Impressive wins by world number six Agnieszka Radwanska and seasoned Marcos Baghdatis paved the way for Pune Marathas's close 26-25 victory over Hyderabad Aces in the Champions Tennis League (CTL) at the LB Stadium on Tuesday.
In a format where the final result is decided on the basis of aggregate score of the five-match tie, Pune bagged 26 points while Hyderabad obtained 25.
The five matches are in the category of Legends (singles), Mixed Doubles, Women's Singles, Men's Doubles and Men's Singles.
The highlight of the day was the singles clash between Hyderabad's Martina Hingis and Pune's Radwanska, who is currently ranked sixth in the world.
In a keen battle, the two star players tried to outsmart each other, regaling the spectators with their powerful shots and long rallies.
The young Polish player grabbed an early 3-0 lead but Hingis, a top player in the past, fought back to make the score 4-2 as the strong Hyderabad crowd cheered her on.
The agile Radwanska, however, managed to maintain her lead and finally beat her formidable rival by a 6-3 margin.
Former Australian player Mark Phillippoussis gave an early lead to Hyderabad Aces with a 6-3 win over compatriot and veteran Pat Cash of Pune Marathas in the first (Legends category) of the five matches.
It was a clash of the teacher versus student as Phillippoussis was once coached by Cash and the former managed to snatch a win.
Cash (49), who was Wimbledon champion in 1987 and won six titles in his illustrious career, appeared to have an edge initially with a score of 3-2. However, Phillippoussis, who was known to have one of the fastest serves in the game, fought back to gain the lead. The lead only grew as the match progressed and Phillippoussis had a convincing 6-3 win.
The second match, in mixed doubles category, between Mikhail Youzhny and Martina Hingis of Hyderabad and Marcos Baghdatis and Agnieszka Radwanska of Pune was an interesting affair with both sides leaving no stone unturned to grab the opportunity.
Delhi lead Mumbai 2-1 in CTL encounter
Meanwhile, Alize Cornet pulled one back for the Mumbai Tennis Masters with a spirited victory over Jelena Jankovic even as Delhi Dreams led in their North Group match 2-1.
The Mumbai team was trailing by 8 games after losing the legends singles and mixed doubles but Cornet kept her side's hopes alive with a hard-fought 6-3 win over the Serbian.
Delhi still enjoy a five-point lead over the visitors and need to do extremely well in the last two matches. Juan Carlos Ferrero yet again provided a great start to Delhi dreams with a convincing 6-2 win over Sergi Bruguera.
In the contest between the two claycourt masters of the past it was the younger legend Ferraro, who called the shots.
He put his side ahead with his tremendous ground strokes, still looking sharp after two years of his retirement. If the 2003 French Open winner Ferrero dominated with his fierce ground strokes, Bruguera played some awe-inspiring drop shots.
Bruguera, the two-time Roland Garros champion, though was no match to Ferrero as unforced errors flew from the racquet of the 43-year-old unabatedly.
The 34-year-old Ferrero needed only 22 minutes to dismantle his senior compatriot.
With the same scoreline, Kevin Anderson and Jelena Jankovic outplayed the Mumbai pair of Alize Cornet and Tommy Robredo to double Delhi's lead.
Former world number one Jankovic then got ready for the women's singles match with his team leading by a healthy eight-game margin.
However, the Serb found the going tough as Cornet came out all guns blazing, determined to bring her side back in the hunt. The world number 19 Frenchwoman, who has beaten Serena Williams thrice this season, broke Jelena in the fourth game and held the next for a healthy 4-1 lead.
It was a chilly evening with temperature dropping fast but Cornet's court coverage with swift movements and powerful strokes hotted up the tie. She was serving for the set but dropped serve with double-handed backhand.
Jankovic raised the tempo of the match by saving five match points, fighting tooth and nail but Cornet finally sealed it for her Mumbai side when the Serb hit a backhand wide.
Image: Delhi Dreams' player Juan Carlos Ferrero in action against Mumbai Masters' player Sergei Bruguera during the CTL match in New Delhi.