Tennis

IPTL: Federer beats Djokovic, but Royals win

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Roger Federer was the superstar among a galaxy of stars, including those from bollywood and cricket, but the 17-time Grand Slam champion was unable to sustain the challenge of Indian Aces on home turf in the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium here on Monday.

UAE Royals built a fine cushion by taking a 23-16 lead before the heady climax featuring Federer and Novak Djokovic. The Swiss master’s silken game and the Serb world No.1’s ripping passing shots delighted the connoisseurs, even as Boris Becker and Pete Sampras watched from the sidelines.

With the 29-23 victory, Royals edged closer to the Aces (30) at the top of the table with 27 points, before the final leg in Dubai from December 11 to 13.

The intensity with which Federer and Djokovic battled made it hard to believe that they were playing an exhibition match.

The crowd was so warm in its appreciation that the two great champions found it easy to pull out their best game, which prompted the television interviewer on court to say that it was as good as any Grand Slam final.

Federer was a bit confused when asked to play on after he beat Djokovic 6-5 in the tie-break. He had to win six games in a row to force the super shootout, as per the rules when the team trailing wins the final rubber.

But it proved beyond him as Djokovic served out the only game he needed to win.

Tsonga, Philippoussis the ‘Mavericks’

Earlier, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Mark Philippoussis put on a superb performance to take Manila Mavericks to a 23-17 victory over Singapore Slammers.

The victory helped the Mavericks take their tally to 24 points, while Singapore Slammers collected one point to reach 20.

Bollywood stars Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar and Deepika Padukone, along with cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar, played a few exhibition matches with Federer, Djokovic and Sania Mirza before the Aces took on Royals. While Akshay Kumar performed a few stunts on court, Federer and Djokovic sat on the net to help Aamir Khan land his serve on the other side!

It was a bonanza for the spectators as the tennis and bollywood stars put on an unforgettable show.

The results:

UAE Royals bt Indian Aces 29-23 (Kristina Mladenovic bt Ana Ivanovic 6-5 (7-5); Goran Ivanisevic bt Pete Sampras (sub. Fabrice Santoro) 6-3; Nenad Zimonjic & Mladenovic bt Rohan Bopanna (sub. Roger Federer) & Sania Mirza 6-2; Zimonjic & Marin Cilic (sub. Novak Djokovic) lost to Federer & Gael Monfils 5-6 (6-7); Djokovic lost to Federer 5-6 (5-6); Super timeout: Djokovic 1 bt Federer 0).

Manila Mavericks bt Singapore Slammers 23-17 (Jo-Wilfried Tsonga bt Tomas Berdych (sub. Nick Kyrgios) 6-2; Daniel Nestor & Kirsten Flipkens lost to Kyrgios & Daniela Hantuchova 3-6; Flipkens lost to Hantuchova 2-6; Nestor & Tsonga bt Kyrgios & Lleyton Hewitt 6-0; Mark Philippoussis bt Patrick Rafter 6-3).

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 4:42:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/iptl-federer-beats-djokovic-but-uae-royals-win/article6674280.ece

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