ABU DHABI: The PBG Eagles clinched the Meteora World Tennis League season two title after producing an impressive team performance to beat the SG Mavericks Kites 29-26 in Sunday’s final in Abu Dhabi.
The team was awarded the trophy by Aref Hamad Al-Awani, general-secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, during a ceremony attended by Rajesh Banga, chairman and founder of the WTL, Sunil Matthew, the WTL’s co-founder, and Praveen Sharma, chairman of Meteora Developers.
The Eagles took home AED1 million ($272,305), while the Kites bagged AED500,000.
It was the Kites that made a perfect start at Etihad Arena, although Stefano Tsitsipas and Paula Badosa had to work for their 7-6 victory in the opening set against Mirra Andreeva and Daniil Medvedev.
The Eagles bounced back in the women’s doubles as Andreeva and Sofia Kenin battled from 5-2 down to register a hard-fought 7-5 win, taking a one-point overall lead going into the last three sets.
The men’s doubles saw the Kites’ Medvedev and Andrey Rublev extend their team’s lead after coming out on top 6-3 against the Eagles’ Grigor Dimitrov and Lloyd Harris.
The Eagles were again celebrating as Kenin, ranked 33 in the world, caused an upset against world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka in the women’s singles. The 25-year-old American broke in the fifth game and then held her serve to register a 6-4 win.
Kenin’s victory meant the Eagles had a six-point lead going into the final encounter of the evening — the men’s singles between Rublev and Dimitrov. Rublev broke in the second game to give the Eagles an advantage and although Dimitrov won the set, it was not enough to deny the Eagles the title.
“When we knew we were going to play on Sunday, we were all motivated to do well,” Medvedev said. “We didn’t get off to a good start but we knew we had to do better in the following games and we happily did that and we’re all happy to have won the title.”
Andreeva said she enjoyed playing in the WTL.
“Honestly, I was so nervous on the first day and I felt I improved each day,” she said. “I was happy to bring some points to our team during this tournament.”
The format consisted of five sets per match — three doubles and two single encounters with the team accumulating the most points winning.
The second edition of the league took place for the first time in Abu Dhabi following the WTL’s collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, and Miral.