The Indian pair of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi bowed out of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals after losing to eighth-seeded Poles Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski via the super tie-break in the semi-finals in London on Saturday.
Fyrstenberg and Matkowski needed an hour and 39 minutes to prevail over the fourth seeds and three-time former finalists 6-4, 4-6, 10-6 and reach their 31st tour-level doubles final.
In the final, the Poles will meet third seeds Max Mirnyi of Belarus and Canadian Daniel Nestor, who beat top seeds and three-time former champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan 7-6(6), 6-4.
Both teams gave little away until the 10th game of the first set, when Bhupathi, serving at 4-5, fell to 30-40. He saved the set point by dashing for a backhand volley winner that pierced the 'Polish Power' down the middle.
However, Matkowski forced Bhupathi into a forced volley error at sudden death deuce to clinch the first set 6-4 after 39 minutes of play.
Fyrstenberg and Matkowski won all 11 of their first service points and 20 of 27 overall.
In the second set, Paes found himself at 15-40 in game two. The Indians remained in control of the point until Fyrstenberg changed the pace of the rally by hitting a lob down the line. It caught Paes off guard. Scrambling back to the baseline, he hit a short lob that Fyrstenberg smashed away for a 2-0 lead.
Bhupathi and Paes responded immediately by winning three straights games, including a sudden death deuce point at 2-2, 30/40, when Matkowski hit the Poles third double fault of the match.
Two more service breaks were exchanged midway through the set - both decided on sudden-death points - before Bhupathi and Paes broke decisively at 4-4, when Bhupathi hit a low return to the feet of a net-rushing Matkowski, only for Paes to poach a forehand volley that gave Fyrstenberg no chance of keeping the rally alive.
Paes closed out the 46-minute set with a hold to 15.
Bhupathi and Paes looked to be in control at 3-0 lead in the match tie-break, but the Poles took their chances on return of serve to win nine of the next 11 points.
At 5-5, Paes mistimed a forehand volley off Bhupathi's serve, giving Fyrstenberg an easy forehand into space. Fyrstenberg took advantage of the lapse in concentration with two quick service points. The Poles ended up winning one point fewer (64) than the Indians (65) overall.
Earlier in the day, Nestor and Zimonjic defeated the Bryans, Mike and Bob 7-6(6), 6-4.