Rohan Bopanna (R) and Mahesh Bhupathi (L) celebrate beating Canada's Daniel Nestor and his partner Belarus's Max Mirnyi in their group B doubles match against in the round robin stage on the five day of the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament in London. AFP photo
Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna clinched their place in the semi-finals of the ATP Tour Finals after winning their Group B shootout with second seeds Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor on Friday.
With Jonathan Marray and Freddie Nielsen already certain of making the semi-finals from Group B, this clash would decide who qualified in second place and the Indian duo produced a superb performance to win 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (5/7), 10/5 at London's O2 Arena.
The two teams had faced off four times this year, with two wins apiece, but Bhupathi and Bopanna won their last meeting in Shanghai and they had the edge again in the prestigious season-ending event.
Bhupahti and Bopanna made the perfect start as they took the first set in a tie-break, but an epic second set lasting 56 minutes went to Belarus's Mirnyi and Canada's Nestor after another tie-break.
That meant a super tie-break was required to settle the match and Bhupathi and Bopanna seized control, racing into a 9-4 lead before sealing the win on their second match point.
The Indian pair, seeded fifth, were making their first appearance together at the Tour Finals, although Bhupathi had qualified on 11 previous occasions with three different partners and finished as runner-up four times.
Djokovic subdues Berdych
Novak Djokovic advanced to the semi-finals of the ATP Tour Finals with a 100% record as the world number one defeated Czech fifth seed Tomas Berdych 6-2, 7-6 (8/6) at London's O2 Arena on Friday.
Djokovic had already defeated Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in his previous Group A matches and the Serb knew he needed only to win one set against Berdych to be sure of qualifying.
The 25-year-old achieved that goal in just over half an hour, but he refused to take it easy after that and secured the victory which guaranteed first place in the group and potentially an easier route to the final.
In the process, Djokovic also secured his 73rd match win of 2012, moving him level with David Ferrer as the year's two most successful players on the Tour.