If the players had been apprehensive about the format, it certainly didn’t show on the 2nd day of the International Premiere Tennis League.
The night delivered on the promise of fast-paced and exciting tennis with a total of two match-ups ending in tiebreak shoot-outs, eight “happiness power points” played at critical moments of the night, and a brilliant substitution played over at mixed doubles.
The UAE Royals were up against the Singapore Slammers, while home team Manila Mavericks went head-to-head with the Indian Aces.
Day 2 / Match 1
UAE Royals vs. Singapore Slammers
Men’s Singles started off the day with world no. 7 Tomas Berdych going up against current US Open Champion and current world no. 9 Marin Cilic.
The set was intense from the get-go and the two showed their array of weapons, with Cilic in particular effectively utilizing the drop shot a number of times during the set.
Cilic raced to go up 2-0 before Berdych broke the Cilic serve in the third game. Long rallies and more drop shots by Cilic and the match evened out up until the ninth game.
Berdych tried to hold serve but at the Cilic set point, the drop shot proved again to be a useful weapon for the US Open Champion.
Match 1 / Set 1 / Men’s Singles
6-4 in favor of Marin Cilic over Tomas Berdych
The opening match-up was certainly a good warm-up for Berdych and Cilic as they proceeded to join their respective men’s doubles teams. It was Berdych with Australian youngster Nick Kyrgios and Cilic paired with multiple doubles Grand Slam winner Nenad Zimonjic.
The duos had great chemistry on court with each pair holding serve and keeping it close throughout the set. At 4-5 in favor of Cilic/Zimonjic, Berdych hit Cilic in the body with a forehand return. The ball tumbled back into court and was a point counted in favor of Berdych/Kyrgios.
At level 5-5, the set then proceeded to the first tiebreak shoot-out of the night. The Singapore Slammers quickly went up 4-0 on the booming Kyrgios serve; Cilic countered with an ace of his own and set the pace to catch-up with the Slammers.
The UAE Royals clawed their way to 5-5 in the tiebreak only to be finished off by another Kyrgios ace at the end of the 5-minute running time. The young Aussie celebrated his doubles performance by emphatically falling to the ground at center court.
Match 1 / Set 2 / Men’s Doubles
6-5(6-5) in favor of Berdych/Kyrgios over Cilic/Zimonjic
Women’s Singles followed the men’s action with Kristina Mladenovic going up against Daniela Hantuchova. The hard-hitting Mladenovic established her presence on court early on going up 2-0 before being broken by Hantuchova in the third game.
It was all “Kiki” Mladenovic from there, however, as she raced to 6 to close out the set. The Mladenovic win put the UAE Royals ahead 2-1 in sets played.
Match 1 / Set 3 / Women’s Singles
6-1 in favor of Kristina Mladenovic over Daniela Hantuchova
In the second doubles match-up of the night, Mladenovic took to court with Nenad Zimonjic, while Hantuchova paired with Bruno Soares.
Zimonjic/Mladenovic consolidated an early break at 3-1 before Soares/Hantuchova caught up and made it 3-3.
It was neck and neck until the next pair of service games and at an even 4-4, the Slammers called for a timeout to substitute legend Bruno Soares for the big-serving Nick Kyrgios.
The Kyrgios substitution delighted the crowd and caught the Royals by surprise. Mladenovic, who was set to return the serve of Kyrgios was slow to position herself, mouthing on court “I’m a little scared” at the Australian’s thunderous serve. Kyrgios fired two aces in a brilliant service game and put the Slammers up 5-4 before Zimonjic/Mladenovic caught back up at 5-5 and sent the set into tiebreak.
It was neck and neck again until the Slammers pulled away in the eighth point of the shoot-out. Kyrgios/Hantuchova scored three more times to consolidate the lead and take the set.
Match 1 / Set 4 / Mixed Doubles
6-5 (7-4) Soares/Hantuchova (sub. Kyrgios) over Zimonjic/Mladenovic
For the last set of the series, it was a re-match of the 2001 Wimbledon Championship between Croatian Goran Ivanisevic and Australian Pat Rafter.
It was a close match between the two with each man holding serve up til the tenth game. At 5-5, a shoot-out proceeded where the pair showcased the array of shots in their arsenal. Rafter was superb at the net with his serve-and-volley style but it was the powerful Croatian who replicated his 2001 win and dominated the shoot-out to make it 3 sets to 2 in favor of the UAE Royals.
Match 1 / Set 5 / Past Champions Singles
6-5 (3-9) Goran Ivanisevic over Pat Rafter
The UAE Royals team came away with 28 points over the Singapore Slammers’ 22. It was the second consecutive victory of the Royals in Manila.
Match 1 Result
UAE Royals def. Singapore Slammers
Day 2 / Match 2
Manila Mavericks vs. Indian Aces
Home team Manila Mavericks started off their match-up with the Aces by fielding in legend Carlos Moya against fellow legend Fabrice Santoro.
Santoro built a comfortable lead early on racing to 4-1 against Moya. Moya tried to get back into the match but injured himself in the process. The Spaniard called for a medical timeout in the fifth game and was unable to return to court.
The resting Daniel Nestor was called up to replace Moya, but on such short notice, the doubles great Nestor was unprepared for the singles match-up with Santoro. Santoro made shorter work of Nestor to close out the match.
Match 2 / Set 1 / Past Champions Singles
6-1 in favor of Fabrice Santoro over Carlos Moya (sub. Daniel Nestor)
For the second set of the second match, Frenchmen and compatriots Tsonga and Monfils were on opposing sides of the net. Tsonga was with Mavericks’ player-coach Huey, while Monfils was with Rohan Bopanna.
From the get-go the high-flying Monfils was eager to entertain the crowd. On first point he readily chased after the Tsonga serve off-court almost hitting the barricade in the process.
Monfils would later show his dedication to ball-chasing in the set but was less lucky along with partner Bopanna in successfully returning the barrage of Mavericks shots.
Huey/Tsonga had struggled in yesterday’s doubles match-up, but there was no hint of that against Bopanna/Monfils. The Manila Mavericks pair each shared in fiercely finishing points at the net and thoroughly outplayed the Indian Aces.
It was a resounding win over Bopanna/Monfils.
Match 2 / Set 2/ Men’s Doubles
6-0 in favor of Huey/Tsonga over Bopanna/Monfils
Men’s Singles was third in the order of play and it was Maverick Andy Murray against Ace Gael Monfils.
Muray and Monfils either held or broke serve evenly until the eighth game of the set. At 4-4 with Murray up by 40-30, Monfils feigned injury only to quickly serve underhand. His ploy failed on the point, however, but he had enough momentum and confidence to win the game and break Murray on the next serve. Monfils celebrated his win over the Maverick by screaming “Allez!” to the home crowd.
Match 2/ Set 3/ Men’s Singles
6-4 in favor of Gael Monfils over Andy Murray
Mixed doubles between the Manila Mavericks and the Indian Aces featured the combination of Andy Murray with Maria Sharapoova versus Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza.
Bopanna/Mirza have played together in the doubles circuit on the tour and it certainly showed against the accomplished, but singles specialists, Murray/Sharapova. The Aces pair held serve and continuously broke the Mavericks and it was only in the sixth game when the home team were able to win a consolation game. Murray rejoiced at the relief of being spared of the dreaded “bagel.”
Bopanna/Mirza subsequently closed the next game and the set in fashion at 40-0.
Match 2 / Set 4 / Mixed Doubles
6-1 in favor of Bopanna/Mirza over Murray/Sharapova
It was Maria Sharapova’s last night in Manila and the Mavericks reserved the headlining women’s singles match-up with Ana Ivanovic for last. The two have met on a number of occasions throughout their careers and the familiarity added to the buzz of the crowd going into the set.
Ivanovic pulled away early to make it 4-1 but Sharapova fought back the Ivanovic serve to make it 4-2.
In the sixth and seventh game both players ran into a bit of trouble on the serve, sharing two double faults apiece. Ivanovic re-asserted herself in the eighth game and called the “happiness power point” when she was down 30-40.
The risk paid off as Ivanovic trounced Sharapova in her last home match.
Match 2 / Set 5 / Women’s Singles
6-3 in favor of Ana Ivanovic over Maria Sharapova
The Manila Mavericks lost on home soil for the second consecutive night, while the Indian Aces meanwhile extended their winning streak. It was 4-1 in sets and 24-15 on the point system, in favor of the Indian Aces.
Match 2 Result
Indian Aces def. Manila Mavericks
Team Standings after the 2nd Day of the IPTL
|TEAM NAME||Games Won||Games Lost||Points Tally|
|1||Musafir.com UAE Royals||57||46||8|
|2||Micromax Indian Aces||50||31||8|
|4||DBS Singapore Slammers||38||54||3|