IRVINE — Bob and Mike Bryan, the twin duo widely considered the greatest men's doubles team of all time, made a rare Southern California appearance Tuesday night at the Bren Events Center.
The Orange County Breakers played host to the Bryan brothers and visiting Texas. But there was no rolling over here for the home team against the Bryans, who currently hold all four Grand Slam men's doubles titles and won the gold medal last year at the London Olympics.
The Bryans, from Camarillo, did not win a set. The Breakers continued their recent hot play, winning their third Mylan World Team Tennis match in a row, 23-17, over the Wild.
"It's always great to play Team Tennis, especially down here in Southern California," Mike Bryan said after the match. "We saw a lot of familiar faces. A lot of family came out … [Orange County] played a hell of a match. They played us tough."
The win puts Orange County (5-3) alone in second place in the Western Conference, a match ahead of Texas (4-4) and a half-match behind first-place Springfield. It was a big victory, considering OC now embarks on a three-match road trip, at New York on Thursday, at Philadelphia on Friday and at Texas on Saturday.
The Breakers return home to play host to Sam Querrey and the rival Sacramento Capitals on Sunday at 5 p.m.
Coach Trevor Kronemann said he was happy with the team's play Tuesday, after he said men's doubles and mixed doubles were a bit flat in Monday's victory over Sacramento. He couldn't say the same a night later.
Steve Johnson and Treat Huey defeated the Bryan brothers, 5-4 and 5-0 in the tiebreaker, in men's doubles. Huey and Maria Elena Camerin defeated Mike Bryan and Darija Jurak, 5-4 and also 5-4 in the tiebreaker, in mixed doubles.
"I thought Maria played the match she's played all season," Kronemann said. "Very loose, very energetic, going after her shots. I think she's finally kind of gelling into her role for the team, and Treat I thought played awesome tonight. I thought he played very relaxed in both the doubles and the mixed. Tonight, we had it together. Now we get on the road and the tough part starts."
Johnson opened the night with a 5-3 victory over Alex Bogomolov in men's singles. After the aforementioned doubles wins, Orange County had built a 15-11 lead.
"To beat [the Bryan brothers] is always unbelievable," said Huey, himself ranked No. 25 in the world in doubles. "It doesn't matter if it's World Team Tennis, or ping pong or anything. We'll take the win. We played real well. [The Bryans] have been on the winning end a lot of the times that I've played them this year, so it's good to get the win tonight."
Texas cut the deficit in half in women's doubles, as Jurak and Eugenie Bouchard topped Coco Vandeweghe and Camerin, 5-3. But Vandeweghe owned the stage in the last set, defeating Bouchard, 5-1, in women's singles.
It was the last scheduled home match of the season for Vandeweghe, who leads the league in women's singles. She will leave the Breakers after Thursday's match to participate in qualifying for the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, where she was a finalist last year.
Kronemann said Vandeweghe could return to the Breakers, depending on how far she gets at Stanford. Liga Dekmeijere will replace her in the matches she doesn't play.
"We've got five days of flying and playing [on the road], but we have a good crew and they want to win," Kronemann said. "We're excited about the challenge, and we'll do the best we can."