MATCH REPORT: Murray makes a grand entry, beats Federer as Slammers topple Royals

ANDY MURRAY’S HEROICS in his first match of this year’s International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) helped the Singapore Slammers beat the UAE Royals (27-24) in Dubai yesterday. 

Both teams were tied at 15 games apiece and it was anybody’s ball game from there on. But it was Murray who played some inspired tennis in the men’s doubles and later on beat Roger Federer in the singles event to seal the tie for his team. 

After yesterday’s win, the Slammers have moved to the second position on the points table, while the Royals have slipped to the fourth place. 

First up, Slammers’ Carlos Moya started well by taking the early lead for 2-0. On the other hand, Goran Ivanisevic struggled on his serve and failed to get any momentum. That said, the Spaniard played some consistent tennis to keep the Croat at bay and served out for the set 6-4 without much fuss.

The women’s singles saw some bizarre tennis from Karolina Pliskova and Kristina Mladenovic. Both women played shoddy service games and relied on breaking each other’s serve. Although, the French lady took the early lead, but the Czech hit back to level the match at 5-5. 

In the end, it was fitting that the volatile set had to be decided by a shoot-out. Here, Pliskova came up with some big time tennis to nail the protracted set 6-5. 

In the mixed doubles, Murray/Bencic struggled as a team, while Nestor/Mladenovic wasted little time in getting their noses in front. The Royals’ pair stuck to their ploy of attacking serve and came up with some intelligent shots at the net.

In the middle of the set, Nick Kyrgios was called in as a substitute for Murray and the Slammers showed signs of fighting back, but couldn’t stop their opponents from winning the set comfortably 6-3.

In the men’s doubles action, Cilic/Federer played some brilliant tennis and looked determined to win the set for the local fans, but the pair of Murray/Nestor came up with spectacular shots of their own to push the set into another shoot-out. However, big serving coupled with errors from Royals’ pair saw the Slammers seal another 6-5 set in the bag. 

In the fifth and final set of the evening, Murray and Federer lived up to the hype and produced some high-octane tennis from the back court. Like always, both men indulged in some slices, teasing one another.

Just when it looked like the Swiss maestro would register his first win of the tournament, the Brit hit back with a break and wrapped up the set 6-4 and the match for his team. 

Speaking after the win Murray said, 

“It was good fun. All the guys and girls on the team seem to be getting on really well, not just on the court, they’ve been practicing all the time together, meeting up for lunch and dinners and stuff. They’re obviously getting on really well and yeah, I had a good time. They were all good with me when I had lunch with them today, trying to get to know them a little bit better. A few of them I know pretty well already.”

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