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Warriors end IPTL season with win over Mavericks

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The Philippine Mavericks have yet to recover from the loss of their marquee stars in the 2015 International Premier Tennis League tournament.

In a battle just to salvage pride, it was the Legendari Japan Warriors who claimed victory against the Philippine Mavericks, 29-15, Saturday at the Singapore Indoor Tennis Stadium, Singapore.

Marat Safin started the day for the Warriors with a 6-3 win over James Blake in the men’s legends singles set. Safin was able to best Blake in the service game, 63% against 55% on first serves. Despite the aggressiveness of Blake on net approaches, it was the solitary break advantage for Safin that won him the game. Safi had nine winners in the set, including three aces.

Japan’s Kurumi Nara continued her impressive performance throughout the IPTL season with a 6-1 victory against Jarmila Gajdosova in the women’s singles set. Gajdosova had a tougher time on the serve, getting in 54% of first serves against Nara’s 65%. The Japanese also converted eight of her first serves to points. 16 unforced errors were just too much as Gajdosova eventually conceded the set off three break points that Nara won.

Gajdosova’s and Maverick’s woes continued in the mixed doubles set. Leander Paes and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni upended Gajdosova and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, 6-2, to further extend Japan’s lead. In the battle of impeccable serving, 78% of first serves for the Mavericks and 76% for the Warriors, the latter converted more on points, 13 against 9. Paes and Lucic-Baroni also had nine winners, including three aces to effectively secure the set.

In their lone set win for the night, the Mavericks were able to take the men’s doubles singles set as Roger-Vasselin and Philippines’ own Treat Huey upended Paes and Pierre Hugues-Herbert in a shoot out, 6-5. The Mavericks duo survived a mediocre 42% on first serves to pull off the victory off 14 winners, including two service aces. The 13 unforced errors by Paes and Hugues-Herbert doomed them to the loss. Huey and Hugues-Herbert also had a successful use of the Coca Cola Power Point to get the set.

With the match virtually in the bag for the Warriors, Hugues-Herbert closed out their IPTL debut in style against Ivo Karlovic, 6-3, in the men’s singles set. The Frenchman fought toe-to-toe with the tall Croatian and even pulled off a better first serve percentage at 73%. Hugues-Herbert also limited Karlovic to three winners and forced him to commit four unforced errors. The Warriors’ bet also aggressive attacked the power serving of the Maverick, converting all 10 of his net approaches.

With the victory, the Japan Warriors ended their inaugural IPTL season with a 2-9 win-loss record and forced the Philippine Mavericks to a crucial match against the Obi UAE Royals, Saturday at the same venue at 4:00pm Philippine time.

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Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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