CTL: Mumbai beat Punjab to finish second in North group

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Mumbai, Nov 24: Mumbai Tennis Masters overcame Punjab Marshalls 29-20 in the inconsequential final North Zone round robin match of the Champions Tennis League (CTL) at the Kalinga University Sports Complex here today.

Delhi Dreams had already stormed into the final of the inaugural CTL by overcoming a spirited Mumbai 27-21 in the best-of-five one-set clashes late last night. With both Mumbai and Punjab already out of contention for a place in the November 26 final, all interest lay on the final placing in the group and the home team came out trumps to finish second with two wins and as many losses.

CTL: Mumbai beat Punjab to finish second in North group

Punjab, who won just one tie out of four, ended up third following today's comprehensive loss to Mumbai. Delhi ended on top in the three-team North Zone round robin league played on home and away basis with three wins and a lone loss (3 points).

In today's last league game here, Pranjala Yadlapalli, India No. 1 in under-14, put Mumbai 1-0 ahead by overcoming her senior rival Rishika Sunkara 6-5 (tie break 5-1). The Andhra Pradesh girl jumped to a 4-0 lead with some attacking play in the tie break that paid her rich dividends.

The two Indian players took the court after top women stars Alize Cornet of France (Mumbai), the world no. 20, and Spain's Gabrine Muguruza, ranked 22nd, decided to sit out of the dead rubber. Pranjala then teamed up with Mohit Mayur Jayaprakash to increase the lead to 2-0 when the duo overcame the Punjab mixed doubles pair of Rishika and Vidit Vaghela 6-2.

However, the ever reliable Leander Paes pulled one match back in time for Punjab by winning the battle of legends against former two-time French Open champion Sergi Bruguera of Spain 6-5 via the tie-break.

The Indian, who won bronze when the Spaniard took silver in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, squandered two break point chances earlier on. Then games went with serves in the battle between two 40-year-old players to lead to the tie break in which Davis Cup veteran Paes played with confidence and was sharp at the net while his rival committed a few errors and lost it 1-5.

However, young Indian player Sriram Balaji displayed sound technique in doubles when he combined forces with Spaniard Tommy Robrado to provide Mumbai with a 23-16 lead in games as they outsmarted the crack Indian combine of Paes and Somdev Devvarman 6-3.

Paes and Somdev lose in doubles

Paes and Somdev frittered away a break of serve in game three as they were immediately broken back by Robredo and Balaji and then the Punjab duo was broken in the eighth game when Paes buried his backhand off Balaji's return of serve in the bottom of the net.

Balaji, then, held serve at 15 to provide Mumbai the big lead – 3-1 by way of matches and 23-16 by way of total games won. This was the first loss for Paes and Somdev in doubles in the tournament. In the final match of the evening, India number one Somdev went down to Robredo 4-6.

One break of serve, in the third game did the trick for the former top five Spaniard who went on to hold his serve and clinch the set and match 6-4.


The Results

  • Mumbai beat Punjab 29-20
  • Pranjali Yadlapalli beat Rishika Sunkara 6-5 (5-1)
  • Pranjali and Mohit Mayur Jayaprakash beat Rishika and Vidit Vaghela 6-2
  • Sergi Bruguera lost to Leander 5-6 (1-5)
  • Tommy Robredo and Sriram Balaji beat Paes and Somdev Devvarman 6-3
  • Robredo beat Somdev 6-4

PTI

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