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Tennis: UAE Royals close in on Indian Aces after Delhi spectacle

Roger Federer won five of his six sets in Delhi, but his doubles win with Gael Monfils– with Pete Sampras (far left) among teammates cheering them on – was not enough to save Indian Aces from a loss to the UAE Royals on Monday night. Photos: AFP.

Roger Federer won five of his six sets in Delhi, but his shootout win with Gael Monfils – with Pete Sampras (far left) among cheering teammates – was not enough to save Indian Aces from a loss to UAE Royals on Monday night. Photos: AFP.

December 9, 2014: World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and the Musafir.com UAE Royals defeated Roger Federer, Pete Sampras and the Micromax Indian Aces 29-22 in the final match of the IPTL’s third leg in Delhi to move within three points of the leaders heading to the Dubai finale, which starts on Thursday.

 

The Indian Aces lead the competition with 30 points, three ahead of UAE Royals and Manila Mavericks, who moved to 27 points by beating DBS Singapore Slammers 23-17 and consigning the basement dwellers to their third straight defeat at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium.

 

The Aces led the Royals and Mavericks by three points at the start of the three-day Delhi leg and extended their lead by winning their first two home matches, with Roger Federer delighting the crowds by winning all three of his sets in Sunday’s 26-16 romp over the suffering Slammers.

 

However, the Royals toppled the hosts in a star-studded match on Monday night, with Kristina Mladenovic setting the ball rolling by upsetting World No. 5 Ana Ivanovic 6-5 in the women’s singles.

 

Goran Ivanisevic, the 2001 Wimbledon champion, then increased the UAE team’s lead by winning 6-3 against Sampras, the 14-time Grand Slam champion, and his replacement Fabrice Santoro in the past champions’ singles.

 

Federer – who replaced Rohan Bopanna – and India’s own Sania Mirza then lost 6-2 to Mladenovic and Nenad Zimonjic in the mixed before Federer and Gael Monfils pulled a game back by beating Djokovic and Zimonjic 6-5 in the men’s doubles.

 

Although the UAE had effectively already secured the win, the crowd had waited for the much-hyped showdown between the game’s top two ranked players, a showdown that didn’t disappoint as Federer, winner of 17 Grand Slam singles titles, beat Djokovic 6-5 after a shootout.

 

“Playing Novak here in India was special. It was a thrilling match and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think we both played a good game at a great level. I think he struggled initially, but managed to pull up in the end. I was also very happy with my level of performance,” Federer said.

 

“I’m very happy that I have been able to participate in this new format of tennis this year. It is exciting. I think what makes the difference is the team support on court, the excitement in the crowd and the fans. This couldn’t have worked out better for me.”

 

Djokovic, who played two matches in Delhi, will spearhead the Royals at home in the UAE as both the hosts and the Mavericks look to catch the Aces and win the US$1 million prize money.

 

Coca-Cola IPTL presented by Qatar Airways (after Delhi leg)

Pos.     Team                                         M         W         D         L          Pts

1          Micromax Indian Aces           9          6          0          3          30

2          Musafir.com UAE Royals      9          5          0          4          27

3          Manila Mavericks                    9          5          0          4          27

4          DBS Singapore Slammers      9          2          0          7          17

 

Results: Delhi (Leg 3)

06/12/2014:     Musafir.com UAE Royals 29-16 DBS Singapore Slammers

06/12/2014:     Micromax Indian Aces 26-25 Manila Mavericks

07/12/2014:     Micromax Indian Aces 26-16 DBS Singapore Slammers

07/12/2014:     Manila Mavericks 27-24 Musafir.com UAE Royals

08/12/2014:     Manila Mavericks 23-17 DBS Singapore Slammers

08/12/2014:     Micromax Indian Aces 22-29 Musafir.com UAE Royals

 

Results: Singapore (Leg 2)

02/12/2014:     Micromax Indian Aces 30-11 Musafir.com UAE Royals

02/12/2014:     DBS Singapore Slammers 19-27 Manila Mavericks

03/12/2014:     Manila Mavericks 21-26 Musafir.com UAE Royals

03/12/2014:     DBS Singapore Slammers 24-23 Micromax Indian Aces

04/12/2014:     Manila Mavericks 25-20 Micromax Indian Aces

04/12/2014:     DBS Singapore Slammers 27-25 Musafir.com UAE Royals

 

Results: Manila (Leg 1)

28/11/2014:     Micromax Indian Aces 26-16 DBS Singapore Slammers

28/11/2014:     Manila Mavericks 24-29 Musafir.com UAE Royals

29/11/2014:     Musafir.com UAE Royals 28-22 DBS Singapore Slammers

29/11/2014:     Manila Mavericks 15-24 Micromax Indian Aces

30/11/2014:     Musafir.com UAE Royals 20-28 Micromax Indian Aces

30/11/2014:     Manila Mavericks 27-19 DBS Singapore Slammers

 

Source: IPTL (www.iptlworld.com); Editing by SportAsia

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