IPTL Dubai: Karlovic downs Federer as Philippine Mavericks defeat UAE Royals 26-24

IPTL PHILIPPINE MAVERICKS VS OBI UAE ROYALSDubai: Playing on home turf at the opening day of the Coca-Cola IPTL 2015 here in Dubai, the Obi UAE Royals strutted on court to a rousing welcome. Led by tennis superstar Roger Federer and team mates Goran Ivanisevic, Marin Cilic, Kristina Mladenovic and Daniel Nestor, the UAE Royals had a thrilling contest with the Philippine Mavericks on the opening night at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium.

Symbolic of the competitive spirit of the IPTL where every game counts, though 3 sets down, the match was evening tied with a score of 20-20 at the end of the fourth set. The 5th set was the decider, with Ivo Karlovic delivering the goods for the Mavericks, winning the match 26-24 for his team.

Match Summary:

  • The legends singles saw James Blake coming in for the Mavericks, with Mark Philippoussis sitting out due to injury. Playing his first IPTL match, Blake caused an upset, winning over Ivanisevic in the shootout to close the set 6-5
  • In the women’s signles, Mladenovic settled the score at 1 set all, winnign over Tomjlanovic 6-2
  • Gajdosova/Roger-Vasselin gave the Mavericks a 2-1 lead winning the mixed doubles 6-5 in the shootout against Mladenovic/Cilic, in a match that saw some clever shot-making from both teams
  • Huey/Roger-Vasselin delivered yet another superb win for the Mavericks despite the strong pairing of Federer/Cilic for the Royals, winning the set 6-4
  • In the match-up of the evening, and the decider too with both teams tied at 20-all till this point in the match, playing for the UAE Royals, Federer came a cropper against IPTL-debutant Ivo Karlovic for the Mavericks. With 5 aces against 4 from Federer, Karlovic won the set 6-4

What the Players said:

Roger Federer: “It was a tough match today. We got off to a good start. We looked good there for a while. But the mixed doubles ran away with it. And in the singles, I always knew it would be a tough match, he’s a tough guy to play against, especially against him, and in this format, where things can turn around very quickly. But I loved it. I had a good time.” He added, “I’ve played 4 games so far, lost all four, it’s not the way you want it to be. It’s a quick format, anything can happen. The pressure in the IPTL Is different. You are playing with less pressure,you are not playing for ranking points, but there is pressure still. You have 5-6 guys sitting on the bench, motivating you … you want to do well for them, you want to do well for the team, you want to do well for the fans. So the pressure never really leaves. You see it with the legends, and you see how much they are going after it, and they retired a long time ago. And they’re still getting nervous when it gets important. That’s the beauty of playing tennis. That’s why it’s tough to hang up the racquet. Those are the moments you play for, even though you may not enjoy them the most, but those are the memories you enjoy the most!”

On his match-up against Andy Murray tomorrow, “Against Andy I’ve had some great matches. We match-up well, so one can expect a lot of slices, serve and volleys, some coming in, the court plays different than the tournament, definitely slower, so we’ll probably see a bit more rallies. I’m not sure how well and how much he’s been playing since his last match. But I’m feeling like I’m only going to get better from here on, so I’m looking forward to playing him here tomorrow.”

Match Scores:

Day 1 | 14th Dec’15
Match 20 | 7:30pm

Home Team


Away Team

Obi UAE Royals
Coach: JL De Jager



Philippine Mavericks
Coach: Mark Philippoussis


Goran Ivanisevic



*James Blake


Kristina Mladenovic



Ajla Tomljanovic












Roger Federer



Ivo Karlovic

*James Blake replaces Mark Philippoussis who is injured currently

Karlovic aces Federer to hand Philippine Mavericks a close victory