There will be no US Open title match this year for American greats Mike Bryan and Bob Bryan. For the second consecutive year, the five-time US Open doubles champions fell to Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez in Flushing Meadows. The Spaniards came back to advance, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, in the Grandstand to make their first US Open doubles final.
The Lopezes led by two breaks in the third set and served for the match at 5-2. But Marc Lopez was broken and the Bryans erased two match points while serving at 5-3. Feliciano Lopez, though, didn't miss a first serve in the final game, and the Spaniards held at love.
In the match, the Lopezes saved seven of nine break points, including two during the fourth game of the final set.
"We'd been facing so many break points, and we went through all of them, winning the points," Feliciano Lopez said. "So the fact that we survived those games, I think gave us a lot of confidence."
The Lopezes now lead their head-to-head against the Bryans 3-1. They also beat the 16-time Grand Slam champions in the 2016 Roland Garros final and in last year's US Open quarterfinals.
"The Bryans are the best in the history of the doubles," Feliciano Lopez said. "It's a weird game because (Marc) plays from the baseline and I do serve and volley, so it's a good combination. Sometimes it's tough to play against players that don't play the same way all the time."
The No. 11 seeds will now meet No. 12 seeds, Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau in Saturday's doubles final. Rojer and Tecau upset top seeds Henri Kontinen of Finland and Aussie John Peers 1-6, 7-6, 7-5 to win their ninth consecutive match. The Dutchman and Romanian pairing won the US Open Series stop in Winston-Salem before coming to New York.
Kontinen and Peers raced through the opener in 22 minutes and had the match on their racquet at 5-4 in the second-set tiebreak. But Tecau smashed a return that they couldn't handle, and Peers double-faulted at 5-5 to give the ball back to Rojer with a 6-5 lead. The 36-year-old struck a service winner to even the match.
"They started really well. We were a little surprised. They were hitting a lot of first serves and big first serves," Tecau said. "But in the second set we just started with the mentality to hold serve, really focus on having first serves, keep the net guy ready and active, and make no mistakes at the net. And we were able to hold serve and kind of get into the match."
Rojer and Tecau broke in the 11th game of the decider to advance to their first US Open final and their second Grand Slam title match. They won the 2015 Wimbledon crown.
"That's what we aim for, those Grand Slam tournaments, for those weeks, for those matches. It's just a good feeling for us to get so many wins together and against good teams," Tecau said. "We're really happy to be in this opportunity again, to play a Grand Slam final. It's a long way to get here but we didn't look far ahead."