Rafa Nadal excites Manila as Indian Aces sweep UAE Royals

BIG-TIME. Rafael Nadal was welcomed with rousing applause in Manila. Photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler

BIG-TIME. Rafael Nadal was welcomed with rousing applause in Manila.

Photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Rafael Nadal walked onto the hardcourt of the Mall of Asia Arena and was instantly the crowd favorite. Wearing his trademark headband and displaying his powerful backhand, he then proceeded to show why he’s currently ranked no. 5 in the world.

When all 5 sets were over, the Micromax Indian Aces were celebrating a 30 games to 18 victory over the OBI UAE Royals to open day two of the 2015 IPTL Manila leg on Monday, December 7.

WORLD NO. 5. Rafael Nadal showed the Philippines why he's ranked among the best tennis players in the world. Photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler

WORLD NO. 5. Rafael Nadal showed the Philippines why he's ranked among the best tennis players in the world.

Photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler

Nadal’s first taste of action came in the fourth set, where he teamed up with Ivan Dodig in men’s doubles action against Daniel Nestor and Tomas Berdych, who were out-matched from the start.

After Nadal and Dodig won the set 6-3, he faced Berdych in men’s singles action for the match’s fifth and final set. Berdych raced off to a quick 3 games to 0 lead, but the Spanish tennis star rallied and took 5 of the next 6 sets.

Berdych won a fifth game to force a shoot-out where he took a 2-1 lead before Nadal was able to score 3 straight. Berdych then committed 3 errors late, awarding Nadal the win and a 2-0 sweep in his IPTL debut.

“Yes, good time. Thank you very much. I’m very happy,” Nadal said after the game to the crowd, some of whom were sporting signs that said "Manila loves Rafa."

“Fantastic crowd here in the Philippines,” he said.

In the earlier sets, the superb duo of Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza continued their winning ways with a 6-4 win over Daniel Nestor and Kristina Mladenovic in the mixed doubles. 

In women’s singles, Samantha Stosur wrapped up a 6-3 victory over Mladenovic. In the third set, Fabrice Santoro defeated Goran Ivanisevic in the men’s legend’s singles.

The Aces scored on 72 first serves and 60 unforced errors by the Royals.

The Aces improved to 82-64, which currently tops the IPTL, while the Royals dropped to 92-94.

Results:

Bopanna/Mirza d Nestor/Mladenovic, 6-4

Stosur d Mladenovic, 6-3

Santoro d Ivanisevic, 6-3

Nadal/Dodig d Nestor/Berdych, 6-3

Nadal d Berdych, 6-5 (7-3)

– Rappler.com