Coming into the match, Punjab had a 4-point lead and a 5-game cushion to bank on, as it faced Raipur Rangers on their home ground at the Balbir Juneja Stadium. In what was touted as a virtual semi-final, Punjab Marshalls got off to a good start, with captain Greg Rusedski and Elina Svitolina winning their sets.

However, a setback in the mixed doubles and a hard-earned victory in men’s doubles put Marshalls on the backfoot. Rangers sensed a chance of winning the tie coming into the men’s doubles, but Marcos Baghdatis played spoilsport by pitching in when it mattered the most.

Down 3-5 in men’s singles, Marcos needed to win a game in overtime, as Punjab was leading 19-18. Rules of the tournament require the leading team to win the last game so that they can be declared winners. Marcos won the overtime game to hand Marshalls the victory with a 20-18 scoreline.

After the mixed doubles set, Punjab Marshalls held on to a slender 11-10 lead, as the deadly duo of Raipur Rangers Roberto Bautista Agut and Alize Cornet got the better of Baghdatis and Elina Svitolina 5-1.

In the women’s singles earlier, though Svitolina looked on course for an easy win against Cornet, the Ukrainian representing Punjab had to dig deep as Cornet fought back determined not to give in. Svitolina, who reached the semi-final of the WTA Elite Trophy in China last month, made some unforced errors and Cornet used the opportunity to crawl back into the set. But Eliza, being encouraged from the bench
by other Marshalls, clinched the set 5-3.

Marshalls’ captain Greg Rusedski scored another emphatic victory over Thomas Muster of Raipur Rangers. Rusedski broke the Rangers skipper twice to win 5-2 in the legends set.

Results: Punjab Marshalls v Raipur Rangers (Greg Rusedski bt Thomas Muster 5-2; Elina Svitolina bt Alize Cornet 5-3; Marcos Baghdatis/Svitolina lost to Roberto Bautista Agut/Cornet 1-5; Baghdatis/Saketh Myneni bt Agut/Ramkumar Ramanathan 5-3; Baghdatis lost to Agut 4-5 but wins the match in overtime).

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