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Mahesh-Max in last four

Calcutta: Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi have carried their title-winning form at the Estoril Open to the $2.95 million Monte Carlo Masters Series meet.

The third seeds stormed into the semi-finals with two contrasting wins, according to information received here. They overcame Czechs Jiri Novak and Radek Stepanek 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 Wednesday. In the quarter finals, the Indo-Belarussian duo routed seventh seeds Paul Haarhuis and Yevgeny Kafelnikov 6-2, 6-1.

Leander Paes and David Rikl, though, were off to a dismal start in the claycourt season. The No. 5 seeds lost 3-6, 1-6 to French pair Fabrice Santoro and Michael Llodra.

Norman bows out

Reuters adds from Monaco: Magnus Norman was unable to produce the magic which saw off Gustavo Kuerten as he bowed out of the Monte Carlo meet, Italian Filippo Volandri scoring a 7-5, 6-3 winto reach the quarters.

Sweden’s Norman had recovered from 1-6, 2-5 down to dismiss former champion Kuerten on Wednesday but ran out of steam against a determined opponent who had proved too strong for Argentine sixth seed David Nalbandian in the previous round.

Also advancing to the last eight was Alberto Martin, who edged fellow Spaniard Fernando Vicente 6-4, 7-6 (7-5).

Volandri swept into an early 5-1 lead but Norman pulled it back to 5-5 only to concede his service to love and fall a set behind after 40 minutes.

The Swede then came back from 1-3 to 3-3 in the second set but found Volandri firing every effort back with interest as the Italian cranked up the rhythm.

Volandri could even afford to squander two match points before a crunching forehand set up a third opportunity.

Volandri, clad Lleyton Hewitt-style in a baseball cap worn back to front, accepted that one when Norman netted a forehand.

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