Mladenovic shines as UAE Royals beat Singapore in IPTL
Video by INQUIRER.net’s Ryan Leagogo
MANILA, Philippines — The UAE Royals rode on Kristina Mladenovic’s superb play to beat the Singapore Slammers during the second day of the inaugural leg of the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The French star Mladenovic dominated Daniela Hantuchova in their women’s singles match, 6-1, and the Royals went on to beat the Slammers, 28-22, for their second win in as many games.
“We’re glad to be up two wins,” said the 21-year-old Mladenovic said Saturday. “We really have a great team.”
Mladenovic’s brilliant performance came just a day after she dropped a 6-5 decision to crowd-darling Maria Sharapova of the Manila Mavericks despite taking a 5-2 advantage.
“I think today I was better. I just dropped a little bit of concentration,” Mladenovic said on losing to Sharapova.
The Royals, who beat the Mavericks, 23-18, last Sunday, started their game against the Slammers with a win by Marin Cilic over Tomas Berdych, 6-4, in the men’s singles.
The Slammers tied it at 1 with a victory by Berdych and a game Nick Krygios in the men’s doubles.
Kyrgios, the 19-year-old Australian, got the crowd going with his energy. He laid flat on his back then raised his arms after clinching the men’s doubles match like he just won a Grand Slam.
Kyrgios also sparked the Slammers’ campaign in the mixed doubles when he subbed in and nailed three straight service aces and gave his team a 7-4 win in the five-minute shootout.
“It was a lot of fun. I was scared because he could smash the ball. I couldn’t return any of the ball(s),” Mladenovic said on being at the receiving end of Kyrgios’ powerful serves.
Tennis greats Goran Ivanisevic and Pat Rafter also gave the crowd an entertaining match in the legends singles with Ivanisevic outwitting Rafter.
Ivanisevic interacted with the fans and even blew kisses to the crowd after a female fan shouted “I love you, Goran” and “I love you again, Goran” as the Croatian Grand Slam winner scored twice on service aces.
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