British pair Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski’s bid to claim the last spot at next week’s ATP Finals has been ended by a victory for their nearest rivals.
Murray and Skupski reached the Sofia Open final, but knew it would not be enough to qualify for the season-ending event if Jurgen Melzer and Edouard Roger-Vasselin won their semi-final.
Melzer and Roger-Vasselin secured their place at the O2 Arena in London by beating Marin Cilic and Tomislav Brkic.
They won 7-5 6-4 in Bulgaria on Friday.
If Melzer and Roger-Vasselin had lost, Murray, 34, and 30-year-old Skupski would have had to beat Cilic and Brkic to secure their spot at the O2 – for the first time as a pair.
Instead, the Britons will aim to avenge the disappointment of not qualifying by beating Austria’s Melzer and Frenchman Roger-Vasselin in Saturday’s final.
Doubles player Joe Salisbury is the only Briton to have qualified for the ATP Finals, which is being held in London for the final time before it moves to Turin in Italy from 2022.
However, Murray and Skupski could yet join him there as alternates if any of the eight pairings withdraw.