IPTL: Aces win despite Paes' brilliance

Turning up for Legendari Japan Warriors, Paes thrilled the fans with his impressive net game, as he partnered the talented Pierre-Hugues Herbert to beat Rohan Bopanna and Ivan Dodig 6-5 (6) in the men's doubles contest and check the smooth progress of Indian Aces.

Nick Kyrgios won his fifth singles match for Singapore Slammers.   -  Getty Images

In the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL), Leander Paes' heart is with India and his game is with Japan.

Turning up for Legendari Japan Warriors, Paes thrilled the fans with his impressive net game, as he partnered the talented Pierre-Hugues Herbert to beat Rohan Bopanna and Ivan Dodig 6-5 (6) in the men's doubles contest and check the smooth progress of Indian Aces, which led 12-6 after bagging the mixed doubles and women's singles sets, briefly.

In the absence of Rafael Nadal, the tussle between the two Indian heroes had to be the biggest attraction for the spectators who thronged the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium here on Friday.

Aces win; Paes unbeaten

For a die-hard individual swearing in the name of India, it was a win-win situation though. Indian Aces won the tie 26-21, while Paes, featuring for the opposite camp, remained undefeated.

After their face-off in the US Open mixed doubles semifinals in September this year, Paes and Bopanna, who had teamed up for India's Davis Cup campaign against Czeh Republic here, met each other across the net.

Having known each other so well, it was hardly surprising that they were locked in a tight fight in the interest of their respective franchises. The presence of quality partners only enhanced the tempo of the battle.

Evenly contested match

The contest was neck-and-neck till the point Dodig's excellent bank hand return helped Aces grab the power point and break Paes to go 4-3 up.

However, Paes and Herbert coordinated well near the net and blocked the assaults launched by the formidable Indo-Croat duo. In the tie-breaker, following a 5-5 scoreline, Warriors took a 5-2 lead before Bopanna and Dodig rallied to make it 6-5 in their favour. Nevertheless, with some guidance from Paes, Herbert pocketed two points and closed the set.

Paes was the 'winner' and the crowd loved it.

Kyrgios powered Slammers' win

Bopanna, however, had given Aces a fine start when he combined with Sania Mirza to down Herbert and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-4. Agieszka Radwanska outsmarted Mirjana 6-2 to bolster Aces' position.

Shrugging off the men's doubles reversal, Aces coach-cum-player Fabrice Santoro defeated Thomas Enqvist 6-3 in the legends' set and ensure Aces' second victory at home.

Dodig losing to Herbert in the inconsequential men's singles set did not affect the host's prospects.

Earlier, Singapore Slammers rode on Nick Kyrgios' fine performance to beat Philippine Mavericks 30-22 and improve its place in the standings.



The results: Singapore Slammers bt Philippine Mavericks 30-22 [Carlos Moya bt Mark Philippoussis 6-4, Dustin Brown-Karolina Pliskova bt Treat Huey-Jarmila Gajdosova 6-5 (2), Belinda Bencic bt Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3, Nick Kyrgios-Marcelo Melo bt Treat Huey-Edouard Roger Vasselin 6-5 (5), Nick Kyrgios bt Edouard Roger Vasselin 6-5 (2)];

Indian Aces bt Legendari Japan Warriors 26-21 [Rohan Bopanna-Sania Mirza bt Pierre-Hugues Herbert-Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-4, Agnieszka Radwanska bt Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-2, Rohan Bopanna-Ivan Dodig lost to Leander Paes-Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-5 (6), Fabrice Santoro bt Thomas Enqvist 6-3, Ivan Dodig lost to Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-3].