CTL MATCH REPORT: Resilient Verdasco helps Chennai to a consolation win over Nagpur

THE V CHENNAI WARRIORS finally broke their jinx of losing three consecutive matches in the Champions Tennis League (CTL) after winning their final game against the Nagpur Orangers at the Nagpur District Hard Court Tennis Association, in Nagpur. 

After losing their opening two sets and trailing (7-10 games). the Warriors, with some inspired tennis from Fernando Verdasco came out swinging to seal the next three sets (22-18).

Team Chennai sure didn’t start their tournament on a high, but the debutants certainly finished their 2015 CTL campaign positively. 

Like always, Rainer Schuettler and Alex Corretja started proceedings for the evening and Chennai’s captain broke his counterpart in the very first game. However, the Spaniard responded by quickly leveling things in the next game.

Over the next few games, both men had little problems holding serve. However, a few errors from the German proved costly and Corretja grabbed the set in a sudden death point 5-3. 

It was the turn of Nagpur’s Jelena Jankovic and Chennai’s Heather Watson to take to the court and after a few quiet games, the Serb broke her opponent to move ahead. Just when it appeared that Jankovic would capitalize, Watson hit back in the sixth game and leveled the match. 

Both women indulged in some heavy ball striking from the back court and the set had to be decided by a tie-breaker. In the end, it was Jankovic, who nailed the tight breaker 5-4. 

With both sets going in favour of the hosts, Warriors had to respond quickly. However, it was the pair of Jankovic/F Lopez who broke Watson/F Verdasco in the fourth game to nudge ahead. That said, the Chennai duo with some inspired play broke back to get even. 

This set too, headed into a tie-breaker and with some accurate serving from Watson and sublime net play by Verdasco, the Warriors got the job done 5-4. 

After three sets, the score read, Nagpur: 14 Chennai: 12

Verdasco stayed on the court for the men’s doubles and kept exerting pressure on Lopez/Divij Sharan. Verdasco’s partner, Vishnu Vardhan too showed some consistency at the net and the pair ended up breaking Nagpur’s duo in the fourth game. 

Vardhan/Verdasco continued their dominance and broke their opponents for the second time to comfortably nail the set 5-1. 

At two sets all and 17-15, the Warriors were almost guaranteed of a win. After Nagpur’s premier player Lopez withdrew from the singles action, citing sickness, team Chennai were moments away from sealing their first win of the 2015 CTL season.

India’s Davis Cupper, Sharan took the court and displayed great courage and ability. Sharan did enthrall the home crowd with some spectacular shots, but Verdasco’s firepower and consistency proved too much for the Indian to handle. In the end, Verdasco sealed the set quite comfortably 5-3.  

The Nagpur Rangers will have another chance to qualify for the finals as they host the Hyderabad Aces tomorrow. 

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