PHI Mavericks hand UAE Royals' first loss in IPTL

Mark Escarlote on Dec 06, 2015 11:16 PM
PHI Mavericks hand UAE Royals' first loss in IPTL
Serena Williams starred in the Philippine Mavericks' win over UAE Royals in IPTL.

World No. 1 Serena Williams' rousing women’s singles victory against Ana Ivanovic highlighted the host team Philippine Mavericks' 29-18 win that nicked the erstwhile undefeated record of the OBI United Arab Emirates Royals in the International Premier Tennis League Sunday night.

The 21-time majors champion Williams rebounded from a sorry loss in the mixed doubles with Filipino partner Treat Huey with a 6-3 demolition of Ivanovic.

"It's really exciting to play for the Mavericks," said Williams, who played for Singapore last year, as she was greeted by loud cheers from Pinoy fans that trooped the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City to witness world-class tennis action. "It's really, really cool to play here for the home fans."

The Mavericks improved their record to 2-1 to tie their victim.

Banking on his powerful returns and crisp ground strokes, Williams raced to an early 4-2 lead against Ivanovic. 

Trailing at 30-40 in the seventh game, Ivanovic used her power point privilege - a two-point game score if won - and the Serbian drew close 4-3 after Williams’ forehand return got caught in the net.

Williams scored the next two points of the match to finish off Ivanovic including the clinching service ace.

It was a fitting bounce back for Williams minutes after dropping the mixed doubles match 5-6 after a tightly-fought tiebreak shootout (7-6) against Daniel Nestor and Kristina Mladenovic.

Williams and Huey built an early 3-1 lead only to see the Royals take a 4-3 advantage.

The Mavericks tandem took the lead back 5-4 before the Royals pair forced a shootout.

Williams and Huey rallied with five straight points after falling behind,1-3, to get within shootout point of winning the match.

But the Royals team scored the last four points including a smart net play by Mladenovic to steal the match as the crowd cringed in dismay.

Mark Philippoussis opened for the Mavericks with a 6-2 win over Goran Ivanisevic in the men’s legends singles followed by Milos Raonic’s 6-4 victory against Tomas Berdych.  

Richard Gasquet and Edouard Roger Vasselin trounced Berdych and Nestor, 6-3, in the men’s doubles. 

Meanwhile, OUE Singapore buried the listless Legendari Japan Warriors deeper in the cellar with a – win in their match that opened the second leg of the tennis extravaganza.

The Slammers were led by the youthful Australian Nick Kyrgios and head-turner Swiss netter Belinda Bencic as OUE Singapore evened its win-loss record to 2-2.     

The 19-year-old Bencic was unstoppable in the women’s singles, winning the match 6-2 against Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who substituted for Kurumi Nara midway in the battle.

Kyrgios had a close-shaved 6-5 win over Philipp Kohlschreiber, needing a 7-5 shootout win in the tiebreak to dispose the 32-year-old German.

Kyrgios and Bencic teamed up in the mixed doubles to crush the duo of Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Lucic-Baroni, 6-3, to cap Singapore’s win.   

Carlos Moya sparked the Slammers’ romp with a 6-4 win over Marat Safin in the men’s legends singles.

The Warriors tandem of Leander Paes and Herbert saved Japan from a shutout with a 6-5 (7-5) victory over Marcelo Melo and Dustin Brown in the men’s doubles.                        





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