Toronto's Daniel Nestor missed his chance to play in a fifth Australian Open men's doubles final as he and Belarusian partner Max Mirnyi lost their Thursday semifinal to Indian duo Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 6-3.
Nestor, 38, playing his first Grand Slam with Mirnyi, was broken in the final set as the third-seeded Indian Express, which plays together only in Davis Cup ties and the occasional major, took a 4-2 lead on a winner past Nestor.
After taking the next game, Nestor and Mirnyi went up 30-0 in the ninth game of the set, and the second seeds looked like they would be able to break Bhupathi and get back in the match. But Bhupathi saved a pair of break points with a service winner and an ace.
At match point, Bhupathi fired a slicing shot to seal the victory in two hours 20 minutes.
The winners will play for the title Saturday against American top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan, who defeated American Eric Butorac and Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands Antilles, 6-3, 6-2.
Nestor won the Australian doubles title in 2002 with Bahamian Mark Knowles. He played in the finals in 2010 (with Serbian Nenad Zimonjic), 2003 (Knowles) and 1995 (Knowles).
Nestor and Mirnyi ended with four aces, losing serve three times in the hard-fought contest.
Later on Thursday, Nestor and mixed doubles partner Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia played Anastasia Rodionova and Bhupathi in a quarter-final match.