Japan: In a superb performance, Martina Hingis led her team to the top of the table of the Coca-Cola International Premier Tennis League 2016, that bids farewell to Japan on Sunday before moving on to Singapore.
From the very beginning, the Dubai-based team showed confidence and resilience and John-Laffnie de Jager, the captain and coach, could have not been prouder.
Winning four sets, the Royals wrapped up the first leg on a high note: 30-20 against the Indian Aces and a privileged position at the top.
Thomas Johansson made the most of his debut with a magnificent win over Mark Philippoussis that saw the Swede fire 13 winners in what was the best start possible for the Royals on the last day of action in Japan.
Martina Hingis kept rolling back the years and showed once again that her singles skills are very much in perfect state. The UAE Royals' only female player present in Japan faced Kirsten Flipkens, who, once again, broke her opponent when returning to stay in the set. This time, though, the Swiss avoided the Shoot-Out and broke back to win an outstanding set.
Hingis didn't have a rest and faced her beloved friend and former doubles partner, Sania Mirza, in the Mixed Doubles Set. Mirza teamed up with Bopanna, whereas Hingis took to the court with Pablo Cuevas. It was meant to be for the Royals' in Match 1, as Hingis/Cuevas made just 3 unforced errors en route to victory over the Aces.
Tomas Berdych edged Feliciano López in the Men's Singles set, thanks to a remarkable 17 winners. In the last set, the Men's Doubles, Bopanna and López forced overtime after taking the Shoot-Out but couldn't complete a comeback as Daniel Nestor, partnering Cuevas, served out the draw.
It was the icing on the cake that concluded a perfect match for the Royals.