Indian Aces spoil Sharapova, Nishikori-led Japan Warriors debut
Alder Almo (Philstar.com) - December 2, 2015 - 8:05pm

MANILA, Philippines -- Crowd darling Maria Sharapova and hometown hero Kei Nikishori won the hearts of the packed Kobe Hall with scintillating set victories but they were not enough to lift the new team Legendari Japan Warriors against the defending champion Micromax Indian Aces on Wednesday at the start of the Coca-Cola International Premier Tennis League Season 2. 

The Aces piled up on points despite winning only two sets to grab a close 26-25 victory to open their back-to-back title bid. 

Sharapova teamed up with boyish-looking Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France in the mixed doubles and the home crowd inspired them to turn back the formidable pair of Rohan Bopanna and Sonia Mirza, 6-5.

In the women's singles match, Sharapova brought the momentum of her stellar play in the mixed doubles hitting three aces in her 6-4 romp of former World No. 4 Samantha Stosur. 

With the match slipping away out of their hands, the Aces came back with a vengeance by taking the next two sets in convincing fashion. 

The Aces' team captain Fabrice Santoro handily won the Legends set against Marat Safin, 6-2, then the energetic Gael Monfils teamed up with Bopanna in a 6-4 win against Nikishori and Herbert in the men's doubles play to grab the upper hand, 21-18. 

“I don’t usually play doubles. So I was happy with how Herbert did a great job today, especially his volley, in the doubles game tonight," Nishikori later said."I could not hit the ball comfortably today, but I will make sure I adjust to the court and do my best tomorrow.” 

In the much awaited match of the evening, Nishikori was backed up by a loud home crowd as he beat Monfils in 32 action-packed minutes, 6-4, but it was not enough to overcome the Aces' margin. 

The Aces will take a rest in Day Two while the Warriors will seek its first IPTL victory against the other opening day winner UAE Royals in the main match. 

 

ACES COCA-COLA INTERNATIONAL PREMIER TENNIS LEAGUE SEASON DAY TWO FABRICE SANTORO GAEL MONFILS KEI NIKISHORI KOBE HALL LEGENDARI JAPAN WARRIORS MARAT SAFIN MARIA SHARAPOVA NBSP
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