01:28 PM GMT November 17, 2018
Mike Bryan and Jack Sock reached their third tour-level championship match on Saturday, beating Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 6-3, 4-6, 10-4 at the Nitto ATP Finals.
The fifth seeds saved seven of eight break points and won 70 per cent of service points to overcome the Group Llodra/Santoro winners after 76 minutes. Bryan and Sock, who captured back-to-back Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon and the US Open this year, will meet Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah or Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut for the trophy on Sunday. Bryan will be attempting to lift his fifth trophy at the season-ending tournament after four previous title runs alongside brother Bob Bryan.
"[The final] is going to be a great day. I am going to be super excited and hopefully I can get to [my] fifth title here," said Bryan.
After making their team debut across the city at the Fever Tree Championships in June, Bryan and Sock have claimed victory in 19 of their 25 tour-level encounters this season. The American duo owns a 10-2 record in the English capital this year, having reached the quarter-finals at The Queen's Club before its title run at SW19.
"We started off with a great moment in London, winning Wimbledon," said Bryan. "If we could finish it off strong in London again, winning 'the fifth slam' then that would be pretty special."
After failing to convert the first break point of the match at 3-3 on the deuce deciding point, Murray and Soares were put under immediate pressure in the following game. Consecutive backhand return winners gave the Americans an early advantage, before Sock ripped a forehand return to break Soares' serve for a 5-3 advantage. Bryan and Sock opened up a 40/0 lead on serve and converted their second set point, with dominant net play, to move one set away from the championship match.
Murray and Soares made the first move in the second set, establishing a 0/40 advantage on Bryan's serve with quick reflexes and composed net play. But Bryan and Sock held firm, saving four consecutive break points to reach 4-4. Murray and Soares eventually made their breakthrough two games later to snatch the set, breaking on a deuce deciding point. A strong backhand return from Soares gave Murray the opportunity to confirm a Match Tie-break with a decisive forehand volley.
"We finished the second set strongly, created a lot of opportunities going into the tiebreak," said Murray. "Jack played a great shot at 5/2 to get them the second mini-break, then we didn't really come back with that."
Throughout the Match Tie-break, Sock managed to get the better of Soares in a number of close duels as the Americans opened up a substantial lead. Bryan also impressed with rapid reactions at net to deny the fourth seeds a route back into the match, before Sock ended the contest with an overhead on top of the net.
"We played a great first set," said Sock. "We were holding serve well and got the one break that we needed. [In the] second set we were looking pretty good and I played a pretty sloppy service game at 4-5... we turned it around quickly.
"You never know what could happen in a Match Tie-break, it can sway one way or the other, but we got off to a good start and rode the momentum."
For the third straight year, Murray and Soares end their season at the semi-final stage at the Nitto ATP Finals. The British-Brazilian duo clinched trophies in Acapulco, Washington, D.C. and Cincinnati this year and have clinched three titles and recorded 40 or more match wins in each of the past three years.
"Hopefully we can end [the season] with a title tomorrow," said Sock. "This is the event everyone is dreaming of playing in every season. The fact we are in the final is great. I hope we can take it one step further."
Did You Know?
Bryan (40) is attempting to become the oldest doubles champion in the history of the Nitto ATP Finals (since 1970).
Bryan is trying to win his fifth overall Nitto ATP Finals title in his seventh final. He is 4-2 in finals with brother Bob Bryan.
Bryan is looking to become the sixth player to win the Nitto ATP Finals with at least two different partners.
Sock is trying to become the first American to reach the singles semi-finals and win the doubles title at the Nitto ATP Finals since John McEnroe, who won both events in 1984.