The Indian Aces, led by former top-10 player Thomas Enqvist, took a convincing win today over the hosts, Japan Royals, with the Aces winning by a significant 30-17 margin.
The results from their first faceoff:
Former top-20 player Kirsten Flipkens took on young Japanese player Kurumi Nara in the first tie of the afternoon, beating her 6-2. Nara, who last year had a strong season, has seen flagging form since, and proved not to be enough of a match for her older Belgian rival.
Kirsten Flipkens bt Kurumi Nara 6-2
The Mixed Doubles saw the Olympic pair of Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna take on former singles No. 1 Jelena Jankovic, paired by doubles expert Jean-Julien Rojer; the Indian pair took a quick lead early on, but a strong fight back from Rojer and Jankovic saw Bopanna and Mirza eventually fight their way to the win.
Mirza/Bopanna bt Jankovic/Rojer 6-5
This one was a strong match, with a former No. 4 – Mark Philippoussis, representing the Indian Aces, up against former World No. 1 Marat Safin. With two power hitters representing their respective teams, this was bound to be a good watch. In the end, it was the Scud who proved to be more powerful than his Russian rival, and Philippousis would go on to broaden the Aces’ lead tonight.
Philippoussis bt Safin 6-3
Both sides well kitted-out with doubles experts would have seen fans expect a down-to-the-wire finish. That was surprisingly not the case today, although the result was not entirely surprising. Both Grand Slam winners, the pair of Ivan Dodig and Feliciano Lopez took a whopping finish, sealing the win for the Aces with one tie still to go.
Dodig/Lopez bt Verdasco/Rojer 6-2
This was perhaps the closest contest of them all – and it was an all-Spanish affair as Feliciano Lopez took on famed Spanish Giant-killer Fernando Verdasco in the final IPTL tie of the evening. The two were locked in a strong battle, with Lopez only just edging out his rival.
Lopez bt Verdasco 6-5