Twin brother Bob Bryan, left, and Mike Bryan head to the net to congratulate… (Justin Lane / EPA )
NEW YORK – It had been a struggle all tournament. After one win, Bob Bryan said he and his twin brother were "lucky to be alive."
That luck ran out Thursday. The 35-year-old twins, Mike and Bob Bryan from Camarillo, and the top doubles seeds at the U.S. Open, were upset in the semifinals, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 by fourth-seeded Leander Paes from India and Radek Stepanek from the Czech Republic.
It was the 40-year-old Paes who befuddled the Bryans, who were trying to become the first men's team since Australians Frank Sedgman and Ken McGregor in 1951 to win all four Grand Slams in the same year.
"Yeah, we're very disappointed," Bob said. "I mean, as competitors we hate to lose, and we knew what was riding on this match and the opportunity of what we could have accomplished. We got that. But then, in one sense, it's a little bit of a relief. You get to exhale for the first time in a few months.
"All this talk of the Grand Slam has been in the back of our heads and it's been an honor to be part of this run with Mike. We would have never dreamed it would have been this sweet. ... Today, all the luck that had been on our side went against us. And those guys played a great match. Now we can move on and work for the next run."
Paes paid tribute to the twins.
"I have tremendous respect for the boys," he said. "I tip my hat to them for the year they have had. It's unfortunate they have come just two matches short."
The Bryans had won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this year.
Mike said it will be more difficult as they age. "Twenty-eight matches in a row in Grand Slams might never happen again. We feel like we did all we can do. Probably never going to have another shot at it."
Bob agreed. "Realistically, no."