The tie was inconsequential in terms of the final berth, as neither Mumbai nor Punjab had any chance of qualifying for the final. But in terms of quality, the match maintained the high levels of the league. With the result not important, the youngsters were given a chance to show their talent in front of a packed Mumbai crowd. Here is how the action unfolded.
Girls’ Singles: Yadlapalli shines as the young guns face off
Pranjala Yadlapalli of the Ironkill Mumbai Tennis Masters took on Rishika Sunkara of the Wave Punjab Marshalls in the opening set of the tie. The match underscored the stated objective of the CTL of giving Indian youngsters a chance to take centre-stage, playing in front of thousands of viewers.
The tie was closely contested and very little seemed to separate the talented youngsters. An inevitable tiebreak was won by Yadlapalli for the home team, who took the first set 6-5.
Mixed Doubles: Mohit the star as Mumbai continue winning
The action shifted to mixed doubles with the junior girls staying on the court. Mohit Mayur Jayaprakash joined Pranjala Yadlapalli for Mumbai, while Vidit Vaghela teamed up with Rishika Sunkara for Punjab.
The city that never sleeps had their eyes wide awake with the quality of play from the youngsters. The tie was once again tightly contested, as all four juniors seemed confident during their respective service games. But the home side eventually took the initiative with Jayaprakash and Yadlapalli hitting some very powerful shots.
The pair took the next four games from 2-2 to win the set by 6-2, giving the home team a 12-7 lead in the tie.
Legends’ Singles: No stopping Paes in battle of the veterans
The most celebrated Indian tennis player was in action in the third tie against Ironkill Mumbai Tennis Masters’ Sergi Bruguera. Leander Paes stuck to his serve and volley game and put a lot of pressure on the home side. Bruguera, however, was holding his own serve with ease, and the set looked destined for a tiebreak.
The score quickly reached 5-5, and neither man seemed ready to blink. But in the best-of-nine-points tiebreak, Paes pulled away with a 5-1 win to secure his first singles victory in the CTL.
With the 6-5 win, the Marshalls trailed the Tennis Masters by 13-17 games.
Men’s Doubles: Robredo and Balaji link up well for a straightforward win
Tommy Robredo and Sriram Balaji of Mumbai took on Punjab’s star pairing of Paes and Somdev Devvarman in the doubles encounter. The fans were treated to brilliant net play and quick reactions, as both teams matched each other in skill and power in a tight encounter.
The break came in the eighth game as the Robredo and Balaji grabbed their chance to take a healthy 5-3 lead. They then held serve with ease, taking the set 6-3 and underlining the fine rapport they have established between themselves.
With the win, the home team were ahead by 23-16 in games won.
Men’s Singles: Robredo seals the deal in final set
With the Tennis Masters well ahead of the Marshalls, Devvarman had to produce some magic if he were to overturn the deficit. However, Robredo was in no mood to give away free games as he broke Devvarman in the second game itself.
The Spaniard looked in command as he closed out the set 6-4 to seal an emphatic win for the Ironkill Mumbai Tennis Masters.
Key match stats:
The Mumbai Masters enjoyed a comfortable home win, beating the Punjab Marshalls 29-20. The highlight of the day was the juniors getting a chance to play in front of the crowd and on live television. With the focus on performance rather than the result, the youngsters along with the senior stars thrilled a very vocal Mumbai crowd.
Originally published on the CTL website here.Published 26 Nov 2014, 13:49 IST