IPTL: Singapore Slammers have dream homecoming
From left to right, Carlos Moya, Marcelo Melo, and Nick Kyrgios chat on the Singapore Slammers bench. Photo: IPTL

The 2016 IPTL has shifted venues and the action began in Singapore on Tuesday with rematches of Sunday's action. With the standings extremely close, all four teams were looking to get off to quick starts in a new location. Here’s what happened on day four of the ITPL.

Indian Aces 26 – 19 UAE Royals

On Sunday, the UAE Royals handed the Indian Aces their first loss of the 2016 season. The Aces were looking for revenge in the rematch on Tuesday and got off to a strong start, as Kirsten Flipkens fought off Ana Ivanovic 6-3 to take the early lead. The ever-reliable all-Indian pair of Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza continued to make their home nation proud, as they too scored a 6-3 victory to double the lead for the Aces in only 22 minutes. A third 6-3 set victory came courtesy of Mark Philippoussis, stretching the lead to nine games with only two sets to go.

Mark Philippoussis celebrates winning the legends set. Photo: IPTL
Mark Philippoussis celebrates winning the legends set. Photo: IPTL

Tomas Berdych would try to kick start a comeback for the Royals and gave them a bit of life by winning his singles set 6-2 over Feliciano Lopez, closing the gap to 15-20 and keeping the tie within reach for the Royals. But Lopez and partner Ivan Dodig had different ideas for Aces. The pair finally found an answer for Pablo Cuevas and Daniel Nestor, who had been almost untouchable so far in the IPTL, as the Aces closed out the tie by taking the final set 6-4.

Singapore Slammers 29 – 16 Japan Warriors

The home fans had to wait until the second match of the day to see their team take to the court, but it was well worth the wait. The Singapore Slammers came out firing against the Japan Warriors, who they had beaten on Sunday on the Warriors home court for their first win. Kiki Bertens got the Slammers off to a quick lead by cruising past Jelena Jankovic 6-2 in a mere 20 minutes. Making his return after being subbed out on day one, Rainer Schuettler managed to battle past Fernando Gonzalez, who was making his 2016 debut, in a tiebreak to keep the Slammers in front. Bertens would then crush Jankovic again, this time with the help of Marcelo Melo in the mixed doubles as the Slammers pair crushed Jankovic and Jean-Julien Rojer 6-2.

Kiki Bertens lines up a forehand during her victory on Tuesday. Photo: IPTL
Kiki Bertens lines up a forehand during her victory on Tuesday. Photo: IPTL

The Warriors were once again without their star, Kei Nishikori, meaning Fernando Verdasco would be relied upon to keep the Warriors dim hopes alive as they entered the men’s doubles down 18-9. Verdasco and Rojer needed a comprehensive win in the men’s doubles over Melo and Marcos Baghdatis, but while they won the set, they failed to make up much ground as they won it in a tiebreak. Verdasco entered the fifth set with his team down 23-15, meaning he had to win the set and gain an uninterrupted nine-game lead to steal the match from the hosts. Nick Kyrgios was not about to disappoint the home fans, however, as he dominated the final set, taking it 6-1 in 19 minutes to open the Slammers home stand with a win.

Action continues tomorrow in Singapore with the Warriors looking to slow down the Aces, while the Slammers host the Royals. 

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