The two teams are currently on top of the IPTL 2015 leaderboard, with the Aces leading the Mavericks on win percentage. They last met in Manila, on the Philippine Mavericks’ home turf, with virtually nothing separating the squads as they went neck-and-neck through the tie.
In the end, it was the Mavericks who would edge out the Indian Aces of Rafael Nadal. With both teams tied in terms of game scores and Nadal and his Mavericks rival Milos Raonic tied at 5 games apiece in the final set of that tie, it was the Canadian who pulled off an upset against the former World No. 1, thereby ending the Indian Aces’ winning streak.
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Although the Aces’ side is the stronger in theory, the Philippine Mavericks have some serious firepower and ahead of the tie promised to test their opponents.
Here’s how the second tie between the teams went:
Mixed Doubles: Mirza/Bopanna (Indian Aces) vs Huey/Tomljanovic (Philippine Mavericks)
Doubles World No. 1 Mirza, ably partnered by doubles ace Rohan Bopanna, took on the pair of Treat Huey and Serena Williams in the teams' last tie in Manila and defeated them.
With Williams concluding her run at the 2015 IPTL, Huey was paired today with Croat-Australian Ajla Tomljanovic, who is currently at 65th in the WTA rankings. Tomljanovic’s best performance at a Grand Slam saw her reach the 4th round at last year’s French Open, but she's had a hard time on the WTA circuit this year, not having progressed beyond the round of 32 at any event.
Tomljanovic is new to the IPTL, just like her pairing wtih Huey, and that likely hampered their performance against the experienced Mirza and Bopanna.
The all-Indian pair breezed past their rivals, with 13 winners to their rivals’ 4, pulling three aces out of their bag of tricks as they won the set 6-2, giving the Indian Aces the lead.
Result: Mirza/Bopanna def. Huey/Tomljanovic 6-2
Women’s Singles: Agnieszka Radwanska (Indian Aces) vs Jarmila Gajdosova (Philippine Mavericks)
Although this is the first IPTL 2015 match for both, it was Gajdosova who would be at a disadvantage. The Slovak-born Australian player, who competed in the 2012 London Olympics, is ranked 106th, while the WTA final-winning Radwanska is a top 10 player and going up against her
Predictably, the Australian, who has had a less-than-stellar year on the WTA circuit, struggled against the Polish ace. Managing no aces, the 22-year-old could only muster 5 winners, and was routed 6-1 by Radwanska.
Radwanska’s win meant the Aces would lead 12-3.
Result: Radwanska def. Gajdosova 6-1
Men’s Legend Singles: Fabrice Santoro (Indian Aces) vs Mark Philippoussis (Philippine Mavericks)
The Frenchman, who also coaches the Indian Aces, has played well against his competitors, but has lacked consistency in his performances. During the previous tie between the Aces and the Mavericks, Santoro was not at his best – and that reflected as he went down to the ‘Scud’ 4-6.
Although Philippoussis managed 5 winners to Santoro’s two, he committed four times as many unforced errors as his French competitor. Santoro was quick and athletic, and with his powerful backhand overcame Philippoussis’ big serves.
The Australian led his competitor in the pair’s professional head-to-head, having won 5 of their 7 meetings, but was left completely dumbfounded today, as Santoro steamrolled him 6-1 to take victory for the Aces. The win gave the Indian Aces an 18-4 lead.
Result: Santoro def. Philippoussis 6-1
Men’s Doubles: Nadal/Bopanna (Indian Aces) vs Roger-Vasselin/Huey (Philippine Mavericks)
Nadal last played the doubles with another doubles specialist - Croatia’s Ivan Dodig – in the last tie between the Aces and the Mavericks where they defeated the French pair of Richard Gasquet and Edouard Roger-Vasselin.
The Indo-Spanish pair continued the Aces’ unbeaten doubles run this tournament. With the less-experienced Treat Huey brought on instead of Gasquet, it looked to be easy work for the Aces.
Bopanna and Nadal hit a mammoth 15 aces on course to victory over the Philippine Mavericks, clearing the match out 6-4. The win meant the Indian Aces went forward in their unassailable lead, up 24 games to the Mavericks’ 8.
Result: Nadal/Bopanna def. Roger-Vasselin/Huey 6-4
Men’s Singles: Rafael Nadal (Indian Aces) vs Edouard Roger-Vasselin (Philippine Mavericks)
The Mavericks played 14th-ranked singles specialist Milos Raonic when the Aces last faced off against the Mavericks, and to good effect. The Canadian challenged his Spanish rival and former No. 1, managing not only to break him several times but take him to a tiebreak, one that Raonic would eventually win as he also took the tie for his team.
Tonight, the Mavericks went with what many would consider an ‘odd’ choice – French doubles expert Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who is a top-20 in the category, but not even top 100 in the singles.
Unexpectedly, the men’s singles was the only close match of the night. Both Nadal and Roger-Vasselin managed to break each other once, and the Frenchman even managed more aces than the King of Clay. With virtually nothing separating the pair in terms of winners hit or unforced errors committed, the set went to 5-4 at one point, looking as if it could go either way.
With some extremly quick and precise shots, it was Nadal who eventually closed that match, taking a 6-4 victory. That victory sealed the set and match in favour of the Indian Aces, who decimated the Philippine Mavericks lineup to take a 30-12 victory.
Result: Nadal def. Roger-Vasselin 6-4