New Delhi, Dec 12 (IANS) Indian Aces shrugged off the absence of their star player Rafael Nadal to maintain their winning streak with a 26-21 victory over Japan Warriors at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium here on Friday. The mixed doubles duo of Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna gave the Aces a flying start with a 6-4 win over Mirjana Lucic and Pierre-Hugues Herbert. This was Sania-Bopanna’s sixth consecutive win in the mixed doubles event of this tournament. Agnieszka Radwanska outgunned Kurumi Nara 6-2 in the women’s singles to double the Aces’ lead. 

The Warriors pulled one back when Leander Paes and Herbert edged out Bopanna and Ivan Dogig 6-5 (7-5) in the men’s doubles. But Aces captain Fabrice Santoro ensured that his team continued to hold on to the lead by defeating Thomas Enqvist 6-3 in the men’s legends singles category. Though the men’s singles set went Japan’s way after Herbert beat Phillip Kohlschreiber 6-3 it was a a case of too little too late. In the earlier match, Singapore Slammers defeated the Philippine Mavericks 30-22. Singapore were off to a terrific start, winning all their matches with aplomb. 

This was the second defeat in as many days for the Mavericks in the third leg of the competition. The contest saw three of the five games going to the shoot-out. The Slammers have now climbed to the second spot on the points table. Former World No.1 Carlos Moya gave Singapore the lead straight away with a 6-4 win over Mark Philippoussis in the men’s legends singles category. The mixed doubles pair of Dustin Brown and Karolina Pliskova fought back a strong challenge from Treat Huey and Jarmila Gajdosova to snatch a 6-5 win. The teams were tied 5-5 before the Singapore duo won the shoot-out 7-2 to take the set. In the women’s singles, rising star Belinda Bencic delivered yet another win for the Slammers by beating AjlaTomljanovic 6-3 in just 25 minutes. The men’s doubles saw some sensational tennis as the Slammers duo of Nick Kyrgios and Marcelo Melo had to sweat it out to beat Mavericks’ Huey and Eduard Roger-Vasseline 6-5 (7-5). The set was locked at 4-4 before the Mavericks duo took the lead after Kyrgios smashed the ball into the net. Mavericks though could not convert the lead into a win as the Slammers took the game to the shoot-out. 

The shoot-out was also a close affair as the Slammers enjoyed a slim lead at 3-2 but a powerpoint decision in their favour was enough for them to clinch the set. In the men’s singles, Kyrgios and Roger-Vasselin showcased superb tennis, with the Australian firing 10 aces against two by the Frenchman. Kyrgios finally won it in the shoot-out, to close the set at 6-5 for his team.

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