Nadal beats Federer as Indian Aces crush UAE Royals

There was no dearth of enthusiasm among the 10,000 spectators, who warmed themselves up despite the biting cold outside. If one half of the stadium chanted 'Rafa, Rafa,' the other half responded with 'Roger, Roger.'

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal during the IPTL match in New Delhi.   -  The Hindu

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have taken their rivalry to such an exalted level that any clash involving the two titans in the remotest corner of the globe would attract more than a decent crowd. No wonder, an ecstatic Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium witnessed the biggest congregation of fans this season as the two legends of the sport came face to face in the second edition of the International Premier Tennis League here on Saturday.

It was not in distant past that Federer, then playing for Indian Aces, and Novak Djokovic, representing UAE Royals, had weaved magic at the same venue in the first edition. One would only get disappointed by comparing that atmosphere, studded with some of the biggest celebrities, with the one which had pitted the great Swiss against the iconic Spaniard.

However, there was no dearth of enthusiasm among the 10,000 spectators, who warmed themselves up despite the biting cold outside. If one half of the stadium chanted 'Rafa, Rafa,' the other half responded with 'Roger, Roger.'

It did not matter who won. That Federer, donning the Royals' colours, now played against Aces and Nadal replaced the 17-time Grand Slam champion in the home team had little impact on those who have worshiped them over the years. Their only ambition was to see the two superstars in action.

From the time the two practised on one side of the court to the time they featured in a men's doubles set and then in the much-awaited one-on-one contest, the crescendo of loud cheers kept rising incredibly. Each of their act was a moment to marvel.

The set of the evening, after the Basel final where Federer beat Nadal on Novermber 1, had its moments to cherish. Amidst Nadal's cracking forehand, admirable court coverage and Federer's exquisite backhand winners and precise aces, the Spaniard broke his opponent in first and fifth and the Swiss broke back in fourth and sixth. The tie-breaker, which went in Nadal's favour, was another treat to watch.

Nadal winning the contest 6-5 (4) had a bigger imprint on the mind than Aces outsmarting Royals 30-19.

Before that Nadal and Rohan Bopanna had beaten Federer and Marin Cilic 6-4 to ensure the host's win. Bopanna and Sania Mirza bagged the mixed doubles set, while Agnieszka Radwanska and Fabrice Santoro grabbed women's singles and legend's singles sets respectively.

Earlier, Singapore Slammers defeated Legendari Japan Warriors 24-22.

Results:

Singapore Slammers bt Legendari Japan Warriors 24-22 [Carlos Moya lost to Thomas Enqvist 6-2, Karolina Pliskova-Dustin Brown bt Kirsten Flipkens-Leander Paes 6-4, Belinda Bencic bt Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, Marcelo Melo-Nick Kyrgios lost to Leander Paes-Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, Nick Kyrgios bt Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-5 (3)]; Indian Aces bt UAE Royals 30-19 [Rohan Bopanna-Sania Mirza bt Daniel Nestor-Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, Agnieszka Radwanska bt Kristina Mladenovic 6-1, Fabrice Santoro bt Goran Ivanisevic 6-5 (4), Rafael Nadal-Rohan Bopanna bt Roger Federer-Marin Cilic 6-4, Rafael Nadal bt Roger Federer 6-5 (4)].