Hyderabad Aces breeze past sloppy Raptors

Lopez's heroics in vain; Hingis outclasses Venus

Hyderabad Aces breeze past sloppy Raptors

Feliciano Lopez tried to play superman but even he had restrictions. Trailing 21-16 at the start of the deciding fifth match against Hyderabad Aces' Mikhail Youzhny, the Bangalore Raptors needed Lopez to win by a margin of at least five games to keep alive the hosts' chances of qualifying to the final of the Champions Tennis League (CTL) here at the KSLTA on Friday.

But the Russian held his nerve against Lopez's deft net work and a partisan crowd who had turned up in numbers to help the Aces to a 25-22 win over the Raptors.

Lopez won the match 6-3 to take the affair into a 'super overtime' where he had  to win the next three games to take the hosts home. But Youzhny held serve the very next game to stave off an unlikely comeback.

The win also meant that Aces go level on two points with Pune Marathas. Raptors, who now proceed to Pune to play their last game of the league against the Marathas on Sunday, have lost all their three ties.

Earlier on Friday, a lethargic Venus sleepwalked through her match against Hingis. In one of the more anticipated singles matches of the league stage, Venus, who just couldn’t figure out her backhand from her forehand, lost all her service games to lose 1-6.

Her slices were ugly shanks, her approaches to the net were usually followed by an unforced error and Hingis might have as well played with one hand tied behind her back.

After the Swiss Miss broke Venus in the opening game, she consolidated the break to take a 2-0 lead. The American, who is usually a reliable server, then double faulted often, lost her rhythm and shape to trail 0-5.

It seemed as though Hingis was going to bagel her but she salvaged some pride by breaking Hingis. But it was too little late and was all over by Venus’ fourth service game. Venus wasn't her usual self even in the mixed doubles encounter where Lopez single-handedly dragged the home side through 6-3.

In the legends match that began the proceedings, the big-serving Australian Mark Philippoussis rolled back the years to edge past Swede Thomas Enqvist 6-4.

The Swede actually raced to a 2-0 lead before the former Wimbledon finalist got down to the business of unleashing howitzer-like serves, his bread and butter.

Enqvist stayed just ahead with smart volleys and passing shots but a double fault in the eighth game gave the Australian, who was playing with a brace in his right knee, a way back into the encounter. And he wasn’t going out to miss out an invitation like that.

Results: Hyderabad Aces bt Bangalore Raptors (Legends singles: Mark Philippoussis bt Thomas Enqvist 6-4; Mixed doubles: Mikhail Youzhny/ Martina Hingis lt to Feliciano Lopez/ Venus Williams 3-6; Women’s singles: Martina Hingis bt Venus Williams 6-1; Men's doubles: Mikhail Youzhny/ Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan bt Feliciano Lopez/ Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-5 (5-3); Men's singles: Mikhail Youzhny lt to Feliciano Lopez 4-6.

Punjab win

Putting up an inspired show on home turf, the Wave Punjab Marshalls on Friday stopped the unbeaten run of Delhi Dreams as the registered their first win in the Champions Tennis League at the CLTA complex, adds PTI from Chandigarh. On Thursday, Mumbai Tennis Masters had defeated the Punjab unit 27-21.

Coming back as wounded tigers, the team comprising Leander Paes, Garbine Muguruza and Somdev Devvarman gave the capacity crowd a lot to cheer about by winning four of the five sets for a massive 29-18 win.

Paes once again put up a great fight in the legends singles, stretching a much-younger Juan Carlos Ferrero to the tie-break.

Comments (+)