Raonic stuns Nadal in PHI Mavericks' perfect home stand
Mark Escarlote on Dec 08, 2015 10:55 PM
The PHI Mavericks completed a three-match sweep of the IPTL Manila leg.
Milos Raonic played the hero’s role for the Philippine Mavericks Tuesday night in the final playdate of the International Premier Tennis League in Manila with an exciting tiebreak shootout victory against Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal.
The Mavericks put a dent on the defending champion Micromax Indian Aces’ erstwhile unbeaten record with a hard-earned 25–24 triumph highlighted by Raonic’s tough stand against the “King of Clay”.
The Canadian netter pulled off a huge upset over former world no. 1 and nine-time French Open winner Rafael Nadal, 6(7)-5(6), in the deciding men’s singles to carry the Mavericks to its fourth straight win and a perfect slate in their three-day home stand at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
It was a nip and tuck battle between Raonic and Nadal with the Maverick bet needing to pull deep from his bag of tricks to finally silence the 14-time Grand Slam winner, who was cheered by fans like he was the one playing for the home team.
Nadal fought his way back from a 4-5 deficit in their showdown to force a shootout. He went ahead 5-3 in the race-to-seven shootout but the 24-year-old Raonic, who pumped three service aces, claimed three of the battle’s last four points to walk away with the victory.
The Mavericks improved their record to 4-1 while putting a halt on the Aces’ three-game winning romp as the competition heads to New Delhi in India on Thursday which will feature an early rematch between the two squads.
World no. 1 Serena Williams tied the contest at 19-all in the fourth match with a 6-3 domination of Samantha Stosur in the women’s singles to set up the exciting decider between Nadal and Raonic.
The 21-time Grand Slam titlist mowed down the 2011 US Open champion Stosur with eight winners and broke the Aussie twice for Williams’ overpowering win – her third straight singles victory in their home turf.
Sweet-serving Mark Philippoussis rained down six aces and uncorked 16 winners to overwhelm Fabrice Santoro, 6-4, in the men’s legends singles to open the Mavericks’ stand.
However, Nadal and Ivan Dodig’s 6-4 win in the men’s doubles against Richard Gasquet and Edouard Roger-Vasselin tied the match score at 10-10.
The Aces pair spoiled Gasquet and Roger-Vasselin’s attempt to force a tiebreak shootout when Nadal and Dodig won a called power point after the 10th game got tangled at 30-30.
Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza gave the Aces their first taste of the lead, 16-13, after dismantling Williams and her Filipino partner Treat Huey, 6-3, in the mixed doubles.
The Indian tandem fought back from an early 1-2 deficit with three straight points to take a 4-2 lead. Williams and Huey cut their deficit to a solitary point only to see the Aces claim the last two markers to end the match.
Meanwhile, Czech netter Tomas Berdych provided the pivotal points for the OBI United Arab Emirates in his 6-4 men’s singles win over Nick Kyrgios to help the Royals edge out the OUE Singapore Slammers, 26-23, in a duel that was decided in the last showdown of the five-match contest.
The Royals entered the last match of the night with a slim 20-19 lead after Berdych and Daniel Nestor dropped their men’s doubles match against Kyrgios and Marcelo Melo, 2-6, that paved the way for an exciting windup.
But Berdych won’t be denied of a heroic performance as he overcame the four aces blasted by his Australian opponent, who was plagued by 11 unforced errors.
It is UAE’s only win in the Manila leg after bowing down in the first two days against the Mavericks and Aces.
Serbian Ana Ivanovic finally won a singles match for the Royals in a tight 6(7)-5(5) decision over Karolina Pliskova.
Goran Ivanisevic delivered a 6-4 win for UAE in the men’s legends singles over Carlos Moya while Nestor and Kristina Mladenovic outplayed the Singapore tandem of Kyrgios and Belinda Bencic, 6-4, in the mixed doubles.
The Slammers slid to 2-3 record in fourth place.
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