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Moodie misses out

Our Wesley Moodie and Dick Norman missed out on a semi-final spot at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Friday as they went down to Mahesh Bhupati and Max Mirnyi.

The match was a winner-take-all affair with the last semi-final spot as runners-up in Group B the prize at stake.

But Moodie, our top ranked doubles tennis player, and his big Belgian partner couldn’t clinch the deal as they went down 6-4 6-4.

The outcome is that Buphathi and Mirnyi will now take on Group A winners, the all-Polish duo of Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski in one of two Saturday semi-finals. It’s the first time that Buphathi and Mirnyi have made the semi-final stage in three appearances at the season-ending tournament.

Defending champions Bob and Mike Bryan take on Group B winners Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic.

Looking ahead to their clash with the Poles, Bhupathi told the Inside the ATP Tour website: ÔÇ£[They] are obviously playing their best tennis of the year. They won the group, but we’ve beaten them every time we’ve played them this season. It’s going to be a good game. [The atmosphere at the O2] is awesome; every day we can stay alive in this tournament it’s a bonus for us. Hopefully we can keep going till the weekend is over.ÔÇØ

Bhupathi and Mirnyi drew first blood with a break of serve in the third game. Bhupathi hit a return winner off the Moodie serve, which the crossing Norman could not reach. Untroubled on serve, the third seeds went on to seal the first set with a hold to 15 by Mirnyi in the 10th game.

Moodie’s┬áserve was broken at exactly the same stage in the second set as Bhupathi and Mirnyi quickly assumed a commanding 5-3 lead. The Indian-Belarussian duo earned two match points in the ninth game after a superb backhand winner off a smash by Bhupathi. They failed to convert those opportunities, but made no mistake as Mirnyi served out victory in the following game after 78 minutes.

ÔÇ£It is nice being in the semi-finals,ÔÇØ said Bhupathi. ÔÇ£Going into the match it was a must-win situation for us, so we were glad to get it done. We played pretty well, very solid. I thought we served really well and happy that we won.

ÔÇ£The pressure goes both ways, for them and us, but definitely when we got the early break to go up 2-1 that eased the tension. Moodie and Norman are always a very dangerous team with the way they serve, but happy that we got through.ÔÇØ