Hyderabad Aces will look to continue their dominance over the V Chennai Warriors when the two teams clash at the Lal Bahadur Stadium in Hyderabad on Monday. In the first leg at Chennai, the Aces looked determined and put up a strong show to rout the Warriors 25-16.
The home leg wasn’t a memorable outing for the southern team as Chennai lost both their matches. Can the Rainer Schüttler-led side do something different this time to turn around their fortunes? We analyse:
Women’s singles: Martina Hingis vs Heather Watson
World No. 55 Heather Watson found five-time Slam champion Martina Hingis too hot to handle during their encounter at Chennai. The Briton went down 3-5 as the Swiss Miss commanded the court with the accuracy on her shots and her finesse.
But the British No. 2 did a much better job the second time she turned up for the Chennai team. Against the former World No. 1 Jelena Jankovic of the Nagpur Orangers, Watson put up a gutsy show and went down narrowly, in a tie-break.
The 23-year-old has all the tools to trouble the very best in the world with her speed and wonderful footwork, and she might just make it a little more difficult for the 35-year-old Hingis when the two meet in the City of Pearls.
Legends’ singles: Thomas Johansson vs Rainer Schüttler
It has not been the best of starts for the 2003 Australian Open runner-up Rainer Schüttler as he ended up the loser in both the sets he has played so far at the 2015 CTL. He would be eager to wipe out those bitter memories and get his first win of the tournament.
The German can take solace from the fact that both his losses came in a tie-break; with a bit more luck, he could well reverse the trend. However, his next opponent – the 2002 Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson – will not be easy to deal with.
The Swede, who reached a career-high No. 7 in the rankings, has four hardcourt titles to his name. The surface at the Lal Bahadur Stadium is apt for his game and he will also have the crowd support, making him a slight favourite in this contest.
Men’s singles: Ivo Karlovic vs Fernando Verdasco
Five of the seven meetings between the big-serving Ivo Karlovic and the counterpunching Fernando Verdasco have featured a tie-break. And quite fittingly, their set during the Chennai leg of the 2015 CTL was also decided in a tie-break, in which the 6’11’’ Croat emerged victorious.
The 23rd ranked Karlovic would once again be looking for his lethal serve to take centrestage, but the left-handed Spaniard who has a close 3-4 head-to-head record against the Croat is coming off a heroic display against the Nagpur Orangers.
Even though Verdasco’s valiant efforts were in a losing cause, the former Australian Open semifinalist, who has now slid to 49 in the rankings, gave ample example of his trademark power and explosiveness. The two are tied 2-2 in their career meetings on hardcourts, and if the Spaniard can summon his courage once again, the tennis fans in Hyderabad will be in for another enthralling display.
Men’s doubles: Karlovic/Nedunchezhiyan vs Verdasco/Vardhan
Karlovic’s monstrous serve became the talking point of the day during his outing versus the V Chennai Warriors as he played a crucial role in ensuring three set wins for his team. With a decent doubles player in Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan – a winner of six doubles titles in 2015 – as his partner, the Indo-Croatian pair looks formidable and is expected to dominate again.
Having said that, if their nerves hold up, Verdasco and Vardhan can produce a fine challenge too, and then can certainly make their opponents work hard for the victory.
Mixed doubles: Karlovic/Hingis vs Verdasco/Watson
It was a totally one-sided affair when the Hyderabad team of Karlovic and Hingis crossed swords with the Chennai duo of Verdasco and Watson. While the giant Croat pocketed cheap points with his serve, the Swiss Miss’s flair for the net and her smart movement kept the scoreboard ticking for the visitors.
Verdasco, a winner of seven doubles titles, has more experience than his 23-year-old partner Watson, and he will have to do a lot more in this tie to find a loophole in the Croatian-Swiss pair’s game. The Chennai duo will be keen to find a breakthrough against the imposing Karlovic and Hingis, and Verdasco will be the key in their bid to produce the upset.Published 29 Nov 2015, 23:41 IST