UAE Royals nip Singapore Slammers in IPTL thriller to end Manila leg on positive note
Ana Ivanovic of the UAE Royals outlasted Karolina Pliskova, 6-5, in a battle of beauties in the women’s singles of the IPTL Manila leg on Tuesday. Jerome Ascano

THE UAE Royals refused to come up empty-handed in Manila as they turned back the Singapore Slammers, 26-23, on Tuesday in the last day of the second leg of the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) Season Two.

The Royals won all but one of their five sets, but the showdown was anything but a blowout as, in one of the rare times this leg, it took the last set to decide the match.

It was the first win for the Royals in the Manila leg after losing to the Mavericks, 29-18, on opening day and bowing to the Indian Aces, 30-18, on Monday.

The Royals took the first three sets. Ana Ivanovic outlasted Karolina Pliskova, 6-5, in a battle of beauties in the women’s singles, before Goran Ivanisevic repulsed Carlos Moya, 6-4, in the legends singles.

Daniel Nestor and Kristina Mladenovic then defeated Nick Kyrgios and Belinda Bencic, 6-4, in the mixed doubles.

The Slammers caught up in the fourth-set mixed doubles where Kyrgios and Macelo Melo dominated Tomas Berdych and Nestor, 6-2, that set the stage for the thrilling finish.

Berdych, though, proved steadier against the hard-hitting Kyrgios to prevail, 6-4.

“It’s always a pleasure to win especially if it’s the deciding one,” Berdych, fifth-ranked netter in the world, said.

“It was important for us to get our rhythm back,” Ivanisevic added.

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