CTL: Second straight loss for Punjab Marshalls

Chandigarh, Nov 21: Mumbai Tennis Masters defeated Punjab Marshalls 27-21 in a group match of Champions Tennis League (CTL) here. The Marshalls had earlier lost their first match to Delhi Dreams.

Schedule; Guide; Photos

The Marshalls fell behind in the northern group as they lost to Mumbai here last night. Delhi Dreams lead the group with 52 points while Mumbai are on 46. Punjab have 40 points after the first two matches.

Punjab Marshalls' Leander Paes and Garbine Muguruza

After teams have played four matches each, on a home and away basis, the group topper will proceed to the CTL final on November 26. Playing his first singles match since 2008, Leander Paes last night produced an inspired show but went down fighting to former French Open champion Sergi Bruguera as his Wave Punjab Marshalls team trailed 0-2 against Mumbai Tennis Masters in CTL.

Paes, who stepped in for an injured Greg Rusedski, as the 'legend' of the Punjab team, seemed to ride the wave of home crowd support. He fought back from 1-4 down, using the faster courts at the CLTA to his advantage to level 4-4.

At deuce, while serving at 4-5, Paes and the Punjab team used the free point rule to take the set into the tie-break. Though Bruguera seemed handcuffed on the forehand side for most of the single-set match, he seemed much more in control of the rallies in the tie-break and ran away for a 5-2 winner.

Recalling 1996 Atlanta Olympics

Paes and Bruguera had started the evening on a nostalgic note, speaking about sharing the podium at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. The Indian had won the bronze while Bruguera went home with a silver.

Punjab fell further behind as the pair of Paes and Garbine Muguruza went down 3-6 to Tommy Robredo and Alize Cornet. Mumbai's mixed doubles pair turned in a professional, solid performance, leading from start to finish to put their team in a strong position after two sets.

Punjab, however, fought back after a two sets to love deficit to level the match 2-2 as Garbine Muguruza won a closely-fought women's contest 6-5 while Paes and Somdev Devvarman clinched the men's doubles rubber.

Muguruza, however, came back stronger in the women's singles to edge out Cornet. The rising Spanish star, who is an aggressive baseliner, rose to the challenge on a cold Chandigarh evening past midnight to give her team a toe in.

Paes and Devvarman then levelled proceedings by beating Tommy Robredo and India's Sriram Balaji 6-4 after getting the only break in the 10th game. Robredo, ranked 17 in the world, however was too good on the day. He breezed through with a 6-1 victory over Devvarman to quash any hopes of a opposition comeback.


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