miami Open presented by Itau against Russian youngsters Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev.
The Bryan brothers, who turn 40 next month, are going for their 37th Masters 1000 title as a team. Saturday marks their 56th ATP Masters 1000 final and third straight final after runner-up finishes at Acapulco (l. to Murray/Soares) and Indian Wells (l. to Isner/Sock).
They’ve won 114 tour-level championships but the Bryans are seeking their first title since lifting the BB&T Atlanta Open trophy in July 2017 (d. Wesley Koolhof and Artem Sitak). In the previous round, the brothers ousted Australian Open semi-finalists Ben McLachlan and Jan-Lennard Struff 7-5, 6-4. The twins have finished No. 1 in the ATP Doubles Team Rankings 10 times (2003, 2005-07, 2009-14).
The young Russians, meanwhile, are better known for their work in singles action. The 20-year-old Rublev opened his 2018 campaign with a runner-up finish in Doha (d. Monfils), while the 21-year-old Khachanov claimed the Marseille title last month (d. Pouille). Prior to this week, their best result as a team was a third-round finish at the 2017 US Open (l. to Roger-Vasselin/Benneteau).
Make no mistake, however: The young Russians’ inexperience as a doubles duo hasn’t meant much this week in Miami. They saved a match point in the first round against Fabrice Martin and Franko Skugor, winning 6-7(3), 6-3, 15-13, then eliminated sixth seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares. From there, they disposed of No. 3 seeds and Australian Open champions Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic in the quarter-finals and then needed only 44 minutes to dismiss Americans Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey, 6-3, 6-1 to book their place in the final.