Singapore Slammers to meet Indian Aces in IPTL final
Wawrinka stages great comeback against Tomic to lead S'pore team into IPTL final
He was 5-2 down against Bernard Tomic, and on the cusp of conceding his set against the Australian at the Singapore Indoor Stadium last night.
But the OUE Singapore Slammers' Stan Wawrinka staged an amazing comeback to beat his Micromax Indian Aces opponent 6-5 (7/4) to set the home team on course for today's final.
Asked how he conjured the victory, Wawrinka, 30, said: "It wasn't great, but I had good energy from the team on the bench and I tried to fight, tried to play and tried to be aggressive. And I am happy to get the win for the team."
Unlike traditional tennis matches, an International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) match comprises five one-set ties - men's singles, women's singles, mixed doubles, men's doubles and legends' singles - with one time-out and substitution allowed in each set.
If a set is tied at 5-5, the first player or pair to reach seven points in the tie-breaker will win the set.
The team that win the most games after five sets win the match; if the score is tied after five sets, a men's singles match will be played where the first team to reach 10 points will win the match.
The five teams play in a round-robin format across the five stops of the sophomore season of the IPTL, with the two teams with the best percentage of game wins facing off in the final.
Ahead of yesterday's matches, the Slammers were second to the Aces in the five-team table, with the Obi UAE Royals threatening to pip the home team's place to today's final.
But the Royals lost 24-23 to the Philippine Mavericks in the earlier match yesterday, which meant that Wawrinka and Co had to win just 14 games to make the final against the Aces today.
Carlos Moya gave the Slammers a good start against the Indian team in the second match last night, beating Fabrice Santoro 6-2 in the first set, before Wawrinka's heroics in the second set.
Even before Belinda Bencic beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1 in the third set to confirm the Slammers' place in the final, a confident Wawrinka said in a courtside interview: "It's great for us to be in the final tomorrow, hope everyone will come here at 4pm tomorrow to support us."
While the Slammers' mixed doubles pair of Dustin Brown and Karolina Pliskova lost to Aces' Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza 6-4, the home side had already won the match.
Men's doubles duo Marcelo Melo and Nick Kyrgios could lose 6-0 to Aces' Bopanna and Ivan Dodig and the Slammers would still win the match 22-21.
Melo and Kyrgios eventually lost the set 6-5 (7/6), but the Slammers won the match 27-21 to consign the Indian team to only their third defeat this season.
Interestingly, two of those defeats have come at the hands of the Slammers - first in Dubai and then last night - while the other was to the Philippine Mavericks in Manila.
Bencic said: "I think we showed over the three weeks what we are capable of and we deserve to be in the final."