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Champions Tennis League: 'Home' support fails to inspire Leander Paes

sports Updated: Nov 21, 2014 01:41 IST
Kuldeep Panwar
Kuldeep Panwar
Hindustan Times

The calls of 'come on Leander' from every quarter of the CLTA stadium were loud and clear in Chandigarh on Thursday.

The home crowd, which had gathered to cheer for the Punjab Marshalls in their Champions Tennis League match against the Mumbai Tennis Masters, wanted nothing less from their hero.

The Indian warhorse, who unlike other veterans in this league is still active at the highest level of the game, also gave it his best.

In the opening match, the legends' singles, Leander Paes rallied against Sergi Bruguera, coming back from 2-4 to tie the scoreline at 5-5 by using the advantage point Punjab had won through a hit-the-target contest. It's another matter that Bruguera got the better of Paes in the ensuing tiebreaker to register a 6-5 (5-2) win.

From there on, things only got worse for the home side, as Paes and Garbine Muguruza lost the mixed doubles against Tommy Robredo and Alize Cornet 3-6. At the time of going to print, Punjab Marshalls were trailing 0-2.

Fair turnout

Fearing a low turnout, the host franchise threw open the gates, and the ploy worked to an extent, as the tie saw a fair turnout despite the chill.

The venue, with an approximate capacity of 2,000, had close to 1,000 people, a shift from the previous matches, though the number kept decreasing as the game progressed.