14 times Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal produced a brilliant performance to guide the Indian Aces to a commendable 30-18 victory against UAE Royals on his International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) debut for his team in Manila on Monday.
It was an interesting match between two equally strong teams, both with two wins each under their belt. Ultimately, it was Indian Aces who took the match away with the full score reading 30-18.
Royals coach J.L. De Jager won the toss and elected to serve, and to start with the mixed doubles. The ace doubles chemistry of Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna was too much to deal with for the Royals as Aces won the set 6-4.
The women’s singles saw Sam Stosur face off with Ana Ivanovic, and even a substitution with Mladenovic did not help Royals, with Aces winning it convincingly 6-3.
The men’s legends singles saw some fine tennis with Fabrice Santoro chipping and slicing the ball with his magical backhand strokes. In an evenly contested game, the Frenchman won it 6-3 over Goran Ivanisevic representing Royals.
Tennis fans got to see some incredible doubles tennis action in the next match. Ultimately, Nadal and Ivan Dodig won it for Aces 6-3.
In the most awaited match of the evening, Nadal and Thomas Berdych showcased some top quality competitive tennis action, fighting point for point, with absolute precision, taking the match all the way to the shoot-out.
In a set that could have gone either ways, it was Nadal who clinched victory for his team winning it 6-5.
After the match Nadal said: “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, its superbly organised, all the players love, and it’s great for the sport of tennis to be able to go to new markets.
“I am looking forward to playing in Delhi, my first time there. I’ve played a few times in Chennai. I also have a centre of my foundation in Anantapur, and I’m happy that some children from that centre will be able to come to the games in Delhi,” the Spaniard added.