|Photo Credit: PhotoConcierge S. Srinivasan|
December 8th 2016. MATCH 1: UAE ROYALS 20-27 Japan Warriors From being at the bottom of the table to find themselves in contention. The Japan Warriors had a resurrection match against the UAE Royals with a 23-20 win over the Emirati side.
The momentum switch right on time for the Japanese team, who came back from a 1-2 set deficit. It was all about faith. Kurumi Nara proved it so. She was the star and oxygen to her team, right when it was needed.
“Without Kurumi we wouldn’t have won the match”, said her Warriors coach Josh Eagle. “She is our secret weapon”.
MATCH 1 HIGHLIGHTS
Fernando Verdasco handled the Japan Warriors leadership perfectly by taking the first set against Pablo Cuevas with a stunning 6-2 to open the match. Both players faced each other again in the Men’s doubles set, and Verdasco, alongside Jean-Julien Rojer, saw like Cuevas and his partner Daniel Nestor neutralized a break to take the set to a Shoot-Out, where the Royals leveled the match.
The Mixed doubles was a monologue from the Royals side. Martina Hingis and Daniel Nestor were unstoppable and took a 15 minute win over Jelena Jankovic and Rojer.
The MVP award went to Kurumi Nara. In her second set of this year’s IPTL, the Japanese-woman was simply spectacular. She beat a combined rival between Ana Ivanovic and Martina Hingis, taking the set with a perfect 6-0.
It all came down in the Legends set. Goran Ivansevic versus Marat Safin. First, the Warriors Russian star assured the bonus point for his team when he won the game number 20 and then, the 2001 Wimbledon champion took the match to overtime and also, got the bonus point for the Royals. Safin finished the job with his serve and although he lost the set, his team won the match.
MATCH 2: Oue Singapore Slammers 22-23 INDIAN ACES
Historically the two strongest teams, the OUE Singapore Slammers and the Indian Aces faced for the last time in Singapore before flying to Hyderabad. The Slammers wanted to make a perfect 3-0 at home and the Indians get a win to land in India as the IPTL leaders.
The reigning champions were very much the favorites halfway through the match. And then, the Aces reproduced one of the most epic comebacks. The 2014 IPTL champions will go home as the leaders after a stunning 24-23 win over the Slammers.
MATCH 2 HIGHLIGHTS
Carlos Moya showed once again that his footwork and forehand are still intact when he beat Mark Philippoussis to give the Slammers the first set.
After a nervous Japan leg, debutant Kiki Bertens has been vital for the local team in this leg. The Dutch-woman took the second set with a strong 6-1 win over Kirsten Flipkens.
Could have been the excitement of going home, but the truth is that Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna rallied with a one-sided 6-0 set over Bertens/Melo that kept the Indians alive. From 12-5, the match entered the fourth set with a tight 12-11.
Melo and Marcos Baghdatis kept coming back against Feliciano López and Ivan Dodig. But in one of the most electrifying Shoot-outs in this IPTL, the Aces leveled the match before the decisive set.
All came down to Nick Kyrgios and López. The Men’s singles set would be the one. The match finished in a decisive Shoot-Out. And it was the experienced Spaniard who close out the epic comeback.