In an anticlimactic result for the Indian Aces, who had topped the table coming into the final, the Indian team lost the champions crown to hosts Singapore Slammers, who prevailed 26-21, on Sunday.
The Slammers, coached by India’s double specialist Purav Raja, claimed a prize pursed of USD one million while Indian Aces got USD 500,000.
Indian Aces were easily 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 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.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Stan 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 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) while Slammers’ Belinda Bencic was adjudged the MVP (Female) for their superlative performances through the season. They got USD 50,000 each for the dominant tennis they played all throughout the season.
IPTL Founder and Managing Director Mahesh Bhupathi said “From the league perspective, it was a great final. Till Saturday 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.”