Mirnyi-Nestor To Face Bhupathi-Paes In Final
by Matt Fitzgerald|
No. 2 seeds Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor defeated fourth seeded Jurgen Melzer and Philipp Petzschner 6-4, 6-1 in the semi-finals of the Sony Ericsson Open to advance to their biggest final of the season. Winners of the ATP World Tour 500 event at Memphis, the Belarusian-Canadian pairing served five aces and saved all six break points they faced. “The first set was tight… there were a lot of break points saved. We finally converted at the end to take it,” Nestor said.
“We got ahead in the second with some good tennis. We tried to keep on top of them as leads are critical, especially in doubles. Their level may have dropped a bit but we were happy to get through the way we did.”
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By virtue of their win, Mirnyi advances to a sixth final at the ATP World Tour 1000 event in Miami. He’s won the event four times, with his latest triumph coming in 2009 with Israeli Andy Ram. Nestor was victorious in 2002 with former long-time partner Mark Knowles, and will be appearing in his third final at Crandon Park. The Canadian has also reached four semi-finals in Miami.
In the final on Saturday, they’ll square off against Indians Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes, who saved one match point in a close 6-3, 5-7, 11-9 victory against Oliver Marach and Janko Tipsarevic. Bhupathi and Paes led 6-3, 2-0, before Marach and Tipsarevic turned things around to even the match at one set all. “We let our lead slide,” admitted Bhupathi. “It got tight, down match point, but Leander and I have been in the situation before and continued to work for each point.”
The Austrian-Serbian combination held match point at 9-8 in the match tie-break but lost the final three points to go down. Marach was hoping to advance to his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final, having been a previous four-time semi-finalist. This was by far Tipsarevic’s best doubles result at a Masters 1000 event, having never advanced past the round of 16 stage before.
With the No. 2 and No. 3 seeded teams getting through, it creates a rematch of their semi-final clash at the Australian Open, a contest Bhupathi and Paes took in three grinding sets. Both teams are coached by Scott Davidoff and Mirnyi expects everyone to be on their game. “There will be no surprises come Saturday. We all know each other’s games so well,” stated Mirnyi.
“Daniel and I know the guidelines we need to follow to have a chance, with our serves, returns and rest of our game. It’s about being in the moment and showing up with your best tennis.”
Paes, who won this event last year with Lukas Dlouhy, is taking a more relaxed approach. “I just want to keep having fun, enjoy myself out there,” Paes said. “We’ve had some good results this year, so if we keep playing like we have been all year, we should be fine.”
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