Delhi Dreams were off to a splendid start in the inaugural Champions Tennis League (CTL), winning all the singles matches for a 25-19 victory over Punjab Marshalls in the tournament-opener, here today.
According to the league format, the team that wins more games wins the tie and not the sets. Juan Carlos Ferrero provided a fiery start to the hosts as he routed Greg Rusedski 6-1 in the legends singles to put the hosts ahead.
World No.15 Jelena Jankovic from Serbia shrugged off a poor start to beat Garbine Muguruza 6-5 (5-3) in the women’s singles and Kevin Anderson spanked Somdev Devvarman 6-1 in the deciding men’s singles when Delhi were leading Punjab by a slender one-game margin.
Punjab, having charismatic Leander Paes, won the mixed doubles and men’s doubles. Paes featured in both the matches.
Punjab’s hopes hinged on Somdev but the 6 feet 8 inches tall Anderson showed why he is world number 16 as he demolished the challenge of the India’s number one player in a matter of minutes. The South African sprayed winners all over the centre court with a hapless Somdev gasping.
The Indian, ranked 139, could hold his serve only in the first game of the match and was broken in third, fifth and seventh games as close to 1000 fans watched their hero go down.
Ferrero hardly broke a sweat in outplaying the 41-year old Briton Rusedsky as the Delhi player needed just 19 minutes to provide a winning side to his side.
Nicknamed ‘mosquito’ in his playing days for his agility, Ferrero conceded just four points on his serve and broke his rival thrice.
The 2007 US Open finalist, Rusdeski, seven years older than Ferrero, fired two aces but hardly put up a challenge to the 2003 French Open winner. Ferrero hit a backhand winner past Rusedski at 40-40 in the seventh game to close the match.