Peers and Kontinen win first Grand Slam
Originally published on: 28/01/17 00:00
Playing on Rod Laver Arena after the all-American women’s singles final, Australian John Peers and Finland's Henri Kontinen denied the American Bryan Brothers their seventh Australian Open title and their 17th Grand Slam crown.
The younger pair got off to the better start and the Bryan Brothers struggled to find their serving rhythm. Peers and Kontinen hit 22 winners in the first set, which they won in 37 minutes.
“I thought they kept the pressure on with their serving.” Bob Bryan said. “Just had more speed on their serve, a little more accurate, higher percentage. 47% first serves isn't going to get it done for us.”
The second set went with serve and at 5-5 Henri Kontinen served three aces in a row to hold his service game. The No.4 seeds then broke Mike Bryan’s serve. The right-handed brother committed several foot faults throughout the match and despite failing to take the first match point; John Peers hit a topspin lob to secure the championship.
“It definitely was one of my great shots on match points’ he said. “To be able to do it on our second match point was really good. I mean, I just tried to play it as another point.”
This is the pair’s fifth Grand Slam event as a team, but their first final. They won five titles together in 2016, including the first tournament when they played together, at Brisbane.
Kontinen and Peers extend their winning streak against the Bryans to three matches, the Americans have yet to take a set off the Australian/Finnish duo.
“Those guys have been playing us tough for the last couple months,” Bob Bryan said. “We're going to have to look at this tape and figure out some stuff down the road.”
“They're always going to be a tough team to beat,” Kontinen said. “To do it now three times in a row is great for us. We know next time we play them, it's going to be a battle again.”
The Australians now have a Grand Slam doubles champion – their first since Stephen Huss won the 2005 Wimbledon men's doubles with Wes Moodie and the first Australian Open champion since Todd Woodbridge won with Jonas Bjorkman in 2001.
“It is an amazing feeling. I was looking through some of the names on the trophy,” said Peers. “To be alongside some of the guys and idols I looked up to in the past is something that hasn't sunk in yet. To be able to do that and be a part of what Australian legacy has been with tennis is something I was dreaming of as a child.”