The 33-year-old Bryans were attempting to secure their place as the most decorated doubles team since the Open Era began in 1968. The Bryan brothers remain tied with the Australian duo of Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge with 11 major titles.
Paes and Stepanek are veteran doubles players but were teaming up for just the fourth time. Before partnering for a tune-up event at Sydney earlier this month, the Indian and Czech duo hadn’t played together for nearly six years.
The Bryans have captured each major at least once, but they’ve been most dominant at Melbourne Park, where they’ve won four consecutive Australian titles and six overall. They hadn’t lost here since the quarterfinals in 2008.
UNDAUNTED: Fifteen-year-old Taylor Townsend wasn’t intimidated by playing the most important match of her young tennis career at 15,000-seat Rod Laver Arena.
In fact, she took a souvenir so she could remember the experience.
“I was actually surprised that I saw four towels, like two towels on one seat, two towels on the other,” she said. “I was like, ‘Whoa, I’m gonna snag these.’ That’s exactly what I did.”
Townsend, a native of Stockbridge, Ga., took home a couple of trophies, as well.
She defeated Yulia Putintseva, of Russia, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 to win the girls’ singles event at the Australian Open, a day after she and partner Gabrielle Andrews, of Pomona, Calif., won the girls’ doubles title.