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Tiebreaker Times

Aces whitewash Mavericks once more

The defending champions Micromax Indian Aces stamped their class once more against the Philippine Mavericks with another convincing win, 30-17, Tuesday afternoon (evening in Manila) at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The Aces, who waylaid the Mavericks in the biggest win IPTL history just five days from the Tuesday’s outing, repeated the sweep to further their title-defense bid. The reigning champions got a much-needed boost from local hero Rohan Bopanna who started the rout.

Bopanna blanked Mavericks’ James Blake, who is playing in just his second set in this season, 6-0, in the men’s legends singles. Team Captain and Aces’ usual tennister in this category, Fabrice Santoro, took a rest because of fever, and Bopanna was more than willing to take the cudgels. The Indian star clinically took the set after committing only 3 unforced errors, as opposed to Blake’s seven.

Former world number two Agnieszka Radwanska had a tougher time, but still pulled off a 6-4 win over Ajla Tomljanovic in the women’s singles set. The Australian Tomljanovic had more winners than the Pole, 11-9, but committed more unforced effors. Radwanska also turned to her service game and scored three aces in this set. That solitary break of serve against Tomljanovic and perfect conversion of deciding points, 2 of 2, propelled Radwanska to pad on the lead, 12-4.

Bopanna and Sania Mirza started the mixed doubles set for the Aces and led 2-0, against Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Jarmila Gajdosova. The defending champions then decided for a substitution and fielded in Ivan Dodig in lieu of Bopanna. Dodig and Mirza continued to dominate and led up to 5-2, but Roger-Vasselin and Gajdosova mounted a late charge. Nevertheless, the Aces closed out the set, 6-4, and further increased their match lead, 18-8.

After a lull in the match due to rain delay, the action resumed with the men’s doubles set. Bopanna and Dodig virtually sealed the match in Aces’ favor after scoring a shootout victory over Treat Huey and Roger-Vasselin, 6-5. It was yet another battle of serving prowess as both tandems unleashed 72% first serve percentage. Bopanna and Dodig, however, registered 18 winners, including 4 service aces to clinch the set to their favor.

Bernard Tomic completed the sweep for the Aces after a close 6-4 win over Ivo Karlovic in the men’s singles set. The Australian upstart survived the power serving of the tall Croatian. Karlovic peppered Tomic with 9 service aces, but the latter was more accurate on the service with 79% of first serves. Karlovic also had 12 unforced errors, which pretty much cancelled his 13 winners. The Indian Aces also had a solitary break of serve to wrap up the set and the victory.

The Philippine Mavericks split their Dubai assignments to end at 5-4 going into the final leg of the season in Singapore. The Mavs should win their outings against the Legendari Japan Warriors and Obi UAE Royals to get a shot at the Final against the Aces, who virtually clinched a berth with this win.

Here is the schedule of the Mavs in the last leg in Singapore Indoor Stadium:
Dec 18 – vs. Warriors, 4pm
Dec 19 – vs .Royals, 4pm
Dec 20 – Final vs. Aces (if possible), 4pm

Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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