Singapore: Indian Aces suffered their second successive loss in the inaugural International Premier Tennis League as they went down fighting 20-25 to Manila Mavericks in the last match of the Singapore leg, here yesterday.
Manila Mavericks' Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in action yesterday
In an encounter that saw the lead change hands three times in the first three sets, Manila rode on the victories of Philippoussis in Legend's singles, Daniel Nestor and Kirsten Flipkens in mixed doubles and Treat Huey and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in men's doubles. The victory came as a big boost for the Mavericks as they are now just three points adrift of the Aces, closing the gap on the initial runaway leaders.
It was Australian Mark Philippoussis, who started the proceedings for Manila as he continued his unbeaten streak with a convincing 6-4 opening match win over Cedric Pioline, who had replaced his French country man Fabrice Santoro. World No. 5 Ana Ivanovic then brought the Aces back into the contest with a comprehensive 6-2 win over Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium.
A lot was expected from Indian pair of Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza but the duo found the going tough for the first time in the league, going down 2-6 to Nestor and Flipkens, who are beginning to find their feet as mixed doubles partners. Bopanna then paired up with Gael Monfils of France for the men's doubles match but the duo failed to get it across Treat Huey and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who showed that they're a force to be reckoned with.
Re-igniting the form they showed in Manila, Huey and Tsonga thumped a highly entertaining Bopanna and Monfils 6-2. The final set saw the battle of the Frenchmen, as Monfils showed true athleticism to outplay Tsonga 6-5, taking the team total to 20 and earning them much-needed 2 points.
After his match, Phillippoussis said: "I served three double faults in the first game, it's tough. I found myself starting on the back foot. It's Cedric's first time here so it was tough for him to get his timing, I'm just happy to get a good start for the team." The action will now shift to India as the Aces head to their home city of Delhi tonight.