FRENCH star Gael Monfils and Indian netter Rohan Bopanna beat Nenad Zimonjic and Marin Cilic, 6-4, in the third, and the Frenchman beat Malek Jaziri, 6-3, in the fourth set to put the Indian Aces ahead by a wide margin en route to a 28-20 win over the UAE Royals on Sunday in the International Premier Tennis League at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Fan favorite Ana Ivanovic lost to Kristina Mladenovic, 6-4, but Monfils came up with the needed points to help the Aces finish the Manila leg undefeated.
Ivanovic got off to a poor start, with her late comeback falling short against Mladenovic.
Monfils won despite a fresh Jaziri coming in to replace Cilic using the unique IPTL rule where a player can be substituted at any time during the match.
Doubles specialist Sania Mirza and Bopanna beat Mladenovic and Zimonjic, 6-3, in the second set while Fabrice Santoro downed Goran Ivanesevic, 6-4, in the legends singles.
“I’m a low key player in this team because there are a lot of great players in this team,” said Santoro.
After a victory over the Maria Sharapova and Andy Murray-led Manila Mavericks on Saturday night, the Royals suffered their first loss to end the Manila leg with a 2-1 slate.
Ivanovic double faulted for a break point by Mladenovic for a 2-1 lead. So frustrated was the world No. 5 when she committed another double fault in the sixth game that Ivanovic attempted to kick the ball to the crowd.
Trailing 1-5, Ivanovic found her groove, breaking Mladenovic’s serve in the eighth before scoring an ace in the next game to cut the deficit to 4-5.
Ivanovic’s comeback came to a halt with Mladenovic clinching the set by saving three breakpoints.
Monfils entertained the Filipino crowd, dancing at several points during breaks. He also led the Aces to a dance to celebrate the win.
“It helps that Gael keeps it funny for us. We are trying to win, but more important, we are having fun. We have the best dancer on the tour,” said Mirza.