Bopanna-Mirnyi in St Petersbug Open semis

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St Petersburg, Russia, Oct 25 (UNI) In a thrilling battle of nerves and stamina, India's Rohan Bopanna and partner Max Mirnyi fended off strong opposition from the formidable local duo of Igor Kunitsyn and Marat Safin to advance to the semifinals of the 1,049,000 dollar St Petersbug Open here.

In the quarter-finals yesterday, the Indo-Belarussian pair saved four nerve-wracking match points in the final set, to win 6-4, 3-6, 13-11.

The unseeded combination of Bopanna and Mirnyi started on a bright note, converting one of the four break points that came their way and saved the only break point they faced to take the first set.

The Russians came back strongly to force two break points in the second set and level the scores.

However, Bopanna-Mirnyi came good in the decisive third set to emerge victorious.

They will now face Michal Mertinak of Slovakia and Croatia's Lovic Zovko for a place in the final.

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