HYDERABAD ACES AND Nagpur Orangers will battle it out for a place in the finals of the Champions Tennis League (CTL) at Nagpur District Hard Court Tennis Association in Nagpur, today.
Both teams are tied at 4 points each and it will be a direct shootout between the Aces and Orangers.
However, it’s the Aces who have an overall 6 games advantage over the Orangers. (As per the rules, overall tally of games matters in case of tie in points). In case of a washout, it will be the Aces, who will qualify for the finals.
Team Nagpur’s hopes will strongly rest on the shoulders of their premier, ATP star Feliciano Lopez. The Spaniard struggled on the court yesterday with sickness and the Orangers will be hoping that Lopez can make himself available with 100% fitness.
On the other hand, team Hyderabad will once again look to the giant Ivo Karlovic to see them through. TFG analyses the game and picks the winner of the match between Aces and Orangers.
In their previous set early in the week, it was Thomas Johansson who came out trumps against Alex Corretja. The Swede has used his serve to great effect in this tournament so far and will continue to win some cheap points. On the other side of the net, the Spaniard will stick to his grinding from the baseline. At the moment, Johansson holds the edge over Corretja and Hyderabad should get on the board early.
In the women’s singles, expect Nagpur’s Jelena Jankovic to come out firing on all cylinders. The Serb has exuded some brilliant shot making from the baseline and will try to out-hit her senior pro Martina Hingis. Meanwhile, the Swiss will try to cut the points short and at every given opportunity might look to approach the net. Firepower, consistency and victory in their previous encounter all bodes well for Jankovic here.
Lopez will be the key man for the Orangers in this clash. Hingis/Karlovic have reigned supreme in this league so far and will enter tonight’s clash as heavy favourites. The last time, these two pairs met, Hingis/Karlovic had little trouble in getting the win. Expect nothing different from the Hyderabad duo tonight. Big serves Karlovic and exquisite volleys from Hingis is a recipe the Aces will relish the most.
As seen earlier, the quality and experience of Nagpur’s Divij Sharan might make all the difference in this category. Sharan has played second fiddle role to Lopez with perfection. The Nagpur pair have shown great coordination and will fancy their chances over Karlovic/Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan.
Karlovic and Lopez will be under enormous pressure coming into the final set. Given the possible scenario of a shoot-out and going by their epic clash a week back, we could have a cracker of a final set to determine the finalists. That said, Lopez’s physical condition will be the key here. If the Spaniard can come out healthy and rejuvenated, it could all go down to the wire. But considering Lopez’s struggles yesterday and it is difficult to imagine the Croat going down here.
Another thriller of a tie awaits us and a fitter Lopez will be make for an intriguing contest. The Orangers are a confident bunch and have the ability to cause a scare or two in the Hyderabad camp. That said, for the evening, the Aces are nicely poised to overcome any threat from Nagpur and join the Punjab Marshalls in the CTL finals.