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CTL: US Open champion Flavia Pennetta is now a 'Mumbaikar'

Reigning US Open champion Pennetta all set to play for Farhan Akhtar co-owned Mumbai Masters in the second season of Champions Tennis League

Reigning US Open champion Flavia Pennetta and US Open doubles and mixed doubles champion Martina Hingis will be among the top tennis players who will be seen in the upcoming edition of the Champions Tennis League (CTL), which begins on November 23.

Flavia Pennetta during the US Open recently. Pic/AFP
Flavia Pennetta during the US Open recently. Pic/AFP 

Pennetta, who retired after winning the US Open earlier this month, was picked by the Mumbai franchise (Mumbai Masters), which is co-owned by Bollywood star Farhan Akhtar, in the CTL draft yesterday. She will team up with Richard Krajicek, Andreas Seppi and India's Sriram Balaji in the 14-day tournament.

Meanwhile, Hingis, who partnered India's Leander Paes to the US Open mixed doubles title and Sania Mirza to the women's doubles crown, was retained by the Hyderabad franchise (Hyderabad Aces), which also picked Johansson, Ivo Karlovic and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan Punjab Marshalls, the third team from the first edition to be part of this season too, picked up Greg Rusedski, Marcos Baghdatis, Elina Svitolina, Saket Myneni.

New teams in fray
Vijay Amritraj, the brain behind the CTL, also announced that there would be three new franchises this season. While Raipur and Nagpur had been confirmed, consortiums from Chennai, Bangalore and Pune were in talks for the sixth franchise.

Vijay Amritraj announces plans for the next season of CTL yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble
Vijay Amritraj announces plans for the next season of CTL yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble 

While the Raipur outfit picked up Thomas Muster, Kevin Anderson, Alize Cornet and Ramkumar Ramanathan, Nagpur bought Alex Corretja, Feliciano Lopez, Jelena Jankovic and Divij Sharan. The sixth franchise, represented by a former player in yesterday's draft, will inherit Rainer Schuettler, Fernando Verdasco, Heather Watson and Vishnu Vardhan.

Pennetta and Hingis are expected to attract the most attention in the upcoming tournament due to their exploits in New York. "A lot of the players actually called their agents to get them to ask us if they could come and play in the CTL again this season. Accessing the players was a little easier this year.

"We got Flavia to sign up with us before her US Open triumph. Some players you get at an early stage when the ranking is high and then they have a bad year, so the ranking drops. Or vice versa.
"The schedule has been more or less finalised and would be announced in four to five days," said Amritraj.

What's new?

This season, each tie will be played only for five games with the tie-breaker at 4-4. Instead of there being two matches in a day, there will be just one match which, like last year, will be decided on the basis of the number of games won in a tie.

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