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Rediff.com  » Sports » Bhupathi-Knowles in Miami final

Bhupathi-Knowles in Miami final

April 04, 2008 10:41 IST

Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles saved three match-points en route to a thrilling victory over Martin Damm and Pavel Vizner that set them up against top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan in the final of the US $377,0000 Sony Ericsson Open in Miami.

Bhupathi and Knowles beat their sixth seeded Czech opponents 7-6(5), 4-6, 11-9 to secure their fourth consecutive match tie-break victory.

The Indo-Bahamas pair saved three match-points in the match tie-break.

The fourth seeds trailed 6-9 before reeling off five straight points to win the one hour 50 minute battle.

They will face off against defending champions the Bryan brothers after the Americans eased into their third straight Miami final with a 6-1, 6-4 win over unseeded South Africans Jeff Coetzee and Wesley Moodie.

In a nerve wracking contest, both teams exchanged breaks in the opening set before Bhupathi and Knowles won the tie-break 7-5.

Damm and Vizner came back strongly in the second set and broke for a 4-2 lead but lost serve in the ninth game when Damm was broken.

But the Czechs broke back to level the match.

In a see-saw match tie-break, Bhupathi and Knowles led 4-3 before falling behind 6-9.

However, Damm and Vizner messed up their chances by losing two points on their own serve. Bhupathi and Knowles then held both serves before clinching victory on the 20th point of the match tie-break.

Knowles, who enters his fourth Miami final with a 38-14 career mark at the tournament, won the title in 2002 with Canadian Daniel Nestor and reached final in 1994 and '97.

Bhupathi has never advanced past the quarter-finals in eight previous appearances.

Knowles is attempting to become the 20th player in the Open era to win 50 career doubles titles while Bhupathi is trying to win his 44th career title.

The Bryans, on the other hand, will be pursuing their first title of the 2008 season after runner-up finishes at Sydney, San Jose, Las Vegas and Delray Beach.

Bhupathi and Knowles, who have won 14 of the last 15 matches, won back-to-back titles in Memphis and Dubai without dropping a set before their 10-match winning streak ended in the quarter-finals at Indian Wells to eventual champions Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram.