|Posted on December 2, 2015 at 5:20 PM|
IPTL 2015: UAE Royals start on a bright note, beat Singapore Slammers 26-20
Day 1 of the second edition of the International Premier Tennis League kicked off with some exciting action from some of the best players in the sport. Although the teams marquee signing Roger Federer will not be playing the Japan leg, the fans in Kobe were treated to a display of some sizzling tennis nevertheless.
Here's a breakdown of how the events unfolded through the day:
Women’s Singles: Ana Ivanovic (UAE Royals) beat Belinda Bencic (Singapore Slammers)
Former World No. 1 Ana Ivanovic of the UAE Royals took on WTA No. 14 Belinda Bencic of the Slammers in the first match of IPTL 2015. Ivanovic got off to a shaky start, committing the first double fault of the match to give Bencic the first point. Subsequently, the Swiss broke the Serb to take the first game of the match.
Ivanovic soon levelled, but 18-year-old Bencic was not to be cowed down, keeping neck-and-neck with her significantly more experienced 28-year-old competitor. Ivanovic took a 4-2 lead as the Swiss was able to muster only a single ace to her competitor’s two. There was not much dividing the pair statistically, with Bencic actually leading her senior competitor in her winning percentage on the first serve.
Bencic capitalised on one of the two break points on offer, with Ivanovic taking both of hers and hitting nine winners during the course of the match. Although Bencic lost the set, she showed a maturity and skill beyond her 18 years, and some serious gumption throughout the course of the set.
Result: Ivanovic def. Bencic 6-3
Men’s Singles: Nick Kyrgios (Singapore Slammers) vs Tomas Berdych (UAE Royals)
Tennis’ ‘bad boy’ Nick Kyrgios was not the favourite coming into the match, pitted against the higher-ranked Berdych who was fresh off a campaign at the ATP World Tour Finals.
The Czech started off strong, taking the first game and the immediate lead. The pair, who were teammates on the Singapore side last year, turned competitors this year and the Australian immediately equalised to level at 1-1.
But then, with some good serving and stellar footwork, Kyrgios found a way to hit a crosscourt winner to break Berdych and take a 3-2 lead. That spelled the beginning of the end for Berdych as an on-fire Kyrgios proceeded to systematically decimate his opponent and take a 6-2 win.
Result: Kyrgios def. Berdych 6-2
Men’s Doubles: Berdych/Nestor (UAE Royals) vs Melo/Brown (Singapore Slammers) 6-5
In the most closely fought set of the tie, Melo and Brown took the first game with consummate ease, putting in some strong serves. UAE Royals equalised with some fine serving of their own, and then took the Coca-Cola power point to go 2-1 in the set.
A series of exciting, long rallies followed, with UAE Royals continuing to dominate as they took a 3-2 lead, but the overall score of the tie was still even, matched at 11 games apiece. This is especially relevant as every game counts in terms of deciding points in this tournament.
The Slammers levelled the score at 4-4, and then even took a 5-4 lead to go up 14 games against the Royals’ 12 at that point. But a 5-5 equaliser brought the pairs to a shootout, the first of this edition of the IPTL, with the first team to score seven points winning the tie break. The Royals took that to win a tightly-fought set 6-5.
Result: Berdych/Nestor def. Melo/Brown 6-5
Mixed Doubles: Mladenovic/Nestor (UAE Royals) vs Melo/Pliskova 6-3
Both teams managed to level early on in the mixed doubles, taking a game apiece with the teams tied on 15 games apiece on aggregate “ a thoroughly close contest. Some brilliant synchronisation from Nestor and Mladenovic saw them blitz ahead of their competitors to take a 3-1 lead, with the pair managing three aces to their competitors’ none.
While the Royals could only convert one out of their five break points, that was good enough as their rivals were unable to break serve at all. Nestor and Mladenovic hit nine winners on their way to a well-coordinated victory over doubles specialist Melo and his partner Pliskova.
Result: Mladenovic/Nestor def. Melo/Pliskova 6-3
Legends’ singles: Goran Ivanisevic (UAE Royals) vs Carlos Moya (Singapore Slammers) 6-3
Although Ivanisevic took victory eventually, it was Moya who began his campaign with a stronger showing. He took the first game against his Croatian competitor, hitting as many as four aces in the set with the big-serving Ivanisevic unable to muster a single one.
Although he hit more winners and committed fewer unforced errors than his competitor, the Spaniard fell victim to the Croat’s seamless game who served for the set and the match to seal victory for the UAE Royals on the first day of the second edition of the IPTL.
Result: Ivanisevic def. Moya 6-3
Overall result: UAE Royals def. Singapore Slammers 26-20