First win for Japan; Aces score

 Leander Paes and Pierre-Hugues Herbert clinched the men’s doubles to inspire Japan Warriors to fight back from two sets down and beat UAE Royals 24-21 for their first win of the tournament in the opening match of the International Premier Tennis League’s India leg at Indira Gandhi Indoor stadium on Thursday.

The Warriors were trailing 6-12 after two sets but rallied to win their first win after five losses. Paes and Herbert won the set 6-3 against the formidable Tomas Berdych and Daniel Nestor 6-3 to show the way. In contrast to the inaugural year, a thin crowd attended the opening day with organisers hoping the turnout would increase in the next two days.

World number six Ana Ivanovic provided the 1-0 lead to Royals after winning the opening set 6-2 against Warriors Kurumi Nara and her substitute Mirjana Lucic. With Marat Safin still struggling with injury, Goran Ivanisevic was fielded by Warriors in the men’s legend’s singles. Ivanisevic, lighter by five kgs, showed he still has not lost his touch. Sweden’s Thomas Enqvist got a taste of his sublime strokeplay during his 4-6 defeat.

The local favourite Paes and Herbert delighted the few hundred on the stands as the two fluently went about the business of winning the points.

A charged up Herbert got the measure of the Berdych, who was caught off-guard by his opponent’s power-packed strokes to be broken twice. Herbert’s victory narrowed the bridge in the score to 18-19.

Herbert, the US Open men’s doubles champion, turned up again this time with Lucic to face Kristina Mladenovic and Nestor and Lucic and Herbert. Lucic and Herbert carried the momentum to run away with a 6-2 victory in the shortest set of the evening.

 In the second match, Rafael Nadal overcame a stiff challenge from Edouard Roger-Vasselin in the final set as Indian Aces beat Philippine Mavericks 30-12 to consolidate their lead on the top of the table.

Nadal beat Roger-Vasselin 6-4 in what was the most thrilling match after Indian pair of Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna gave a good start with 6-2 win over Ajla Tomljanovićand Treat Huey in mixed doubles set.

In the women’s singles, Agnieszka Radwanska brushed aside Jamila Gajdosova 6-1 while Fabrice Santoro got the better of Mark Philippoussis 6-1 in the legend’s singles. Bopanna later paired with Nadal to score 6-4 victory over Roger-Vasselin and Huey.

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