Toronto’s Daniel Nestor and Belarusian partner Max Mirnyi stayed in contention for a semi-final place at the ATP finals on Wednesday despite losing in group play to Wimbledon winners Jonathan Marray and Frederik Nielsen.
The British-Danish combination of Marray and Nielsen beat the second-seeded combination of Nestor and Mirnyi 7-6 (3), 4-6, 12-10 in a match that took one hour 40 minutes.
Nestor and Mirnyi, who won the title undefeated in 2011 during their first season together, are still in the chase to reach the deciding stage of the year-end classic after winning their opening match.
Nestor’s team dropped a tight opening set, coming back from a break down to send the set to a tiebreaker. Marray and Nielsen came through in the opener after 49 minutes on the first of three set points with an ace.
Nestor and Mirnyi, the reigning French Open winners, levelled by winning the second. They broke Nielsen on a double-fault for a 3-1 lead.
The final set evolved into a match tiebreak with Nestor and Mirnyi recovering from 3-5 down and saving a match point in the closing stages. But a point later, the evening was over as the home favourites scored the win.
“It was tight all through,” Nestor said. “Those guys just got a few more points at the right time.
“We’re still in their fighting. There is another match to play here.”
Nestor, 40, has played on a championship team at four of the last five editions of the season wrapup. He and Mirnyi will split up next season, with the Canadian teaming with India’s Mahesh Bhupathi.
Marray and Nielsen reached the first of the semifinal spots through their victory Wednesday that took one hour 40 minutes.