THE JAPAN WARRIORS produced a clinical performance in their final match of the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) against the Philippine Mavericks (29-15) yesterday in Singapore.
Winning only their second match of the tournament, the Warriors certainly put an end to the Mavericks’ hopes of qualifying for the finals. In the end, the Japan Warriors had a smashing victory by winning 4 sets out of 5.
First up, Warriors’ Marat Safin produced some brilliant tennis against Mavericks’ James Blake. The Russian was plagued with injuries in the tournament earlier but came out firing on all cylinders from the back court. Safin kept out-hitting the American and his double-handed backhand was a treat to watch. In the end, Safin nailed the first set without much drama 6-3.
In the second set, Kurumi Nara produced a clinical performance against the rusty Jarmila Gajdosova. While the Japanese remained consistent from the baseline, the Aussie kept shanking balls and made quite a few errors from the back court.
In the end, it was a comfortable win for Nara as she won the set 6-1 in just about 21 minutes. This crushing win also gave Japan a handsome lead over Philippine 12-4.
In the mixed doubles, Lucic-Baroni came up with some stunning shots and helped Leander Paes with amazing coordination and support. While the pair of Gajdosova/Vasselin tried to stay in the hunt, Baroni/Paes pressed home the advantage by breaking twice in the set. In the end, a combination of net play and baseline line attack helped the Warriors pair nail the set 6-2.
The men’s’ doubles produced the best set of the evening with all four players involved going for their shots. As expected the set went down to the wire and in the shoot-out, Roger-Vasselin/Huey stepped it up for the Mavericks against Herbert/Paes and grabbed a tightly fought set 6-5.
In the final set of the evening, Herbert once again played some incredible tennis to overcome the challenge of big serving Ivo Karlovic. The Croat tried serving bombs, but the Frenchman returned balls with interest and even broke his opponent to win the set quite convincingly 6-3.
After the win, Leander Paes said,
“I love this format of tennis. It was a great win today. I like playing with Herbert, he’s a great player, and has been in superb form this whole IPTL.”