Leander Paes and his Czech teammate Martin Damm booked their semifinal berth with a hard-fought win but fellow Indian Mahesh Bhupathi and his French comrade-in-arms Fabrice Santoro crashed out of the Sydney International after losing their quarterfinal match in straight sets on Wednesday.
Third seeded pair of Paul Hanley and Kevin Ullyett quelled a late challenge from Bhupathi and Santoro to oust them 6-1, 7-6(6), while fourth seeds Paes and Damm downed the gritty pair of Ashley Fisher (Australia) and Tripp Phillip (US) 6-2, 5-7, 10-5 after toiling for one hour and 32 minutes in the middle.
In the semifinals, Paes and Damm would meet Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor, who are chasing their 38th team title after storming into the semifinal with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Americans Paul Goldstein and Jim Thomas.
In the other semifinal, Hanley and Ullyett would meet the Polish duo of Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski also reached the last four stage after a tough 6-7(5), 6-2, 11-9 win over Frenchmen Michael Llodra and Arnaud Clement.
Paes and Damm began well, breaking their opponents twice, also squandering four break points, before winning the first set.
The Fisher-Phillips pair, however, refused to give in and stepped on gas in the next set. They exchanged a service break with their opponent and then went on to convert another break point and snatch the set to stay afloat.
In the decider, Paes and Damm staved off the resistance from their opponents and never lowerd guard to walk away with the set and the match in the 436,000 dollar event.
Earlier against the Hanley-Ullyett pair, Bhupathi and Santoro began on a disastrous note and could win just one game in the lop-sided first set.
Sensing danger, Bhupathi and Santoro raised their game in the next set and managed to stretch it to tie-breaker. Hanley and Ullyett held their nerves and showed better coordination to win it to seal the match in one hour and 23 minutes.