Saturday, March 17, 2018 - Jack Sock and John Isner in the BNP Paribas Open in at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. (Matthew Thomas/BNP Paribas Open)
When John Isner and Jack Sock met Bob and Mike Bryan Saturday afternoon for the men’s doubles title at Indian Wells, it marked a moment that had not taken place at the BNP Paribas Open since 1981: the men’s double final would feature two all-American teams.
Playing together for just the seventh time in their careers, the unseeded duo of Isner/Sock had been in form all week and continued as much on Saturday, registering a 7-6(4), 7-6(2) triumph over the greatest team of all time – and collecting their second victory as a team.
The veteran Bryan brothers entered Indian Wells in 2018 having accumulated 114 wins (two at Indian Wells) and 16 Grand Slams in their 23-year doubles career. They were playing in Indian Wells for an astounding 20th time.
Partners every now and then, Isner and Sock had previously won at the Shanghai Masters 1000 event in 2016.
But from the gates, Isner and Sock rumbled through the early stages of their draw at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, defeating doubles specialists Ivan Dodig and Rajeev Ram in the quarterfinals and then breezing past Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic in the semis, a team that had won three of its first five tournaments of the season.
A combination of power both on serve and at the net made Isner and Sock a nightmare to consistently challenge and – ultimately – defeat.
Shift the lens back to Saturday’s title match and history would’ve had you believe it was the 39-year-old Bryan tandem’s title to lose, but Isner and Sock didn’t waver.
After taking the opening set in a tiebreak the Bryan brothers grabbed a lead in the second, 4-3 with a break. But Isner/Sock stole the break right back and forced another tiebreak in set two.
It was there that Isner/Sock would take a 4-2 lead in the breaker and never look back. They’d win on a put away volley from Isner, celebrating together at net.
They’re the first all-American pair to win here since the Bryans in 2014, while Sock was champion alongside Canadian Vasek Pospisil in 2015.
Isner was a finalist in 2012 alongside another American, Sam Querrey.