It was an entertaining start to the CTL in Bangalore, with the home team hosting Pune Marathas. And the Marathas were up to the task, registering a come-from-behind victory for the second consecutive time. Here’s a look at how all the drama unfolded:
Legends’ singles: Enqvist too strong for Cash
The first match up was between Pat Cash and Thomas Enqvist in the legends’ tie. Enqvist started the match on a roll, holding serve and breaking Cash to jump into a 2-1 lead.
Cash responded instantly and broke back to reduce the deficit. However, the 49-year-old had his serve broken again in the very next game, and Enqvist then held serve to regain the ascendancy.
Cash faced four match points at 2-5 but managed to find his trademark serve-and-volley game to win four points on the trot. However, the one break was enough for Enqvist who went on to take the set 6-3.
Mixed doubles: Williams stars in all-star matchup
Feliciano Lopez and Venus Williams started brightly with a quick hold of serve, giving the Raptors a 1-0 lead. There were some excellent reactions at the net in the second game by both teams as Pune held on to make it 1-1.
Williams then stepped up to serve, receiving a huge cheer from the crowd. The American held with ease to edge the Raptors back in the lead, and she continued to entertain the crowd with her hard-hitting shots throughout the match.
At 3-2, Marcos Baghdatis’ serve was broken and the home team went ahead 4-2 in the match. This was followed by Williams holding her serve to inch the Raptors closer to victory.
But in the CTL, every game counts. Despite being 2-5 down, Pune had no intention of giving up and they kept fighting, as the Pole held serve to make it 5-3. But with Lopez up next to serve, it was always going to be challenging to win any more games. The match finished 6-3 in Bangalore’s favour, giving them a 12-6 edge in total games.
Women’s singles: Radwanska pulls one back for Pune Marathas
The contest between two superstars of women’s tennis was always going to be highly engaging, and Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska did not disappoint. Both players made the most of the 1-point deuce rule as they repeatedly held serve on the deciding point.
The only break of the match came in the eighth game, with Radwanska breaking Williams to go into a 5-3 lead. The Pole then served out the match to win Pune’s first match of the evening. At the end of the third round the Raptors led the Marathas by 15-12 games.
Men’s doubles: Myneni serves big to level the scores
The Indian stars were in action for the first time, with Asian Games gold medallist Saketh Myneni partnering Baghdatis for Pune. The hosts on their part fielded Lopez and Ramkumar Ramnathan.
Myneni was the star of the match; the talented Indian served at insane speeds to send the crowd into a tizzy. He served two consecutive aces on Lopez’s forehand, exuding plenty of confidence on the court. Pune finally managed to break Lopez’s serve, which was enough to win them the match by the score 6-4.
Men’s singles: Baghdatis completes an incredible comeback for Pune
With the Bangalore Raptors just one point ahead of the Pune Marathas at 19-18, the contest boiled down to the final match between Lopez and Baghdatis. The Cypriot hit some unbelievable lobs to counter Lopez’s aggressive approach play, and a beautifully weighted lob broke Lopez’s serve to give Baghdatis a 3-2 lead.
But with Baghdatis leading 4-3, Bangalore struck gold as Lopez broke the former Australian Open finalist’s serve. In the very next game, Baghdatis had three break points but Lopez managed to show steel in his serve to save all three and win the game.
The match went to a tie-breaker, which Baghdatis wrapped up in spectacular style. But although the Marathas had technically ‘won’ the final set at 6-5, the total games won by both teams were dead even at 24-24.
That necessitated another tie-break, which was again dominated by Baghdatis. He raced to a 4-0 lead to gain five match points, and although Lopez managed to save the first, the Cypriot hit an ace to finish off the match in grand style.
Key match stats
Pune Marathas won the tie 25-24, coming back after losing the first two sets. They did the same thing in the first match against Hyderabad Aces, and they could well be called the comeback kings of the CTL. Bangalore on their part will rue the opportunities they missed in the two singles encounters.
Originally published on Champions Tennis League site here.