IPTL Day One Recap: Royals And Aces Get Off To Winning Starts
Royals teammates Ana Ivanovic and Kristina Mladenovic. Photo Source:IPTLworld.com

IPTL Day One Recap: Royals And Aces Get Off To Winning Starts

The second season of the IPTL got underway with the Indian Aces looking for a second consecutive title.

Noel John Alberto

The first day of the IPTL kicked off today in Kobe, Japan. Four of the five teams were in action looking to get their season off to a win. The four teams that kicked off the 2015 IPTL season were the UAE Royals, the Singapore Slammers, the Japan Warriors, and the Indian Aces. Here’s what went down on day one.

UAE Royals - Singapore Slammers

To open up the proceedings was the women’s singles match between Ana Ivanovic and Belinda Bencic. Ivanovic, who plays for the Royals, won the match 6-3. The Serb had more difficulty getting her first serve in compared to Bencic, 48 percent for the Serb compared to 68 for the Swiss, but she converted both her break points and won a key point on Bencic’s Coca-Cola Power Point. The Power Point can be called when a player is receiving and the next point would count double should the returner win it.

In the men’s singles, Nick Kyrgios of the Slammers upset Tomas Berdych 6-2. The Aussie delivered double the winners that the Czech hit, 15 to 7, and then won two of his four break points. Berdych would suit up again in the men’s doubles with Daniel Nestor. They went on to defeat the team of world number one doubles player Marcelo Melo and Rafael Nadal’s Wimbledon conqueror, Dustin Brown, by a score of 6-5. The Royals won the tiebreak 7-5.

Nestor went two for two in match victories, teaming up with Kristina Mladenovic to defeat Melo and Karolina Pliskova. The Royals won the set 6-3 and led the overall match 20-17 after that match. The Royals clinched their opening match 26-20 as Goran Ivanisevic defeated Carlos Moya 6-3.

Japan Warriors - Indian Aces

The Indian Aces look on from their bench. Photo Source: IPTLWorld.com

In this matchup, mixed doubles opened up the proceedings. The Aces were led by the star team of fellow countryman and countrywoman of Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza, but Maria Sharapova and Pierre Hugues-Herbert upset them 6-5. The world number four won a second consecutive match to put the Warriors 12-9 after defeating Sam Stosur 6-4. The Russian was extremely effective on her first serve, winning 78 percent of those points.

The Aces began their comeback in the third set, which was the legends singles match. Fabrice Santoro outwitted Marat Safin 6-2 to put the Aces ahead and extended that 6-4 when Bopanna and Gael Monfils won 6-4. Despite the stats being on Safin’s side, Santoro’s ability to convert break points was what helped Santoro pull away in the end.

At this point, the Aces led 21-18 with Monfils set to play the men’s singles against the Warriors' star man Kei Nishikori. Nishikori won the set 6-4 but was not enough as the Aces prevailed 26-25. In the IPTL, if the trailing team wins the final set, the match goes into sudden-death overtime which extends the fifth set. If the leading team wins one game in the sudden-death overtime, the match is over, but if the trailing team wins enough games to tie it, the match goes to a timed seven-minute men’s singles super shootout. The world number eight did enough to get it into overtime but failed to extend it.