New Delhi: They came, they saw, they conquered! As the Coca-Cola IPTL settled into its third and last day in Delhi, there was palpable energy at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium. All eyes were set for the titanic clash of season, with the home team taking on the Obi UAE Royals in the second match of the day.
With Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal sitting on their respective team benches, the crowds had a tough time concentrating on the brilliant tennis on display … the home champions ultimately signing off with a superb win, a perfect score, to come out strong as ever on the league table as IPTL wound-up its Delhi leg on Saturday.
- Starting off with the mixed doubles, Sania Mirza/Rohan Bopanna showed their doubles magic once again, winning the opening set 6-4 against Mladenovic/Nestor, giving their team the perfect start into the match
- Agnieszka Radwanska backed up the success of the opening set for her team, by winning solidly against Kristina Mladenovic, closing it off 6-1 in twenty short minutes
- Vintage tennis was at its best when Fabrice Santoro played against Goran Ivanisevic of the Royals in the legend’s singles. Slicing the ball back onto the other court, Magician Santoro was a sheer delight with each shot that he returned. The spirit of competition at its highest, ultimately Santoro won it 6-5 in the shootout, the Aces now 3 sets up
- The men’s doubles saw Nadal/Bopanna pair up against Cilic/Federer of the Royals, a deafening roar from the 13,000+ audience eager to see their idols live in person. The ace pairing of Nadal/Bopanna proving far superior, winning the set 6-4 against the Royals. Match already in the bag, home fans had much to cheer about
- In what was possibly the most-eagerly awaited contest of Coca-Cola IPTL 2015, men’s singles action saw tennis’ most intense rivalry unravel right in front of a strong Delhi crowd, as Nadal and Federer faced off for their teams. Matching each other point for point, the set went down the wire, with Nadal coming out tops for his team, capping off a perfect 30 as the league wrapped up its Delhi schedule, heading off to Dubai next.
What the Players said:
Rafael Nadal: “I’m happy to play here against Roger and the crowd gave us a lot of love. I played here one day before, so in a sense I had an advantage, but playing Roger is always exciting.”
Roger Federer: “I had a slow start and Rafa already played a match here. The season’s just beginning, so I’m bound to be a bit rusty. Considering those circumstances, I played pretty well. Overall it was a great experience. I play in Dubai on 15th and 16th, followed by Singapore on 18th.” Ending the debate about IPTL as a concept, he added, “What is an exhibition? Is it a kids’ day exhibition where one’s hitting with Scooby Doo or is it one where 15,000 people have paid to watch us play? It is the question of who is in the crowd. To me this is serious tennis with a fun aspect of having a team high five you continuously. Call it an exhibition or not, it’s a fun concept. The legends deserve a shout out as well… they’re playing at such a good level even now.”
On his match-up with Rafa tonight, he added, “It’s a strange kind of pressure, because in the IPTL format, it could be a blowout and then you realise it was your only chance! We’re both very happy it went the distance.”
Day 1 | 12th Dec’15
Match 18 | 7:30pm
|Home Team||SCORE (GAMES)||Away Team|
Micromax Indian Aces
Coach: Fabrice Santoro
Obi UAE Royals
Coach: JL De Jager
|WOMEN’S SINGLES||Agnieszka Radwanska||6||1||Kristina Mladenovic|
|MEN’S LEGENDS SINGLES||Fabrice Santoro||6||5||Goran Ivanisevic|
|MEN’S SINGLES||Rafael Nadal||6||5||Roger Federer|