After six matches at the beginning of the 2016 IPTL, UAE Royals have a slender lead over their rivals and have looked in red-hot form.
The UAE Royals were led into battle by 2001 Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic in the opening match against defending champions Singapore Slammers. Ivanisevic still plays a fantastic level of tennis and continues to be one of the brightest sparks among the legends playing this fun IPTL format.
Another great addition to the IPTL and the UAE Royals is Martina Hingis. It has been over a year since Hingis played a singles match of any kind and she beat Roland Garros semi-finalist Kiki Bertens and former Wimbledon semi-finalist Kirsten Flipkens on the singles court. The variation of shot and ability to cover every dimension of the court was something to behold as Bertens could not live with the speed of foot of Hingis.
UAE Royals won two tight matches against Singapore Slammers and Indian Aces, but struggled to rediscover that form against the Japan Warriors, where an inspired Kei Nishikori really turned it on against Berdych in front of his home supporters in Japan. Vitally for the Royals, they managed to claim 20 games, which signifies that they earned a bonus point. Any losing team that wins 20 or more games qualifies for that crucial bonus point, which leaves Royals at the top of the leaderboard on 7 points overall.
Ana Ivanovic joins the UAE Royals in the second leg in Singapore. An interesting talking point will be whether the team captain opts to pick Ivanovic over Hingis or whether they will switch between the two. The Royals have an embarrassment of riches at their disposal in the coming days and will need the depth in squad to rival the Indian Aces who are hot under their collar in second place.
(Featured Image Credit: IPTL Facebook/Ella Ling)
The next round will take place in Singapore, 6-8 December.
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