IPTL: Singapore Slammers sets up summit clash with Indian Aces

Singapore Slammers squashed Japan Warriors 30-20 in the International Premier Tennis League at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium on Saturday evening and set up a summit clash on Sunday with the Indian Aces.

Carlos Moya

Carlos Moya defeated Marat Safin 6-4 in Hyderabad on Saturday.   -  PhotoConcierge

Despite a 20-24 defeat at the hands of UAE Royals, the Indian Aces on Saturday night advanced to Sunday’s final of the Coca Cola International Premier Tennis League at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium. In a replay of the 2015 title showdown, the local side, with 18 points, will take on Singapore Slammers, which finished with 14.

Thomas Johannson, all grey and grace, was accurate with his assault to the corners of Mark Philippoussis’ court. The 2002 Australian Open winning Swede also hit two aces that landed on the centre service line. Just one missile came from ‘Scud,’ but it came a little late in the day, by when the match was too far gone out of his reach.

Kirsten Flipkens played percentage tennis against Ana Ivanovic, making her moves at the last minute to wrong-foot her rival, be it with a down-the-line return or a cross-court fore-hander. Spectacled and solemn looking, the Belgian held the reins in the early stages and saw her opponent draw level, but subsequently broke away to a well-deserved win.

OUE Singapore Slammers squashed Japan Warriors 30-20 in the Coca Cola-International Premier Tennis League at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium on Saturday evening. Winning every contest along the way, the Slammers set up a summit clash on Sunday with the Indian Aces.

In the legends’ face-off, Marat Safin had the ammunition, firing four aces, two of them in the ninth game, fewer double faults and more winners. But Carlos Moya had the attitude, passing shots mostly off returns of serve leaving his Russian rival rooted to the baseline and take the first contest.

Jelena Jankovich and Kiki Bertens bartered breaks early, the former first to wrest the initiative. The Dutch six-footer then seized it in the fourth but the Serb broke right back in the next. Jankovich dropped serve in the eighth and sought a substitution. Bertens made short work of Kurumi Nara.

Marcos Baghdatis’ power-packed serves and returns strayed or went long against Prajnesh Gunneswaran but he showed splendid control on the drop shots for his winners. The Cypriot then changed gears in the shootout to give his side a clean sweep.

The scores:

Singapore Slammers bt Japan Warriors 30-20 (Carlos Moya bt Marat Safin 6-4, Kiki Bertens bt Jelena Jankovic 6-3, Marcelo Melo/Bertens bt Jean-Julien Rojer/Jankovic 6-5 (1); Mielo/Nick Kyrgios bt Rojer/Prajnesh Gunneswaran 6-3; Marcos Baghdatis bt Prajnesh Gunneswaran 6-5 (4).

UAE Royals bt Indian Aces 24-20 (Thomas Johannson bt Mark Philippoussis 6-2, Ana Ivanovic lost to Kirsten Flipkens 3-6; Daniel Nestor/Ivanovic bt Rohan Boppanna/Sania Mirza 6-3; Pablo Cuevas/Nestor bt Bopanna/Ivan Dodig 6-3; Tomas Berdych bt Dodig 6-3)