UAE Royals continued their impressive start to the second season of International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) with a lopsided 30-15 win over Japan Warriors at the Kobe Stadium in Japan on Thursday.
Indian tennis ace Leander Paes partnered Maria Sharapova to take on the Royals' team of Kristina Mladenovic and Daniel Nestor in the opening tie of the game. The Warriors, however, got off to a poor start as Paes and Sharapova struggled to work as a unit and lost the tie 0-6.
Ana Ivanovic extended the Royals' lead to 12-4 with a convincing 6-4 win over Sharapova in the women's singles tie.
In the legend's tie, Marat Safin faced his old nemesis Goran Ivanisevic. The Russian star struggled to find his feet in their last game against the Indian Aces, when Fabrice Santoro managed a comfortable win over him. Safin looked more like his former self in this tie - in the opening three games.
Safin broke his opponent's serve and raced to a 3-0 lead, but things turned around drastically after that. Ivanisevic fought back brilliantly and found his rhythm, and his booming forehand, to turn the tie around and win 6-4.
Paes made his second appearance of the match in the men's doubles tie. He partnered Pierre-Hugues Herbert to take on the Royals' team of Tomas Berdych and Daniel Nestor. After making an impressive start, where Herbert produced some brilliant returns of serve and eye-catching volleying on his serve, the Indo-French pair failed to maintain their grip over the tie and lost it 4-6 in the end.
With the Royals leading the match 24-12, the last tie between Warriors' Philipp Kohlschreiber and Royals' Tomas Berdych was rendered inconsequential, which the latter won 6-3.