There will be no second London title for Wimbledon champions Jonny Marray and Freddie Nielsen after they went out in the semi-finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals yesterday evening.
It was a major achievement for the Anglo-Danish pair, who play together infrequently, just to make it to the last four in a field containing the world’s best doubles teams.
And it might have been different at the O2 Arena had they taken their chances against Spanish duo Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez, who ran out 6-4 6-3 winners.
Granollers and Lopez made the better start and broke the Dane’s serve in the third game and, despite seven break points, Sheffield’s Marray and Denmark’s Nielsen could not claw back the deficit.
The Spaniards, who will represent their country in next weekend’s Davis Cup final against the Czech Republic, made inroads again in the fifth game of the second set but this time Marray and Nielsen did hit back, finally breaking at the ninth attempt.
Granollers and Lopez made it three breaks in a row, though, before clinching victory on their second match point despite winning a point less than their opponents over the match as a whole.
The Spanish duo now go forward to tonight’s final, where they will meet Indian pair Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna, while for Marray and Nielsen there is the not inconsiderable consolation of more then £72,000 in prize money each.
This could turn out to be their final match together, with Nielsen preferring to concentrate on singles while Marray will resume his search for a new partner for 2013.
It has been a meteoric rise for the former All Saints School student Marray who still trains at Hallamshire Tennis Club in Ecclesall where his elder brother Dave is a leading coach into the upper echelons of the sport.
In the singles Andy Murray lost to Roger Federer in straight sets (7-6 (7/5) 6-2).
Federer will be aiming for a third consecutive title at the end-of-season tournament.
He’ll play world No1 Novak Djokovic who fought back from a set down against Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro to come through in three sets (4-6 6-3 6-2).
Bhupathi and Bopanna earned their place in the doubles final with a three set win (4-6 6-1 12-10) over Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek.