Indian veteran Leander Paes and Hugues Herbert were central to Japan Warriors’ cause as they beat UAE Royals 24-21 in the opening match of the International Premier Tennis League’s India leg.
From trailing 6-12 after two sets, the Japan Warriors staged a remarkable comeback to register their first win after five losses.
UAE Royals began the match in emphatic fashion with Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic proving too much to handle for both Kurumi Nara and her substitute Mirjana Lucic to give her team a 1-0 lead.
Next up was former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic, who produced a vintage display to beat Thomas Enquvist 6-4 and extend the UAE team’s lead.
— IPTL (@iptl) December 10, 2015
“I player last year, and it was tough,” Ivanisevic said. “And this year, they made it tougher, so I definitely trained before coming. I love playing in India, we had great fun last year too, I love the food, and the crowd is great.”
However, the opening day was turned on its head when local hero Paes strolled into the Delhi arena alongside Herbert for the men’s doubles.
Roared on by a significant crowd, the duo ousted UAE Royals’ Tomas Berdych and Daniel Nestor 6-3.
Using the momentum from their previous match, Herbert caused the shock of the day when he broke Berdych twice to take the singles match.
The Herbert victory narrowed the scoreline gap to 18-19, making the mixed doubles set between Kristina Mladenovic and Nestor against Lucic and Herbert vital.
However the Warriors were not to be put off and US Open men’s doubles champion Herbert combined with Lucic to take the set 6-2 and the overall fixture for their team.
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