CTL: Punjab Marshalls register first victory

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Chandigarh, Nov 21: Putting up an inspired show on home turf, the Wave Punjab Marshalls today snapped Delhi Dreams unbeaten run and registered their first win in the Champions Tennis League (CTL) at the CLTA complex here.

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Coming back as wounded tigers the team comprising Leander Paes, Garbine Muguruza and Somdev Devvarman gave the capacity crowd a lot to cheer about by winning four of the five sets for a massive 29-18 win. Paes once again put up a great fight in the legends singles, stretching a much-younger Juan Carlos Ferrero to the tie-break.

CTL: Punjab Marshalls register first victory

Delhi's Ferrero has been the most impressive of the senior players in the tournament so far, but Paes, 41 put his 34-year-old opponent on the backfoot with his smart moves and down-the-line play. The Spaniard eventually took the tie-breaker 5-2 to give the Delhi team a slim lead.

But soon Marshalls took charge and not daunted by the narrow loss in the singles, Paes combined with Spain's Muguruza to crush Kevin Anderson and Jelena Jankovic in the mixed doubles clash to Punjab the lead for the first time in the League.

Muguruza then overcame a late stutter to overcome Jankovic 6-5 (5-1) in the women's singles. The aggressive Spaniard seemed more comfortable with the pace of the court as she raced to a 4-2 lead. She had been in that position during the away-leg against Delhi on Monday too but squandered the lead, and looked on verge of repeating it.

She was serving for the set at 5-3 and was 40-15 ahead when Jankovic scripted another unlikely comeback. With the game at deuce, the Marshalls decided to save their free point till later. Jankovic won the point and with the no-ad rule in place, the game too.

But Muguruza picked up the pace again in the tie-break, winning five straight points to clinch the deal. In the men's doubles, Paes and Somdev kept up their winning run as they breezed past Anderson and Sanam Singh 6-3. Though Somdev has looked shaky in the men's singles encounter so far, losing both his previous matches 1-6, the Indian ace found his range.

He dominated from the baseline to down world no 16 Anderson 6-3 and give Punjab a fighting chance of making it to the final. With this victory, Punjab have 69 points from three matches. Delhi though continue to top the northern group with 70 points, while Mumbai have 46 points from two matches.

PTI

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