Doubles partners to meet in fourth round

Updated: 25 February 2007 10:35 IST

Max Mirnyi and Jonas Bjorkman are top contenders for the Wimbledon men's doubles title. The next time they play, though, they'll be on opposite sides.

Doubles partners to meet in fourth round

Wimbledon: Max Mirnyi and Jonas Bjorkman are top contenders for the Wimbledon men's doubles title. The next time they play, though, they'll be on opposite sides of the net.Mirnyi and Bjorkman, who have teamed together to win consecutive French Open championships, will meet for a place in the quarterfinals of the singles at the All England Club."Very tricky matchup," Mirnyi said. "It's always tough to play somebody you know so well and share so many good and bad moments on the court with. We've been playing doubles together now for close to two years. We certainly know anything there is to know about each other's game."Mirnyi, a 28-year-old Belarusian, and Bjorkman, a 34-year-old Swede, reached the fourth round on Friday in contrasting fashion.Bjorkman advanced in straight sets, beating Italy's Daniele Bracciali 7-5, 6-2, 6-1. Mirnyi went the distance to upset eighth-seeded James Blake of the United States, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-0.After those wins, they went back out together to play a first-round doubles match, beating the Czech pair of Tomas Cibulec and Jiri Novak 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.Bjorkman will be the favorite when they face each other on Monday: He's 9-1 against Mirnyi, including wins in their last six meetings.Mirnyi and Bjorkman are seeded No. 2 in doubles, behind the pair of American twins Bob and Mike Bryan. Bjorkman has won eight Grand Slam doubles titles with four different partners. Mirnyi has three major doubles titles.Mirnyi used his doubles volleying techniques to great effect Friday, stretching wide and bending low to reach shots against Blake in his first singles appearance on Centre Court."I just felt comfortable out there," Mirnyi said. "Great feeling. Everything's very silent. You hit a ball, you hear an echo. I was pretty much within myself there."Blake attested to the challenge of facing the 6-foot-5 Mirnyi, whose nickname is the "Beast.""He's one of the best doubles players in the world for a reason," said Blake, whose record in five-setters fell to 0-9. "He's also one of the best singles players in the world for a reason, and one of the best grass courters, because he makes those volleys. He's got incredible hands. I mean he's huge. Up at net, it's tough to get (shots) past him." (AP)

Topics : Tennis Wimbledon 2011
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