Calcutta, May 10: Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi lost 6-7, 3-6 to Australians Wayne Arthurs and Paul Hanley in the semi-finals of the Rome Masters Series Saturday. It was the first defeat for the India-Belarus duo after a winning run of ten matches.
According to information received here, the second-seeded Indo-Belarussian pair had beaten eighth seeds Joshua Eagle and Jared Palmer 6-1, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4 in the quarter finals.
That was Bhupathi and Mirnyi’s tenth win on the trot. They won back-to-back titles in Estoril and Monte Carlo last month before pulling out of the Barcelona meet following Mirnyi’s illness.
The combined forces of fourth seed Roger Federer and an Italian prankster proved too much for Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero, who retired from his semi-final Saturday when trailing 2-6, 2-4, adds Reuters.
Federer will meet Felix Mantilla who outlasted Yevgeny Kafelnikov 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4.
No. 2 seed Ferrero was serving to make it 3-3 in set 2 when Federer approached the umpire to question a late line call. That proved the cue for Gabriele Paolini to leap from his seat at the side of the court and throw condoms at the players.
Paolini has disrupted other events also to publicise use of condoms after a friend died of AIDS. After several minutes security guards led Paolini from the court, but Ferrero’s concentration was broken and Federer broke for a 4-2 lead. In the following game Ferrero threw in the towel.