Defending champions Indian Aces were handed their first defeat of the season by a brilliant Phillippine Mavericks team in the second International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) on Tuesday.
In a contest that went down to the wire, the Mavericks showed better nerves in crucial moments and ended on a high when Serbian Milos Raonic grabbed the fifth set after a nail-biting fight with France’s Rafeal Nadal.
The Aces found the going tough initially and made a disappointing start when France’s Fabrice Santoro failed to get across Australian Mark Philippoussis and lost the 31-minute duel 4-6 in the men’s legends singles.
In the men’s doubles, Ivan Dodig and Nadal brought the Aces back into the contest with a 6-4 victory over the combination of Richard Gasquet and Edouard Roger-Vasselin in a set that lasted for half an hour here.
Indian pair of Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza then earned the Aces a 2-1 lead when they sent the Filipino-American duo of Treat Huey and Serena Williams packing with a 6-3 win in the mixed doubles competition which lasted 22 minutes.
Lagging behind 1-2 after three sets, the Mavericks then rode on multiple-time Grand Slam winner, Serena Williams to roar back into the contest. Serena showed once again why she is one of the most revered player in the world as the American took 25 minutes to notch up a resounding 6-3 win over Australian Samantha Stosur in the women’s singles.
With the scores levelled, Nadal took the court against Raonic but the nine-time French Open champion failed to get his side across the line. After a 37-minute battle, Raonic edged out Nadal 6-5 (7-6) in the decider as the Aces ended the Manila leg on a disappointing note.