On the first day of the Indian Premier Tennis League’s Delhi leg on December 6, Micromax Indian Aces just managed to beat Manila Mavericks 26-25 and added 4 points to their league standings. On the second day, however, they had the mercurial Roger Federer playing for them in 3 out of the 5 sets and his first ever appearance on Indian soil proved highly fruitful to the Indian Aces as he won all the sets in which he featured. That helped the Indian Aces record a convincing 26-16 victory over the Singapore Slammers. At the end of two days in Delhi, the Aces dominate the tournament with 28 points. On second and third places, UAE Royals and Manila Mavericks each share 23 points with Singapore Slammers at the bottom with 16 points. Of the two days in Delhi’s Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, Sunday was highlighted by the arrival of the great Swiss star and he stole the limelight. Roger Federer had come to India for his first business visit and he was all over the place with his big performance. Tennis fans in Delhi couldn’t have asked for more as they watched the world’s best tennis player of the decade breaking into a dance with Gael Monfils with utter fascination. It was a treat to watch his Indian Aces teammates cheerfully applauding the big man’s histrionics on the court.
The Delhi leg of IPTL began on December 6, 2014 with the match between Musafir.com UAE Royals and DBS Singapore Slammers. The Royals were too good for the Slammers as they raced away to a 29-16 win. Except the women’s singles, Royals won all their sets convincingly. The match began with the men’s singles first set between Royals’ Marin Cilic and Slammers’ Lleyton Hewitt. After Cilic cruised to an easy 6-3 victory, the next set featured the men’s doubles pair of Nenad Zimonjic/Marin Cilic of Royals playing against Slammers’ Nick Kyrgios/Lleyton Hewitt. Royals took that set 6-2. The next two sets were also taken by the Royals as Goran Ivanisevic defeated Patrick Rafter 6-1 in the Men’s legend singles and Zimonjic/Mladenovic defeated Kyrgios/ Hantuchova 6-4 in the mixed doubles. The consolation victory for the Slammers came in the women’s singles, when Daniela Hantuchova defeated Caroline Wozniacki 6-5 in the shoot-out.
In the next match, Micromax Indian Aces met the Manila Mavericks. It was a closely-fought match with the Aces finally scoring a 26-25 win over the Mavericks. The Aces lost three sets but still emerged victorious as the tournament is all about winnings games and not sets. The mixed doubles pair of Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza lost 5-6 in the shoot-out against Daniel Nestor and Kirsten Flipkens; Cedric Pioline lost 4-6 against Mark Philippoussis and Gael Monfils lost 4-6 against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. There was another shoot-out in the men’s doubles set between Monfils/Bopanna and Treat Huey/Tsonga but Ana Ivanovic’s 6-2 win over Kirsten Flipkens brought the score to 25-25. The deadlock was broken by a seven-minute shoot-out between Monfils and Tsonga with Monfils emerging the winner.
On December 7, the first match featured Pete Sampras for the Indian Aces in the men’s legend category playing against Pat Rafter. Sampras lost 2-6 but that was the only match that the Aces would lose on Sunday. They had the legendary Swiss Roger Federer playing the next three sets for them to make the decisive difference. It all began with the mixed doubles match, in which Federer played with Sania Mirza and the two blanked out Kyrgios/Hantuchova 6-0. Next Federer played the men’s doubles with Bopanna and defeated Hewitt/Kyrgios 6-1. In his last set of the day, the big Swiss faced Tomas Berdych and won the men’s singles match 6-4. Ana Ivanovic completed the Aces’ great Sunday performance with a 6-5 shoot-out victory against Hantuchova.
In the second match, Manila Mavericks defeated UAE Royals. The first set was the legends’ singles, in which Mavericks’ Philippoussis beat Ivanisevic 6-3. This was followed by Royals’ Cilic defeating Tsonga 6-5 in a shoot-out. There was another shoot-out, in which Tsonga and Nestor beat Zimonjic and the world no.1 Novak Djokovic. Mavericks won the mixed doubles but lost the women’s singles and in the end, edged out the Royals 27-24.
Earlier in the day, Roger Federer was warmly greeted with a huge roar as he arrived in Delhi’s Indira Gandhi indoor stadium. He spoke to the crowd for the first time after the victory in the mixed doubles set, where he teamed up with Sania Mirza. Federer couldn’t have thought about such vociferous support in India. There were banners everywhere and there was no count of RF shirts and caps. The legendary Swiss would have been moved by the chants of Roger, Roger, Roger coming from every corner. There was no doubt that everyone came to the stadium on Sunday for one man only and it was Roger Federer.
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