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Mahesh-Max in easier group

Calcutta, Nov. 8: Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi find themselves in the easier group at the season-ending Masters Doubles championship.

As per the draw conducted in Houston on Friday, the second-seeded Bhupathi and Mirnyi have been clubbed with Mark Knowles-Daniel Nestor (No. 4), Wayne Arthurs-Paul Hanley (5) and Gaston Etlis-Martin Rodriguez (8).

The other group is made up of Mike and Bob Bryan (1), Jonas Bjorkman-Todd Woodbridge (3), Mikael Llodra-Fabrice Santoro (6) and Martin Damm-Cyril Suk (7). The top two teams from each group will qualify for the semis.

Bhupathi and Mirnyi kick off against the lowest-rated Argentine pair of Etlis and Rodriguez, who replaced Leander Paes and David Rikl in the eight-team field.

The year-ending No. 1 team ranking is at stake, with Bhupathi-Mirnyi in hot pursuit of the Bryan twins. The Indo-Belarussian pair has 878 points, just 24 less than the American duo.

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