Kobe (Japan): UAE Royals notched up their second consecutive win with a comprehensive victory over home team Japan Warriors on the second day of the International Premier League Tennis here yesterday.
The Warriors failed to cash in on the huge home crowd support as the Royals emerged 30-15 victorious. The home team not win a single set as the Royals bagged all five of them. The pair of Kristina Mlaenovic/Daniel Nestor put the Royals ahead with a 6-0 win over the Warriors duo of Maria Sharapova and Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the mixed doubles.
Leander Paes was substituted in by the team in place of Herbert, but it was too late by then. The women's singles saw Ana Ivanovic taking on Sharapova and the crowd witnessed some sizzling tennis with both women fighting it off stroke for stroke. Ultimately, Ivanovic took the set 6-4 giving the Royals a huge lead on the scoreboard.
The legends singles took audiences back a decade or more, with big boys Marat Safin and Goran Ivanisevic pitted against each other. Goran's quick-footed and quick-witted tennis won it for the Royals 6-4. The men's doubles with Paes/Herbert brought some much-needed cheer to home fans. There was brilliant stroke
play and clever shot making by Paes on the nets, but Nestor/Berdych won the set 6-4.
In the closing match of the day, Berdych and Philipp Kohlschreiber were pitted in the men's singles rubber. Berdych won the set 6-3, closing out the match with his side winning by a huge margin. Talking about the IPTL, Sharapova later said, "I think the IPTL is wonderful. Last time it was my first time in Manila, this time, it's my first time in Kobe and I really like that. Playing on the tour, we keep going to the same places all the time, and going to new places is what motivates me, makes me feel good, I like the energy. Next year, it could be another new city."
Safin said, "The IPTL is a great concept. The players are having fun, the fans are enjoying it. Who knows, in the coming years, this could grow bigger and bigger and then, countries would have their own teams to play in the IPTL, more like the World Championships." "It is my first time, so it's a bit complicated for me.
It's a different feeling to get used to, and then the shot clock and the power point got to my head. But I will be more prepared for the next game." Singapore Slammers beat Philippine Mavericks Singapore Slammers defeated Philippine Mavericks 26-24 in an evenly-contested match of the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) here yesterday.
Mavericks won the men's doubles and men's legends singles rubber but the Slammers clinched the women's singles, mixed doubles and the men's singles games to come out trumps in the tie. Mavericks' team bench featured Serena Williams and Milos Raonic joining Mark Philippoussis, Richard Gasquet, Edouard Roger-Vasselin, Treat Huey, Ajla Tomljanovic and Jarmila Gajdosova.
Serena ended up on the losing side today, going down 4-6 to Karolina Pliskova. A win already under their belt, the Slammers looked set for the evening from the first set on. It was a match that tossed between 6s and 4s with all fie sets reading the same scoreline, favouring one of the two teams till 2 sets all, with Nick Kyrgios closing it for the Slammers against Milas Raonic in the last set.
"Not only did I come prepared for the IPTL, I also have an 'IPTL special edition haircut! It's great to be playing in the IPTL, I've heard wonderful things about it from players on the tour these past few months, the fun and the motivating parts with the rest of the team members, and I was really looking forward to it," Raonic said after the match.
"I'm looking forward to playing tennis in new markets, and it's so good for the sport. Kobe, Manila, Delhi, Dubai, Singapore ¿ all of these are markets that I've never been to before, and I'm really looking forward to it," he added.