Britain's Ross Hutchins and his Taiwanese partner, Yung-Jan Chan, saw their run to the semi-finals of the US Open mixed doubles end in disappointment when they were beaten 7-5, 4-6, 10-7 by the top seeds, Brazil's Bruno Soares and India's Sania Mirza.
It was a match that Hutchins and Chan let slip from their grasp. They led 5-0 in the first set and had four set points when Chan served at 5-1, but then lost seven games in a row.
Even after that setback Chan and Hutchins had plenty of chances to rescue the set. Hutchins in particular might look back on the game when he dropped serve at 5-3 after making two double faults. At 5-5 Chan dropped her serve after leading 40-15 and in the following game Mirza recovered from 0-40 down to take the set.
However, the Briton and the Taiwanese fought back well in the second set. They broke Mirza to love to go 3-1 up and recovered from the setback of Hutchins dropping serve when they led 5-3. In the following game they broke serve to level the match, Chan winning the last two points with a splendid lob and then a smart volley.
Hutchins, however, served a double fault on the first point of the deciding champions' tie-break and Mirza and Soares were soon 5-0 up. Hutchins and Chan reduced the arrears to 6-5, but Chan's double fault then handed back the initiative to their opponents, who went on to win the tie-break 10-7.
“It was a strange match,” Hutchins said afterwards. “I don't think I've ever played a match like that where you're playing that well and are in such control to then being such a role reversal. We were 5-1 and 40-0 up, but I thought they then played some very good points and I didn't make the reflexes that I probably should have done.
“Then they just got a bit of momentum. That's what happens in sport. That's what happens with good teams. We played well in the second set. Starting with a double [in the champions' tie-break] was poor. That was a bad start, especially as it was to Sania. My serve was normally very dominant over her return. We got back into it, but it was not to be.”
Nevertheless, it was a tournament to remember for Hutchins and Chan, who beat Daniel Nestor and Kristina Mladenovic, the No 4 seeds, in the first round. They went on to beat the Americans Rajeev Ram and Melanie Oudin in the second round and the experienced Marcin Matkowski and Kveta Peschke in the quarter-finals. In the final Mirza and Soares will meet Abigail Spears, of the United States, and Santiago Gonzalez, of Mexico.