Singapore Slammers capture IPTL title

The Slammers, helped by individual wins from Carlos Moya and Stanislas Wawrinka, defeated the Indian Aces 26-21 in the final in Singapore.

Stanislas Wawrinka (left) hi-fives teammate Nick Kyrgios in Singapore Slammers' 26-21 win over Indian Aces.   -  Reuters

Wawrinka (left) sprays champaigne on his teammates after Singapore Slammers clinched the title.   -  Reuters

In an anticlimactic result for the Indian Aces, who had topped the table coming into the final, they lost the champions crown to hosts Singapore Slammers, who prevailed 26-21. The Slammers, coached by India’s doubles specialist Purav Raja, claimed a prize of $ one million while Indian Aces got $ 500,000.

Indian Aces were, however, the most dominant side this season, losing only three matches and winning 54.1% of the games they played in their campaign.

Carlos Moya handed Slammers a two-point lead with his 6-4 win over Fabrice Santoro in the Legend’s singles. Frenchman Santoro, the Indian Aces coach, had pulled out of the Dubai leg due to fever but his return could not inspire a winning start for the last year’s champions.

Belinda Bencic extended her team’s lead after she beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4 in a gruelling women’s singles that lasted 42 minutes. The Indian Aces roared back with a 6-2 win in the mixed doubles as Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna teamed up for an impressive win over Dustin Brown and Karolina Pliskova.

Wawrinka wins in singles and doubles

Two-time Grand Slam champion Stanislas Wawrinka then beat Bernard Tomic 6-3 in the men’s singles to help Slammers maintain slight edge. The men’s doubles, this season’s last set, turned into a title-deciding contest, and it was the Slammers' pair of Wawrinka and Marcelo Melo that prevailed 6-3 against Bopanna and Ivan Dodig to give Singapore a 26-21 win.

Ivan Dodig (Aces) was adjudged the Most Valuable Player (MVP) (Male) and Slammers’ Belinda Bencic was adjudged the MVP (Female) for their superlative performances this season. They received $ 50,000 each.

IPTL Founder and Managing Director Mahesh Bhupathi, appreciated how the contest unfolded. “From the league perspective, it was a great final. Till yesterday we didn’t know who the two finalists would be, which is great. And to have finished it this way for Singapore Slammers, in front of a cheering home crowd, is terrific.”

Bhupathi said they will continue with five teams in the next season. “We got off to a great start last year, added another team in the second year, were broadcast in 155 countries across the world, so it speaks well for the success for the IPTL. Next year is an Olympic year, so I don’t see us adding another team, but we’ll continue building on from here.”