Bengaluru, Nov 20: A smiling Marcos Baghdatis remained calm under pressure to win two successive tie-breakers and helped Pune Marathas edge Bangalore Raptors in a thrilling South Group match in the Champions Tennis League (CTL) here tonight.
After losing opening two matches, Pune bounced back to take the next three, including a double tie-breaker in the fifth to win by 25-24 margin at the KSLTA Stadium, which was making its CTL debut.
CTL has a different format. Here, every game equals to one point. At the end of a nail-biting encounter, the visitors won by one game.
With the home crowd rooting for Feliciano Lopez (Spain) in the fifth and final match, Baghdatis overcame that and also his opponent in the battle of nerves in the Men's Singles.
The 29-year-old Baghdatis from Cyprus, won the match 6-5 (5-3 in the tie-breaker). With this scoreline, the overall games stood at 24-all.
To break this deadlock, both left-handed Lopez and Baghdatis played out another 9-point tie-breaker where Baghatis sealed the issue with a convincing 5-1 verdict.
"It was a tough match. I was under pressure. We all gave our best and it paid off," Baghdatis said after the match. "Fighting spirit won us the game. We are a great team," he added.
When asked how he managed to keep himself smiling under pressure, he explained, "By smiling I relaxed. It helped me serve better. I am happy to have won."
Earlier, Bangalore took the lead with Thomas Enqvist (Sweden) defeating Pat Cash (Australia) in the Legends game 6-3. Soon the advantage doubled with former world number 1 Venus Williams (USA) and Lopez putting it across world number 6 Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) and Baghdatis in the Mixed Doubles 6-3.
Leading 12-6 entering in the third match, it was now the Women's Singles between Venus and Radwanska. The Polish player won 6-3 and in the following Men's Doubles, Baghdatis and Saketh Myneni (India) got the better of Lopez and Ramkumar Ramanathan (India) 6-4.
Today's was Bangalore's second straight loss while Pune registered two wins in a row after having won another close game against Hyderabad Aces 26-25 couple of days back (November 18). Bangalore had lost their opening match to Hyderabad.
Tomorrow, Bangalore face Hyderabad at home (8PM IST) while Pune's next match is also against Bangalore at home on November 23.
Results - Pune beat Bangalore 25-24