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Indian Aces crash Japan’s party in Kobe

Despite his victory, Japan Warriors were eclipsed by Indian Aces (Photo Courtesy: NDTV Sports)
Despite his victory, Japan Warriors were eclipsed by Indian Aces (Photo Courtesy: NDTV Sports)

In a thrilling contest, Indian Aces gatecrashed the homecoming of the Japanese Warriors in front of a packed house in Kobe. Despite beginning badly, the defending champions came back strongly to prevail against the newly launched Japanese team in the 2nd match of the 2015 edition of the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL).

Maria Sharapova and Pierre Herbert overcame the Indian pairing of Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna in a tense mixed doubles encounter to place the home team on top. The 6-5 victory was a shot in the arm for the Warriors as Mirza and Bopanna had come into the tournament on the back of exceptional doubles form. Although they began promisingly, a vital Power Point went against the Aces even as Sharapova proved to be the difference with her impeccable shots.

The Russian star maintained her impressive run by posting a 6-4 victory against Australia’s Samantha Stosur in the women’s singles. The World No. 4 showed her class, smashing 8 winners and 3 aces to continue her team’s momentum.

Her compatriot Marat Safin’s return to the sport for the Japanese outfit was upset by Indian Aces’ leader Fabrice Santoro, who displayed remarkable resilience and overpowered his younger opponent 6-2. The Aces were back in the reckoning after his fighting performance in the legends singles.

Rohan Bopanna combined with Gael Monfils to turn the tables on Kei Nishikori and Herbert in a pulsating men’s doubles match with a convincing 6-4 triumph. The lanky Indian used his physique to great effect as his volleys were too powerful for the Japanese-French pairing.

Finally, the Warriors had to turn to local hero Kei Nishikori in the men’s singles clash against the entertaining Gael Monfils. And he nearly pulled off a miracle to bridge the gap between the two teams with his tight defensive technique. He served hard and resisted the spirited Frenchman with a formidable base-line approach. Though the Warriors were defeated, Nishikori’s 6-4 victory gave the vociferous crowd something to take home from a spectacular opening night in Japan.

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