NEW YORK With history on the line, the Bryan brothers finally met their match.
Trying to become the second men's doubles team to win all four Grand Slam tournaments in a single year, Bob and Mike Bryan saw their bid end with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 loss Thursday to Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek in the U.S. Open semifinals.
"As competitors, we hate to lose, and we knew what was riding on this match," Bob Bryan said. "In one sense, it's a little bit of a relief where you get to kind of exhale for the first time in a few months."
For nearly 12 months, a span that included 28 straight wins in Grand Slam matches, seemingly every bounce and every bit of luck went the Bryans' way. It put them two wins away from joining the 1951 Aussie team of Ken McGregor and Frank Sedgman as only the second team to capture the calendar Slam in men's doubles.
But on a blustery afternoon at Arthur Ashe Stadium their third appearance there of the tournament the 35-year-old identical twin sons of longtime Capitals coach Wayne Bryan ran into two fast-handed veterans.
"You leave that door a little ajar, I will find my foot through it," said Paes, 40, who has 13 major titles, seven in men's doubles and six in mixed. "Once I get my foot through it, I get my body through it. Once I get my body through it, I get (Stepanek) through it."
Less than an hour after the Bryans lost, there was some good news for American doubles. Venus and Serena Williams rolled through the top-seeded defending champions, Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani of Italy, 6-3, 6-1 to reach the semifinals.
Two more wins would make it 14 Grand Slam doubles titles for the sisters. Serena is also two wins away from a second straight singles title here.
The Bryans, meanwhile, remain stuck on 15 Grand Slam men's doubles titles. They must "settle" for the "Bryan Slam" the four straight majors they won starting at Flushing Meadows last year, when they beat Paes and Stepanek in the final.