Nadal helps Aces stay on top; Mavericks win again

Mark Escarlote on Dec 07, 2015 10:27 PM
Nadal helps Aces stay on top; Mavericks win again
Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal powered the Micromax Indian Aces to their third straight win in as many outings.

World No. 5 Rafael Nadal received a warm welcome from Filipino fans and the Spanish netter wowed the crowd that trooped the Mall of Asia Arena with a showcase of his skills that won him 14 Grand Slam titles.

Nadal in his first appearance in the International Premier Tennis League debuted in style winning his men’s doubles and singles match to cap the undefeated defending champion Micromax Indian Aces’ 30-18 domination of OBI United Arab Emirates Royals Monday night.      

“I heard some wonderful things about the IPTL from the players last year. I was looking forward to playing last year too, but had to pull out because of my appendicitis injury. But I’m really excited to be playing here today. It’s a great format, it’s superbly organized, all the players love, and it’s great for the sport of tennis to be able to go to new markets,” said the “King of Clay” who won nine French Open singles titles.

“It’s my first time here in Manila, and the crowd has been fantastic,” he added. “I did a tennis clinic here yesterday with the kids, and it felt wonderful. I love being with children, to help them play better.”

Host team Philippine Mavericks rolled to their third straight win and second on home turf with a 25-21 victory over struggling Legendari Japan Warriors to climb up at second place with a 3-1 win-loss record.

But it was Nadal and the now 3-0 Aces that hogged the spotlight.

The former world men’s top netter opened his stint with a 6-3 win with partner Ivan Dodig against the Royals’ Daniel Nestor and Tomas Berdych.

Nadal, who was replaced by Roger Federer last year in the Aces lineup, followed his doubles win with an exciting come-from-behind tiebreak shootout shock over Berdych, 6-5 (7-3).

Nadal fell behind 0-3 before scoring five of the next six points of the match to take a 5-4 lead. Berdych forced the shootout after the Czech scored on a service break.

Berdych went ahead, 2-1, in the shootout only to see Nadal steal the lead with five straight points sparked by a won power point. Berdych saved a point in the next play before yielding the match when his return hit the net.                           

The Mavericks opened their duel with Mark Philippoussis besting Thomas Enqvist, 6-2, in the men’s legends singles while Milos Raonic and world no. 1 Serena Williams trounced Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, 6-4, in the mixed doubles.

Williams obliterated Kurumi Nara, who defeated the American in their first meeting in Kobe, Japan last Dec. 4, and her substitute Lucic-Baroni, 6-3, in their singles showdown.        

Herbert and Leander Paes defeated Filipino Treat Huey and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, 6-4, while German Philipp Kohlschreiber booked the other win of the Warriors, listless in five outings, with a 6-3 triumph over Richard Gasquet in the men’s singles.  

Australian Samantha Stosur won in the women’s singles for the Aces, 6-3, against Ana Ivanovic and substitute Kristina Mladenovic.  

The 32-year-old Stosur, a multi-titled doubles specialist and 2011 US Open singles champion, outworked her Serbian opponent to build a 5-2 advantage in their match.

Mladenovic took over as substitute for Ivanovic, who bowed down to Williams Sunday night, and saved a point in their duel before Stosur sealed the win.       

Fabrice Santoro defeated Goran Ivanesevic, 6-3, in the men’s legends singles

In the mixed doubles, the Aces duo of Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza banked on their big service winners to outplay Royals’ Daniel Nestor and Mladenovic, 6-4, to open the contest.

Bopanna and Mirza shocked the UAE tandem with six aces and slammed 13 winners compared to Nestor and Mladenovic’s total of six.




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