IPTL: Rafa-led Aces crush Mavericks

Nadal, the 14-time Grand Slam winner, combined with India's Rohan Bopanna to win the men's doubles before closing the contest with a reasonably comfortable win in the men's singles over French opponent Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who is a doubles specialist.

Leander Paes (right) and Hugues Herbert during their men's doubles tie.   -  PTI

Virat Kohli (centre) watching the game with Sania Mirza.   -  PTI

The majestic forehand, the spectacular backhand, the splendid court coverage – everything evoked exclamations aplenty as Rafael Nadal treated some die-hard tennis fans with glimpses of his greatness and helped the Indian Aces record a thumping 30-12 win over Philippine Mavericks in its first home match of the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium here on Thursday.

The crowd enjoyed their Nadal moments to the hilt as much as the Spaniard relished his followers' support and the fun tennis at a newer venue. Nadal teamed up with Indian double expert Rohan Bopanna to beat Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Treat Huey 6-4 in the men's doubles encounter before taming Vasselin with an identical margin.

Earlier, Legendari Japan Warriors rallied from being six games down to beat a formidable UAE Royals 24-21 for its first victory.

All eyes on Nadal

In about an hour, in which he featured in two sets, Nadal cast such a spell that he overshadowed the presence of two Indian stars, Sania Mirza and Bopanna, in the Aces team. In fact, the two Indians gave the defending champion a bright start by outplaying Treat Huey and Ajla Tomljanovic 6-2 in the opening set.

Agnieszka Radwanska and Fabrice Santoro bagged the women's singles and legends' singles respectively to give the host an unassailable 18-4 lead.

Nadal and Bopanna extended the margin further. The 14-time Grand Slam winner raced to a 4-0 lead against Vasselin in the men's singles and dropped his pace a little before cruising to victory. He celebrated with his arms wide open after seeing the French player hit one into the net.

Herbert bails out Warriors

Warriors required a diligent player like Piere-Hugues Herbert to bail it out with some positive tennis. The 24-year-old, who partnered with fellow Frechman Nicolas Mahut to reach the Australian Open and US Open men's doubles finals and the clinched the year-ending Glam Slam title earlier this year, showed how good he was as a team man.

Herbert joined hands with seasoned doubles specialist Leander Paes to stop the Royals, which enjoyed a comfortable 12-6 lead, with a 6-3 verdict against Tomas Berdych and Daniel Nestor. This was the first win for the Indo-French pair in three outings.

Paes' fine net play and creativity played a crucial role in helping Warriors stage a fightback.

Herbert punched above his weight and beating world No. 5 Berdych 6-4 and joined forces with Mirjana Lucic-Baroni to beat the experienced Nestor-Kristina Mladenovic combination 6-2.

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