Frenchmen Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut knocked out Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan 7-6(5), 4-6, 10-7 to reach the Internazionali BNL d'Italia final where they will face Ivan Dodig and Marcel Granollers.
Herbert/Mahut pegged back, wins set on tiebreaker
The match started off with all four players on the court holding their serves pretty comfortable for 2-2. The French team dominated the fifth game, grabbing four break points with excellent defensive skills and turning that into an attack. Herbert's volley gave the fourth seeds the break as they then went on to consolidate to get off to a fantastic start at 4-2.
The Bryans held their serve in the next game coming from 30-15 and attacking the French pair at every opportunity to stay just the game behind at 4-3. The Americans were always up against it in the scoreline coming from love-30 to 30-all, once again showing excellent defensive skills then battling to take the game to a deciding point with a volley winner.
The second seeds found an opening and placed a forehand winner past Herbert to bring the game level before consolidating to 15 for a 4-5 lead. The twins then pressured the French duo, taking the game once more to a deciding point and this time, grabbing a set point by going on the front foot attacking Herbert and finishing off with a slice volley winner.
The French pair won the deciding point with a solid first serve by Herbert to deny the Americans and draw level, 5-5. From then on in both teams held serve as the set went the way of a tiebreaker. The fourth seeds won the breaker 7-5 and the set 7-6(5).
American twins draw level
The second seeds managed to stay in touch with the French pair as the opening game went the way of a deciding point. The Bryans broke with an excellent return to grab the early break. They followed it up by consolidating to 15 and going 0-2 up.
For most of the set, both teams then got into a rhythm on serve with the Americans often having to show their defensive prowess as well as powerful returning with the French attempting to get on the front foot as much as they could with both pairs going toe to toe with the scores now at 3-4 in favour of 39-year-old twins. Serving in the eighth game, the Americans ventured towards the net but skied a volley following constant pressure from the Frenchmen who gained two break back points.
A backhand return from the 26-year-old narrowly missed the line with one breakpoint being saved as the game headed towards a deciding point. Still facing the second breakpoint, Mike Bryan went big and down the T on his first serve to which Herbert failed to return with breakpoints being saved and going 3-5 ahead.
The French did their job holding serve but gave the Bryans a chance of serving for the set. A stunning Herbert return brought the game level at 15-all but the Americans won the next two points, going on the attack and pushing their opponents beyond the baseline as set points arrived, 15-40. First time of asking, they leveled with a volley winner, 4-6.
Herbert/Mahut progress to their first final of the year
Herbert/Mahut began the breaker by breaking the Bryans serve in the second game. The Americans broke back in the fourth game and again in the fifth to take a 2-3 lead. However, just the very next game the French pair broke back twice to edge infront 4-3 in a tightly contested tiebreaker. The fourth seeds then stayed infront and broke once more to take a commanding 7-3 lead.
The Bryans would struggle to match the Frenchmen in the tiebreaker and again, were broken, this time in the fifteenth point with Herbert smashing a volley into the body of Bob Bryan. Although the fourth seeds got broken in the very next point, they managed to put away the match on the seventeenth point with a Herbert ace to take their spot in the final.