Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer produced an exhilarating display of quality tennis with the 'Man from Mallorca' having the last laugh on what turned out to be a blockbuster conclusion to the International Premier Tennis League's India leg today.
Nadal-led defending champions Indian Aces maintained their stranglehold on the championship with a comfortable 30-19 win over Federer's UAE Royals.
More than 10,000 fans turned up to watch the much-awaited contest between the two greats of the game and it was Nadal who emerged as the clear crowd favourite as well representing the local team.
The 'King of Clay', clearly enjoying the adulation, smiled and waved at the adoring fans who shouted their lungs out chanting "Rafa......Rafa".
The crowds stayed away from the matches on the first two days but came out in good numbers to watch the two superstars of the game.
Nadal broke the Swiss legend in the first game with a backhand winner and served out the next game at love to take a 2-0 lead. Federer broke back in the fourth game, with his stunning single-handed backhand shots enthralling the crowd.
Nadal broke the Swiss again in the fifth game in which the chair umpire forgot that there is no LET rule in the IPTL and asked the players to replay the point when Federer's serve touched the net.
By the time he realized his mistake the players from the two teams had started making fun of him. Amid raucous laughter, the official had no choice but to put hands on his head and acknowledge the slip.
Once the match re-started, Nadal led 4-2 with another hold. Federer served a double fault to hand two match points to Nadal. He saved both and also won the deciding point on deuce to stretch the set.
The Spaniard went 0-30 down serving for the set and the crowd went berserk, now rallying behind the Swiss. Nadal saved the first break point but hit a forehand error in the second and it all boiled down to a shootout.
Nadal led 5-1 but Federer rallied to take three points in a row to reduce the margin to 5-4 in some heart-stopping action. Nadal eventually won when Federer hit an unforced error as the Spaniard raised his hands in celebration.
Updated Date: Dec 13, 2015 10:06:36 IST