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Karlovic ends PH Mavericks season on high note, escapes Royals in Super Shootout



In both squads’ season finale, both the Philippine Mavericks and the UAE Royals played as if they were in the finals.

In a classic, both teams pulled off their best tennis to get a chance at a slot in the Final. In the end, lanky Croatian Ivo Karlovic outlasted Marin Cilic in the Super Shootout, 10-9, to clinch the win for the Mavericks, Saturday at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

American James Blake started the day for the Mavericks with a narrow 6-4 win against Croatian Goran Ivanisevic in the men’s legends singles set. Blake had a more efficient first serve at 70% and converted them to 15 points won, but Ivanisevic registered 3 aces despite serving at 50%. It was the 17 unforced errors of Ivanisevic that made the difference. Blake converted on one of his three break point opportunities to get the first set.

In the women’s singles set, Mavericks’ Jarmila Gajdosova shrugged off a late surge from Kristina Mladenovic to get the 6-3 victory. Gajdosova led 4-0 with Mladenovic having problems on her service game. Eventually, the Frenchwoman adjusted her serve and was able to crawl back into the match, cutting the deficit to two, 2-4, after a break of serve. The Mavericks’ bet then powered her way into the win and converted on 2 deciding points to clinch the set.

The Royals started their comeback in the mixed doubles set, as Mladenovic and Canadian Daniel Nestor pummeled the Mavericks tandem, 6-1. Initially, Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Gajodosova were fielded in by the Philippines, but they eventually decided to substitute Indian Somdev Devvarman for the Frenchman. The substitution worked in their service game as the Mavericks clinched a game to get on the scoreboard at 1-5. Nestor and Mladenovic initially had two breaks of serve prior to that game. In the end, the margin was too big to overhaul and the Royals levelled the match at 13 games.

Treat Huey and Roger-Vasselin placed the Mavericks back in the driver’s seat with a close 6-4 win over Marin Cilic and Nestor. Huey and Vasselin survived horrible 5 double faults and a fair 52% of first serves too pull off the win. Cilic and Nestor had a rough time as well with 45% first serve percentage. The biggest difference of the match was the measly two winners of the Royals against the ten of the Mavericks.

Clutch Royal Cilic forced the Super Shootout after winning over Ivo Karlovic, 6-4, and leveling the match at 19 games. The younger of the two Croatians swiftly went through his service games, without losing a point. It was serving clinic of a set as Karlovic and Cilic combined for 12 aces (7 for the former, 5 for the latter) and both serving at 61% on first serves. Cilic however only had three unforced errors compared to compatriot’s six. A solitary break of serve by Cilic sent the match to a Super Shootout.

In the Super Shootout, a visibly-fatigued Cilic started to have problems on his service after getting only 33% on first serves against Karlovic’s 56%. The younger Croatian, however, pulled off timely winners to hold his service game. In the end, it was the power serving of the taller Karlovic that sealed the deal. With the game knotted at nine points apiece, the Maverick fired off an ace to the corner of the T to close out the match and complete the season sweep for his team over the Royals.

The Philippine Mavericks ended the season with a 6-5 record, while the UAE Royals finished with a 5-6 slate. However, the Royals finished at third over the Mavericks because of higher games won percentage at 50%, the Mavs were 48.1%.


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