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Punjab Marshalls rely on experience to edge past Mumbai Tennis Masters in CTL opener

Flavia Pennetta, beat Elina Svitolina of the Punjab Marshalls 5-2, 

FORMER WORLD NO.8 Marcos Baghdatis came up with a dominating performance to beat Colombian Santiago Giraldo 5-4 in the men's singles match as visitors Punjab Marshalls defeated hosts Mumbai Tennis Masters 21-19 on the opening day of the Champions Tennis League (CTL) second season here on Monday.

As predicted by TFG, the Punjab team relied on the experience of especially Marcos Baghdatis, who has participated in the inaugural season of the CTL, to edge past the Mumbai Masters in a thriller on the opening day.

In the six team tournament featuring Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Raipur, Nagpur and Chennai, away side Punjab opened their season 2 campaign in style by taking an important lead at the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association here before facing Raipur Rangers at home on November 27.

The day started with the legend's match where Richard Krajicek of Mumbai beat Punjab's Greg Rusedski 5-4 in a close encounter which went to be wire before being decided in the tie-breaker.

Both retired players Krajicek and Rusedski despite being away from the court for years displayed their skills that was thoroughly enjoyed by the small crowd gathered in the stadium.

Next up was the women's singles match between former World No.1 Pennetta and Svitolina where the Italian clinched the set in a one sided encounter.

The game started in a sea-saw manner where both the players broke each other in the first two games. But from there on some quality serves, backhand shots and work at the nets helped Penneta win the battle 5-2 in style to make it 2-0 in favour of Mumbai.

With Mumbai leading 2-0, visitors Punjab had no other option but to come hard at their opponent in the next clash to stay in the match.

Mixed doubles pair of Cypriot's Marcos Baghdatis-Svitolina helped Punjab get back into the match by beating Colombian Santiago Giraldo and Pennetta of Mumbai 5-2. With this win Punjab opened their scoring to 1-2.

After winning the previous set, Punjab carried the momentum in the next and penultimate set of the day as men's doubles paring of Baghdatis and India's Saketh Myneni defeated Giraldo and India's Sriram Balaji 5-3 to level with Mumbai 2-2.

The final attraction of the day was the singles match between 30-year-old runner-up at the 2006 Australian Open Baghdatis and current World No. 92 Giraldo.

It was a close battle between the two players. Both served well and with some powerful shots from baseline saw the duo take the battle right at the end of the line into tie-break.

But Baghdatis held on to win the tie-break 5-3 and finally the set 5-4 to guide Punjab to a 21-19 win over Mumbai in their opening night.

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