Manila: Micromax Indian Aces registered their third successive victory in the International Tennis Premier League (IPTL), defeating UAE Royals 28-20 at the Mall of Asia Arena yesterday.
UAE coach John Laffnie de Jager won the toss and elected to receive and in the first encounter, Kristina Mladenovic beat Aces’ Ana Ivanovic 6-4. Ivanovic gave a spirited display despite being down 1-5.
Gael Monfils of the Indian Aces returns to Marin Cilic of the UAE Royals during their singles match of the IPTL in Manila yesterday. pic/AFP
Experienced mixed doubles pair Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna notched a 6-3 win in the second set over Mladenovic and Nenad Zimonjic to equalise for the Aces.
Later, Bopanna partnered with Gael Monfils to victory over Zimonjic and Marin Cilic 6-4 in the men’s doubles third set. This win gave the Aces a 2-1 lead, which increased to 3-1 following Monfils’ 6-3 win over Malek Jaziri, who replaced injured Marin Cilic.
“I love this format. This suits me well. I love the team atmosphere. We had fun out there. Actually we’re good friends — Ana, Sania — we grew up together. It’s a good competition because we are having fun,” Monfils said.
In the fifth and final set, Aces’ coach-cum-player Fabrice Santoro defeated the big-serving Goran Ivanisevic 6-4 to win the past champions’ tie.
Manila: Maria Sharapova mocked the inaugural International Premier Tennis League’s beeping shot-clock, designed to speed up the game.
The World No 2 likened the 20-second clock, which beeps loudly when players take too long winding up with their serve, to a bedside alarm clock. “I feel like pressing ‘snooze’ all the time,” said the Russian five-time Grand Slam singles winner who ended her two-day stint in Manila on a losing note, both in the women’s singles and in mixed doubles.