Singapore slams Japan in IPTL Manila Leg

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Belinda Bencic of Singapore Slammers returns the ball against Kurumi Nara of Japan Warriors during the Coca-Cola International Premier Tennis League on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. RENE H. DILAN

Belinda Bencic of Singapore Slammers returns the ball against Kurumi Nara of Japan Warriors during the Coca-Cola International Premier Tennis League on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. RENE H. DILAN

Spanish former world No. 1 Carlos Moya started the impressive run of the Singapore Slammers en route to a 29-20 win over the Japan Warriors on Sunday in the opening day of the Manila Leg of Coca-Cola International Premier Tennis League 2015 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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Moya, 39, showcased his strong backhand to whip fellow legend player Marat Safin of Russia 6-4 in the men’s legend singles first match before the Japanese team was able to bounce back in the men’s doubles courtesy of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Leander Paes.

“It was quiet difficult playing here in the hard court but I’ll get used to it,” Safin told reporters during the post game interview. “I’m really trying and hoping but it was really uncomfortable and I’m hoping next year, I will able to adapt.”

Herbert and Paes of the Warriors overcame a sluggish start to outclass Singapore Slammers’ Marcelo Melo and Dustin Brown 6 (7)-5 (6) to keep the game close with still three matches remaining. The French Herbert delivered a strong forehand in the finale to win the men’s doubles match.

But the 18-year-old Swiss Belinda Bencic widened the gap of Singapore once again to 20-14 in the third match after crushing Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-2 in the women’s singles third match. Bencic totally outplayed her Croatian counterpart.

Australian Nick Kyrgios of the Singapore Slammers also won his match against Philipp Kohlschreiber 6 (7)-5 (6) in the second men’s singles match.

“I’m looking forward to the experiences next year,” said Kyrgios. “I think in my game, it was good. I really enjoyed it and worked hard. Tonight is really, really good. I’m really happy playing here.”

Kyrgios and Bencic teamed up for the Singapore team in the mixed doubles to win over Herbert and Lucic-Baroni 6-3 in the mixed doubles last match.

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