A day after a confidence-boosting win against the UAE Royals, the Indian Aces could not replicate that result and succumbed to their second loss of the season at the 2016 International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) in Singapore on Wednesday. The Japan Warriors looked confident and performed as a team to inflict a 27-20 defeat on the 2014 champions.
Despite the setback, the Aces still lead the standings, albeit narrowly, with 11 points.
Here’s how the tie unfolded:
Japan Warriors’ Fernando Gonzalez and his deadly forehands proved a handful for the big-serving Mark Philippoussis of the Aces early on in this contest. He raced away to a 4-2 lead even before the Australian could settle into the match.
The two-time Grand Slam runner-up, however, did manage to run close towards the end and even stretched the set to a shootout where the Chilean held his nerves for a 6-5 win.
Result: Fernando Gonzalez (Japan Warriors) bt Mark Philippoussis (Indian Aces) 6-5
The Warriors proved to be an insurmountable barrier even in this set. Jelena Jankovic and Jean-Julien Rojer of Japan were spot on with their shots and grabbed an early lead of 3-1. That solitary break was enough to decide the outcome of this encounter as the Serbian-Dutch duo prevailed over Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig, 6-4.
Result: Jankovic/Rojer (Japan Warriors) bt Mirza/Dodig (Indian Aces) 6-4
With her guile and finesse, Kirsten Flipkens ran away to 3-1 only to see her advantage getting erased by a tenacious Jelena Jankovic who made a strong comeback to level at 3-3. The Serb struck again for a crucial break at the very end of the set to take it 6-4.
Result: Jelena Jankovic (Japan Warriors) bt Kirsten Flipkens (Indian Aces) 6-4
The Aces salvaged some pride in the men’s doubles set. The two pairs started off by exchanging early breaks before the set became a very competitive one with nothing to separate the two teams. Aces’ Feliciano Lopez and Ivan Dodig eventually reigned supreme over the Warriors’ Rojer and Verdasco 6-3 through another service break.
Result: Lopez/Dodig (Indian Aces) bt Rojer/Verdasco (Japan Warriors) 6-3
In a face-off between two familiar rivals, it was Japan’s Verdasco who had absolutely no problems in dismissing Aces’ Lopez, who struggled to keep up with the former’s pace. Verdasco blitzed away to a totally one-sided 6-1 win over his compatriot.
Result: Fernando Verdasco (Japan Warriors) bt Feliciano Lopez (Indian Aces) 6-1
Overall Result: Japan Warriors bt Indian Aces 27-20