The much-awaited inaugural International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) got off to a flying start with the Indian Aces notching an impressive 26-16 first victory against the Singapore Slammers at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila.
Aces player-coach Fabrice Santoro won the toss and elected to serve and the evening started with the mixed doubles match of Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza of the Indian Aces against the Singapore Slammers pairing of Bruno Soares and Daniela Hantuchova.
After being broken early, Soares and Hantuchova broke back but the clever shot-making of Bopanna and Sania ultimately won them the first set 6-4.
Past champions singles followed with Santoro playing against Australian legend Patrick Rafter, and on the way giving the crowds the league's first shootout at 5-5 in the set, which Santoro took to lead two sets to love.
Tomas Berdych, Nick Kyrgios, Ana Ivanovic and Gael Monfils showed their class by taking the last three sets with relative ease, with the Aces prevailing easily with a terrific win over the Slammers.
"The crowd was amazing, they were really into the match. It was great to see and made the match more exciting. I'm really happy to spend time with all of the players on the team bench," said Ivanovic.
"The team spirit is great, we laugh a lot and make jokes and really support each other during points. It's very interesting to get into the team spirit because we don't get it that much in tennis because we are always travelling. It was a great match and also fun format."
In the second match of the day, the UAE Royals, despite not having Novak Djokovic or Eugenie Bouchard, proved to be too strong for the home team the Manila Mavericks, with Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Maria Sharapova all unable to help their team to a maiden victory.
Results: Indian Aces 26-16 Singapore Slammers
Mixed doubles: Rohan Bopanna/Sania Mirza (Aces) bt Bruno Soares/Daniela Hantuchova (Slammers) 6-4
Past Champions' Singles: Fabrice Santoro (Aces) bt Patrick Rafter (Slammers) 6-5
Men's doubles: Rohan Bopanna/Gael Monfils (Aces) lost to Tomas Berdych/Nick Kyrgios (Slammers) 6-2
Women's singles: Ana Ivanovic (Aces) bt Daniela Hantuchova (Slammers) 6-0
Men's singles: Gael Monfils (Aces) bt Lleyton Hewitt (Slammers) 6-1.