Kobe: Defending champions Indian Aces bounced back in style to beat Singapore Slammers 27-20 and record their second successive win in the Japan leg of the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) season two here on Friday.
In an evenly contested match, both teams were tied at two sets apiece with the decisive men's singles to follow.
Aces' ace singles player Gael Monfils had to sit out with a hamstring injury and he was replaced by Ivan Dodig to face Nick Kyrgios.
Dodig proved too hot for the Australian, securing the set 6-3. The fifth set saw plenty of lobs and leaps with Kyrgios determined not to let any shot pass him through. Monfils though not on the court, was supporting his team on the bench.
Earlier, the match started with a classic encounter with legends of the game in action - Fabrice Santoro of Aces taking on former world number one Carlos Moya. In a thrilling encounter that reached 5 games all and after 6-6 in the tie-break, it was Moya's winning stroke that gave Slammers the lead.
Slammers extended their advantage in the women's singles with Karolina Pliskova defeat Samantha Stosur 6-4.
Aces fought back through Rohan Bopanna and Dodig, who got the better of Marcelo Melo and Dustin Brown in the men's doubles.
Staying on the court with Sania Mirza, Bopanna won it yet again for the Aces by brushing aside Belinda Bencic and Melo 6-3 in the mixed doubles.
"It was a great match. Once I broke him, it was easy to get my rhythm back. Frankly the match could go either way. I think the IPTL is a great concept, and a great competition. For us legends it's great because we don't get to see such huge crowds support us anymore. For the active men's & women's players, the team competition is great, and it is good training in the off season. I talk to a lot of them, and they all love it," said Moya.
Santoro added: "It was great to win the match today, make it two in a row. The team is in good spirit, we love the bonding, next three weeks we will be together, eat together, train together, and we enjoy it."
Later in the day, Philippine Mavericks defeated home team Japan Warriors 28-24 for their first win of the season.
The mixed doubles pairing of Serena Williams and Treat Huey outplayed Leander Paes and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-3 to hand Mavericks the early advantage.
In the men's doubles, Richard Gasquet and Eduardo Roger-Vasselin had to dig deep against Paes and Pierre-Hugues Herbert before taking the set 6-5 in a tie-break.
Milos Raonic also needed a tie-break to overcome the challenge posed by home hero Kei Nishikori in the men's singles. After the third set, Mavericks enjoyed an 18-13 lead over Warriors.
It was now time for the legend's singles with Mark Philippoussis taking on Marat Safin. The fourth set too went into a tie-break with the Australian winning 6-5.
An almost unthinkable happened for Warriors to win a set in the match. And it happened in the fifth and final set where world number 81 Kurumi Nara stunned world number one Serena Williams 6-4. Their on court battle lasted 30 minutes.
The next leg of IPTL takes place in Manila from Sunday.