THE Indian Aces stamped their class, rolling past the UAE Royals, 30-18, in Day Two of the Manila leg of the International Premier Tennis League on Monday.
The defending champion Aces shut the Royals out, winning all five matchups that left the Mall of Asia Arena crowd impressed.
Aces star Rafael Nadal showed he was in it to win it in his debut, chasing and returning tightly angled shots that made him an instant crowd favorite.
The Spanish standout won both his sets, in the men’s doubles with Ivan Dodig against Tomas Berdych and Daniel Nestor, 6-4, and in the men’s singles versus Berdych in a thrilling showdown that went to the limit.
Nadal, though, didn’t have to break plenty of sweat as his teammates did most of the work earlier when the Aces took the first three sets.
Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza beat Nestor and Kristina Mladenovic , 6-4, in the mixed doubles to get them off to a rousing start.
Samantha Stosur then frustrated Ana Ivanovic and substitute Mladenovic, 6-3, in the women’s singles, before playing-coach Fabrice Santoro defeated Goran Ivanisevic, 6-3, in the legends singles.
“We just prepared the best way in every match we play,” Santoro said. “Some days it works, but some days it works a bit less, but tonight was a great night for us.”
With the outcome settled after the fourth set, Nadal could afford to go down three games against Berdych.
But the King of Clay buckled down to work, knotting the count, then going ahead, 5-4, before Berdych forced a shootout, where Nadal prevailed, 7-3.