There can be nothing like churning out a win in a crunch tie in front of a home crowd. Rendezvous Pune Marathas did precisely that, lapping up their third consecutive win, outduelling Bangalore Raptors 26-20, thus consigning the latter to their fourth defeat on the trot.
Rendezvous Pune earned two points from the bisque round with the junior players Shwetha Rana & Prajwal Dev, getting two shots out of five on the target board.
The cheers at the Balewadi Stadium got louder when Australia’s Pat Cash took the court for Rendezvous Pune Marathas against Bangalore Raptors’ Swedish Thomas Enqvist in the legend singles. It was Cash – the oldest among the legend players at 47 – who regaled the Pune crowd with his eye-catching serve and volley game. It’s a different matter altogether that Cash’s impressive display was not enough to halt Thomas Enqvist in his tracks.
The Swede appeared solid without looking overwhelmed. He breached Cash’s serve in the fourth game to sew up a 4-1 lead. Cash did try to mount a fightback, but Enqvist was in no mood to allow any leeway pulling through 6-3. The opening set win raised visions of Bangalore Raptors registering their first win, but Rendezvous Pune Marathas triggered higher decibel levels among the home crowd when the Marcos Baghdatis and Agnieszka Radwanska pair clinched the mixed doubles at 6-3 to leave the contest excitingly poised at 9-9.
Radwanska in full flow
It was the world number six Radwanska, who dealt the most serious blow to Bangalore Raptors’ winning aspirations pocketing the women’s singles against Venus Williams in a game where fortunes fluctuated rapidly.
Williams had her moments when she broke Radwanska’s serve in the fourth game to go up 3-1, but the Polish girl roared back breaking Williams’ serve before holding her serve and breaking her opponent’s serve again to lead 4-3 after trailing 1-3 at one stage. The wheels came off Williams’game as she lost her serve for the third time to concede the match at 3-6 as the Pune outfit led 15-2 at the end of the third set.
Bangalore Raptors refused to throw in the towel as yet and were very much in the contest when the Feliciana Lopez and Ramkumar Ramanathan pair put it across the pair of Marcos Baghdatis and Saketh Myneni 6-5 in tie-break. Rendezvous Pune Marathas led 20-18 going into the final men’ singles set.
Baghdatis turns on the style
If Pat Cash provided the early entertainment to the boisterous Pune crowd, Marcos Baghdatis served up the finishing touches outgunning Lopez 6-2 to enable Rendezvous Pune Marathas script a 26-20 victory. The Pune outfit now faces Hyderabad Aces on Monday and the winner of that tie will earn a berth in the November 26 final to be held in Delhi.
Originally published on the Champions Tennis League website here.