PH Mavericks battle UAE in IPTL opener

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World No.1 Serena Williams will lead the Philippine Mavericks against the OBI United Arab Emirates in the Manila Leg of Coca-Cola’s International Premier Tennis League 2015 today at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. AFP FILE PHOTO

World No.1 Serena Williams will lead the Philippine Mavericks against the OBI United Arab Emirates in the Manila Leg of Coca-Cola’s International Premier Tennis League 2015 today at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. AFP FILE PHOTO

The Philippine Mavericks, headed by world No.1 Serena Williams will battle the OBI United Arab Emirates in the opener of the Manila Leg of Coca-Cola’s International Premier Tennis League 2015 (IPTL) today at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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After its successful debut last year, the IPTL returns to Manila without tennis superstars Maria Sharapova of Russia and Andy Murray of Britain leading the Mavericks. Coaching the Philippine side for the second consecutive year is Filipino-American tennis player Treat Conrad Huey.

Besides Williams, playing for the Philippine Mavericks are Milos Raonic, Mark Anthony Philippoussis, Edouard Roger-Vasselin, Jarmila Gajdosova, Richard Gasquet, Ajla Tomljanovic and Huey.

Before heading to Manila, the Philippine Mavericks beat the Japan Warriors 28-24 in the tourney’s Japan leg on Friday. The mixed doubles pair of Huey and Williams outplayed Mirjana Lucic and Leander Paes, 6-3.

Playing for the Philippine Mavericks in the men’s doubles are Gasquet and Roger-Vasselin who’ve won over Paes and Pierre Herbert. Raonic, on the other hand, outclassed Japanese favorite Kei Nishikori 6-5 as Philippoussis defeated Marat Safin, 6-5, in the men’s singles legend match.

Williams lost to Kurumi Nara 4-6 in the women’s match. Overall, the Philippine Mavericks finished third in the Japan leg with 1-1 win-loss record while the Japanese team dropped to the bottom of the standings winless in three matches.

“It’s disappointing the team lost today, but Kurumi won against Serena in unbelievable fashion, and made us all very happy. It was lovely to see the audience enjoy the match and this fun format of tennis,” said Nishikori, who will not play in the Manila leg of IPTL.

The Royals, on the other hand, under coach JL De Jager, will banner Ana Ivanovic, Thomas Berdych, Goran Ivanisevic, Kristina Mladenovic and Daniel Nestor.

The Royals finished with two wins and no loss in the Japan leg of the tourney.

The other tennis superstar playing in the Philippine leg of the event is Rafael Nadal.

The Indian Aces will be led by Nadal, Samantha Stosur, Sania Mirza, Rohan Bopanna, Fabrice Santoro and Ivan Dodig. The Indian Aces finished the Japan leg with two wins and no loss.

Belinda Bencic, Nick Kyrgios, Sania Mirza, Dustin Brown will also see action.

The Singapore Slammers will be led by Bencic, Kyrgios, Carlos Moya, Karolina Pliskova, Brown and Marcelo Melo. The Singapore team finished with a win and two losses in Japan.

The Japan team, under the tutelage of Australian coach Josh Eagle, is composed of Lucic, Nara, Safin, Paes and German Philip Kohlschreiber.

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