Mahesh Bhupathi and his partner Mark Knowles of The Bahamas squandered a match point en route to an agonising three-set loss to top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan in the semi-finals of the ATP Cincinnati Masters.
The fourth seeded Indo-Bahamian pair went down 4-6, 7-6 (7), 10-8 to the American brothers, who booked their third successive final berth in the US $ 2,615,000 event.
In a stunning reversal of fortunes, the Bryans, who were on the brink of elimination as Knowles served for the match at 5-4 in the second set, staged a brilliant comeback.
In contrast, Bhupathi and Knowles messed it up after starting confidently. The fourth seeds had a match point at 6-5 in the second set tie-break before Bob fired a 135 mph service winner.
The Bryans won four of the last five points to level the match at one set all.
In the super tie-break, the Bryans reeled off six straight points to take a 6-1 advantage. Mike Bryan hit a cross-court forehand winner to give the Americans a 3-1 lead and at the end of the point he crashed into a court-side water cooler.
Ice and water poured out near the Bryans' chairs, causing a short delay. After the break, the Americans won the next point on Knowles' serve to take control.
Bhupathi and Knowles trailed 9-6 before holding their two serves. Bob Bryan hit a 138 mph serve and the return went to Mike Bryan, who ended the match with a cross-court forehand volley winner.
The Bryans had earlier captured the title in 2003 and were finalists the last two years. They will face the winner of the match between second seeds Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic and defending champions Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram in the final.