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Bryan brothers on pace for record 12th title

January 26, 2012 08:31 AM
The Bryans will be going for a record 12th Grand Slam doubles title.

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -- Bob Bryan plays for his record 12th Grand Slam doubles title with his brother Mike on Saturday, but he's advising wife Michelle not to watch on television at home in Miami.

He doesn't want her to go into labor until he's back in the country.

The couple is expecting the birth of their first child - a girl - and Michelle's due date just happens to fall on the same day as the doubles final.

"I've been telling her, 'Don't watch the matches, it will get your heart rate going and you might spit that baby out,''' Bob Bryan said after the brothers' tight semifinal win on Thursday. "She knows she's a few days away from me coming home. She's not going to risk it, not now.''

Bryan almost caught an earlier flight back to Florida. The top-seeded brothers had to fight off a match point and rally from a 5-2 deficit in the third-set tiebreaker to beat Robert Lindstedt of Sweden and Horia Tecau of Romania.

"I think we maybe got a little lucky,'' Mike Bryan said. "Played kind of our best tennis at the very end.''

The brothers were coming off a tough, three-set quarterfinal win over Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski of Poland that didn't finish until 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday because they followed the 4-hour-plus men's singles quarterfinal between Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych at Rod Laver Arena.

"It was tough to sleep last night because we were used to being up,'' Mike Bryan said.

The Americans now play the unseeded pairing of Leander Paes of India and Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic in the final for a chance to make history. They're currently level at 11 career Grand Slam titles with the Australian doubles team of Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge, known at home as the ``Woodies.''

"They've always seemed like they've been happy for us and our success,'' Bob Bryan said. "They seem very secure with their own achievements and career. They've had an amazingly decorated history on the court.''

Whatever happens on Saturday, Bob Bryan will be on the first flight out of Melbourne on Sunday morning.

"(Michelle's) been so happy and supportive of what we're doing,'' Bob Bryan said. "That makes it really easy.''

RANKINGS SHUFFLE: If Maria Sharapova wins the Australian Open title on Saturday, she'll rise to the top of the women's rankings for the fifth time in her career.

The 24-year-old Russian has only been No. 1 for a total of 17 weeks in her lengthy career, but those stints at the top have come in three different seasons.

Sharapova first reached No. 1 on Aug. 22, 2005, but lost it a week later to Lindsay Davenport. The Russian then moved back into the top spot on Sept. 12 and held it for six more weeks before Davenport supplanted her again.

Sharapova returned to No. 1 for seven weeks after losing the Australian Open final to Serena Williams in 2007, and again for three weeks in May 2008 when then-No. 1 Justine Henin retired and took her name off the rankings.

Sharapova must beat Victoria Azarenka in the final Saturday to get the ranking back; if Azarenka wins, she'll become No. 1 for the first time in her career.

Current No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, who lost in the quarterfinals, will fall out of the top spot when the new rankings are released next week after spending 67 weeks as No. 1.

She's projected to fall to No. 4, behind Sharapova, Azarenka and Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

Defending champion Kim Clijsters, meanwhile, is expected to fall from No. 14 to approximately No. 30-32 after her loss to Azarenka in the semifinals.

AUSTRALIA'S GOT TALENT: Bernard Tomic isn't the only tennis phenom Australia is getting excited about.

Luke Saville, the world's top-ranked male junior player, advanced to the semifinals of the boys' singles competition at the Australian Open with a 7-5, 7-5 victory over Kyle Edmund of Britain on Thursday.

Saville, who turns 18 on Feb. 1, is aiming for his second junior Grand Slam title. He captured the Wimbledon junior crown last July and also made the 2011 Australian Open final.

The 19-year-old Tomic, who made it to the fourth round of the men's singles draw this year, was the last Australian champion in the boys' event in 2008.

Saville said after his match Thursday that he doesn't feel any pressure coming in as the top seed.

"Obviously everyone is kind of shooting for me now, trying to take me down, but from a young age I've kind of been top in Australia for my age group ... so I've experienced that feeling of being the top dog,'' he said.

Saville plays 17-year-old Adam Pavlasek of the Czech Republic in the semifinals Friday. Pavlasek may have a famous face in his corner for the match - he's dating Petra Kvitova, who lost in the women's semifinals on Thursday.

When asked if she'd stick around to watch her boyfriend play, Kvitova said, "Maybe tomorrow.''



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