IPTL Round-up | Indian Aces beat Singapore Slammers to move three points clear at the top

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IPTL Round-up | Indian Aces beat Singapore Slammers to move three points clear at the top

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SportsCafe Desk

12/09/2016

Indian Aces, inspired by Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza, came from two games down to beat Singapore Slammers 23-22 in a clash that decided the IPTL table-toppers at the end of the Singapore leg. In the other match, Japan Warriors moved to third place with a 23-20 win over UAE Royals.

The top of the table clash began with the legends round between Spain’s Carlos Moya and Mark Philippoussis. The Spaniard broke the Australian in the opening game and went on to hold the advantage to win 6-4 to give the Slammers an early lead.

Up next was the women's singles, where Kiki Bertens took on Kirsten Flipkens, who had previously beaten the Dutch player in the Japan leg. This time around Bertens exacted her revenge by winning 6-1, with breaks in the fourth and sixth games.

Aces were trailing 12-5 when Mirza and Bopanna took the court with the Indians needing a big win to close the gap on Slammers, who sent in Marcelo Melo and Bertens. The Indian pair won 6-0 on the back of some brilliant serving by Bopanna to move within a point of the Slammers.

Melo stayed on court and was joined by Marcos Baghdatis for the men’s doubles round against Ivan Dodig and Feliciano Lopez. Slammers raced to a 3-0 lead but were pegged back to 4-3 after some great work by Dodig and Lopez, who emerged victorious in the shootout to level at 17-17.

The tie would be decided by a singles match between Lopez and Nick Kyrgios, with the winner giving their team a three-point lead in the standings. Lopez got off to a flier, breaking the Slammers' player early on to take a 2-0 lead. The Australian, however, won the next two games to draw level.

After holding serves over the next four games, it was Kyrgios who took the advantage by breaking Lopez to move 5-4. But Lopez was not ready to give up without a fight as he broke back to take the game into the shootout. Lopez closed out the match 23-22.

Warriors leap-frog Royals to go third

Earlier, Pablo Cuevas and Fernando Verdasco kicked off the proceedings on the final day of the Singapore leg of the tournament. Verdasco raced to a 3-0 lead before Cuevas pulled a game back for the scoreboard to read 3-1. The Spaniard went on to win the game 6-2 for the Warriors.

The duo were joined by Daniel Nestor and Jean-Julien Rojer for the men's doubles. Warriors took a 3-2 lead by breaking the Royals duo in the fifth game, but three games later were broken back as the scoreboard read 4-4. In the shootout  Cuevas-Nestor emerged victorious to take the score to 11-8.

Nestor was then joined by the experienced Martina Hingis as the pair took on the team of Rojer and Jelena Jankovic in the mixed doubles round. The former showed their experience to clear out the game 6-1 as the Royals took a 14-12 lead for the first time in the match.

The next match between Ana Ivanovic and Kurumi Nara proved to be the turning point as not only did the latter win the game, she won it 6-0 to give the Warriors a four-point lead going into the final round, which meant that Goran Ivanisevic had to beat Marat Safin by a score of 6-1 to secure victory for his team.

Ivanisevic  broke Safin in the fourth game to take a 2-1 lead. However, Safin broke back immediately to level the set and end Royals’ chances of winning the game. Ivanisevic won 6-5, but Safin and Co. sealed the match by three points to go into the Indian leg just a point off Slammers.

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