Hyderabad: Impressive wins by world number six Agnieszka Radwanska and seasoned Marcos Baghdatis paved the way for Pune Marathas's close 26-25 victory over Hyderabad Aces in the Champions Tennis League (CTL) at the L B Stadium here tonight.
In a format where the final result is decided on the basis of aggregate score of the five-match tie, Pune bagged 26 points while Hyderabad obtained 25. The five matches are in the category of Legends (singles), Mixed Doubles, Women's Singles, Men's Doubles and Men's Singles.
The highlight of the day was the singles clash between Hyderabad's Martina Hingis and Pune's Radwanska, who is currently ranked sixth in the world. In a keen battle, the two star players tried to outsmart each other, regaling the spectators with their powerful shots and long rallies.
The young Polish player grabbed an early 3-0 lead but Hingis, a top player in the past, fought back to make the score 4-2 as the strong Hyderabad crowd cheered her on.
The agile Radwanska, however, managed to maintain her lead and finally beat her formidable rival by a 6-3 margin.
Former Australian player Mark Phillippoussis gave an early lead to Hyderabad Aces with a 6-3 win over compatriot and veteran Pat Cash of Pune Marathas in the first (Legends category) of the five matches.
It was a clash of the teacher versus student as Phillippoussis was once coached by Cash and the former managed to snatch a win. Cash (49), who was Wimbledon champion in 1987 and won six titles in his illustrious career, appeared to have an edge initially with a score of 3-2.
However, Phillippoussis, who was known to have one of the fastest serves in the game, fought back to gain the lead. The lead only grew as the match progressed and Phillippoussis had a convincing 6-3 win.
The second match, in mixed doubles category, between Mikhail Youzhny and Martina Hingis of Hyderabad and Marcos Baghdatis and Agnieszka Radwanska of Pune was an interesting affair with both sides leaving no stone unturned to grab the opportunity.
The hosts, however, had the last laugh winning the match 6-5. The men's doubles match between Youzhny and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan of Hyderabad and Pune's Baghdatis and Saketh Myneni went in favour of Pune 6-5.
The match was closely fought with India's young players Myneni, who won the gold in Incheon Asian Games, and Nedunchezhiyan coming up with an impressive performance for their respective teams. With the scores on par at 20 after the completion of four of the five matches, the last match (men's singles) between Youzhny and Baghdatis was the decider.
The match was another close contest with Youzhny, currently ranked 47, and Baghdatis (ranked 89) sweating it out. Baghdatis claimed the match 6-5 to make Pune emerge victorious.
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