Ram/Mirnyi edged in London, can still advance

Ram/Mirnyi edged in Lond

tennis atp finals 248.88 AP (photo credit: )
tennis atp finals 248.88 AP
(photo credit: )
Despite squandering three match points in their second round robin match of the ATP World Tour Finals on Wednesday, Andy Ram and Max Mirnyi still have their fate in their own hands. Ram and Mirnyi lost 4-6, 6-4, 16-14 to Lukasz Kubot and Oliver Marach at the O2 Arena in London, England, but will advance to the semifinals should they claim a straight sets victory over Lukas Dlouhy and Leander Paes in their final group match on Friday. Any other result will mean the Israeli/Belarusian duo's hopes of finishing in the top two in Group B will depend on the outcome of Friday's other doubles match between Bob and Mike Bryan and Kubot and Marach.  "That's what happens with the new system, with the scoring," said Ram after he and Mirnyi failed to convert match points when leading 9-8, 11-10 and 13-12 in the match tiebreaker. "It's exciting for everybody. It can go both ways. We had our chances. Today, unfortunately it went to Kubot-Marach. These kinds of matches, it's so close, it's exciting. " After the first nine games of the match went with serve, the Israeli/Belarusian duo broke in the 10th game and took the first set thanks to an excellent Ram return. Ram and Mirnyi were broken in the third game of the second set and Kubot and Marach tied the match by holding serve for the remainder of the set. Both teams squandered three match points in the decisive tiebreak, but Kubot and Marach clinched the victory with their fourth opportunity and sent Ram and Mirnyi to a heartbreaking defeat. "Perhaps the nerves factored in the outcome," said Mirnyi. "We made more errors than they did in those crucial moments. That's why they won." Meanwhile, Robin Soderling advanced to the semifinals of the World Tour Finals by defeating Novak Djokovic 7-6 (5), 6-1 Wednesday for his second straight win at the season-ending tournament. The Swede outlasted Djokovic in a tense opening set despite wasting three straight set points with the third-ranked Serb serving at 5-4. Djokovic put up little resistance in the second and was broken three straight times, netting a forehand on Soderling's second match point. "I won two matches in straight sets against the world No. 2 and No. 3. I couldn't have asked for anything more," Soderling said. "But there's still at least two more matches to go." Soderling entered the tournament as an alternate after Andy Roddick pulled out with a knee injury. He also beat second-ranked Rafael Nadal in straight sets Monday in a rematch of their French Open encounter. He is the first player to reach the semifinals at the tournament for the top eight players in the world. The loss ended Djokovic's 11-match winning streak, his first defeat against Soderling in six meetings. "I think he's the best player so far in the tournament," Djokovic said. "He was serving really well. All credit to him." Djokovic, who won back-to-back titles in Basel, Switzerland, and Paris before the tournament, defeated Nikolay Davydenko in his first group match. He can still advance to the semifinals, but likely will need to beat Nadal in his last round-robin match. Nadal played Davydenko later Wednesday. AP contributed to this report.