THE IN-FORM PUNJAB MARSHALLS will take on a winless Mumbai Tennis Masters in the sixth match of the Champions Tennis League (CTL) at the CLTA Tennis Stadium in Chandigarh, today.
The hosts have won both their matches in the Group A and are sitting pretty on top of the points table. The Marshalls have also beaten the Masters in Mumbai early this week and will be brimming with confidence to stay unbeaten. Meanwhile, the visitors have lost both their matches back home and will be desperate to get onto the scoreboard.
For the hosts, Marcos Baghdatis has played the role of an anchor to a nicety. His doubles partner, Saketh Myneni too, has held his ground firmly and has become an integral part of their success. However, the success of Elina Svitolina thus far has been the biggest plus for Punjab and has certainly lifted their spirits.
On the other hand, Mumbai will continue to rely on their captain Richard Krajicek and Flavia Pennetta to drive home the advantage. TFG analyses the game and picks the winner of the Marshalls V Masters match.
If their clash in Mumbai a few days back is anything to go by, then we can expect old-school serve and volley contest to continue. The Dutch got the better of the Brit in a close tie-breaker and should be reasonably confident of repeating the same tonight. However, Rusedski was clinical against Thomas Muster yesterday and will have the support of his home fans. Tough to pick a clear winner here but another tight finish on cards awaits.
Punjab’s Svitolina was arguably the best player in yesterday’s tie. The Ukrainian played some lights out tennis to dismiss Alize Cornet. Svitolina is timing the ball well and seems to be high on confidence. However, Mumbai’s Flavia Pennetta has already beaten Svitolina convincingly in their previous clash and should have enough fire-power to overcome the challenge again.
The contest between Santiago Giraldo/Pennetta and Baghdatis/Svitolina has all the makings of providing an entertaining and gripping contest. The two teams have met before and it was the Punjab pair that triumphed without much trouble. Baghdatis/Svitolina might have lost their set yesterday against Cornet/Agut but time spent on the court with some clever co-ordination should see the Punjab pair come through.
The men’s doubles too should go in the favour of Baghdatis/Myneni. Having beaten the pair of Giraldo/S Balaji in Mumbai, the Punjab team should fancy their chances. While, Myneni’s game should complement Baghdatis, Balaji could be a weak link in the Mumbai team. Expect some breaks of serve in the match.
In the fifth and final set of the tie, Baghdatis and Giraldo are likely to engage in some long, intense rallies from the baseline. Both players are comfortable from the back court and wouldn’t be tempted to charge into the net. Baghdatis is ranked higher than Giraldo in the ATP rankings and the Cypriot will enter this contest as a heavy favourite. A tie-breaker cannot be ruled out here.
The Marshalls seem to have ticked all their boxes. Current form, unity in the team, and crowd support should see the home team continue their winning streak. Meanwhile, Mumbai's struggle of putting points on the scoreboard might continue.