Paes-Damm duo seperates on a sad note, crashes out of Masters' semis

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Shanghai, Nov 17 (UNI) Tennis ace Leander Paes' quest for a third Masters doubles title reamained unfulfiled as he and his Czech partner Martin Damm were shown the door in the semi-final by the Swede-Austrian pair of Simon Aspelin and Julian Knowle.

The US Open champions today advanced to their first final since Flushing Meadows with an easy 6-4, 6-4 victory over veteran duo Paes and Damm, who played their final match together here.

The third seeded Swede-Austrian duo fought off all six break points they faced, and broke Paes twice -- first in the third game of the first set and then again in the seventh game of the second set -- to easily pocket the encounter and a final berth.

Earlier, the fourth seeded Indo-Czech duo's unbeaten run in the tournament came to a halt when they were thrashed in straight sets by the Aussie-Zimbabwean pair of Paul Hanley and Kevin Ullyett in their final Gold Group league match on Thrusday.

Interestingly, Paes and Damm, for the second consecutive time could not pass the last four hurdle here, losing to Jonas Bjorkman and Max Mirnyi last year. However, they stunned the Swedish-Belarussian pair in their opening match here this year.

In the final showdown of the season ending event, Aspelin-Knowle pair will face top seeds Mark Knowles of Bahamas and Daniel Nestor of Canada.

Unlike the other semi-final, Knowles-Nestor duo had to overcome a tough challenge from second seeds Paul Hanley of Australia and Kevin Ullyett of Zimbabwe. The top seeds defeated the Aussie-Zimbabwean combo in a match tie-breaker 6-3, 6-7, 10-5.


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