Tennis

Pune Marathas pulls off a great escape

SUPERIOR COURTCRAFT: Pune's AgnieszkaRadwanska wore down Martina Hingis, running herfrom side to side and firing winners to the cornerstime and again. Photo: Mohammed Yousuf   | Photo Credit: Mohammed_Yousuf;Mohammed_Yousuf

Pune Marathas fought back from 0-2 and prevailed over Hyderabad Aces 26-25 when Marcos Baghdatis defeated Mikhail Youzhny 6-5(5-2) in the deciding rubber of the Champions Tennis League at the Sports Authority of Telangana Tennis Complex on Tuesday.

The host was off to a rousing start but caved in subsequently.

The showdown of the legends was an all-Aussie affair — Pat Cash for the Pune Marathas, headband in place, raring to go against Mark Philippoussis. The latter may be almost a decade younger, but it was no dad’s army duel, with Cash’s transition shots giving him the upper hand early in the match.

Cash, stockier than when he was in his prime, played with the gusto of a schoolboy out to have some fun in the sun. His rushes to the net proved productive but when they became once too often, he was passed time and again. As against a dominating forehand on Monday, it was Philippoussis’s blistering backhand that boomed.

There was style to Cash’s crosscourt volleys, but with age not on his side, it wasn’t long before he ran out of steam. Broken in the seventh, the dice was loaded against him and before long the former Wimbledon champion went down 6-3.

Agnieszka Radwanska faced few hiccups in subduing Martina Hingis 6-3. The Pole’s sliced kills, unerring in accuracy, brooked next to no challenge from the former World No.1. The vociferous support of the home crowd could do little to shore up the Swiss Miss’s counter attack, often outdone as she was, with the odds stacked against her.

Hingis’s dependence on smart tennis let her down on Tuesday. Radwanska, currently World No.6, had her senior opponent on the run, many times down the length of the baseline, firing winners to the corners time and again.

As the match advanced, Hingis wouldn’t even to attempt to retrieve those returns, resigned to the fact that they were out of reach. Although she all but had Radwanska on the mat in the fifth and seventh games, Hingis couldn’t quite deliver the knockout punch. Instead she allowed the Australian Open semifinalist to stage a comeback in both and hold serve if not the whip hand.

There were glimpses, though, of why Hingis was a World No.1. In the seventh, her interception of an offensive lob, way over head and to her backhand was nothing short of outstanding.

The results:

Pune Marathas bt Hyderabad Aces 26-25 [Pat Cash lost to Mark Philippoussis 3-6, Marcos Baghdatis & Agnieszka Radwanska lost to Mikhail Youzhny & Martina Hingis 5-6(3-5); Radwanska bt Hingis 6-3, Baghdatis & Saketh Myneni bt Youzhny & Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan 6-5(5-3); Baghdatis bt Youzhny 6-5(5-2)].

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2020 12:17:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/champions-tennis-league-pune-marathas-pulls-off-a-great-escape/article6612166.ece

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