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Tennis

Pro Tennis League: Gurgaon Sapphires win season 5; becomes first team to win two PTL titles

Defending Champions Gurgaon Sapphires beat Ichiban Samurai 81-56 in the final to win the fifth season of the PTL for consecutive titles

Gurgaon Sapphires
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Gurgaon Sapphires win season 5 (Source: Pro Tennis League)

By

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 11 Dec 2023 8:18 AM GMT

Gurgaon Sapphires became the first team in the history of the Harven Pro Tennis League (PTL) to win back-to-back titles when they beat Ichiban Samurai in the final at the DLTA Complex in New Delhi. It took their tally to two titles as they triumphed 81-56 in the final played under the lights at the RK Khanna Stadium. With the win, Ichiban Samurai suffered their first defeat of the season and disappointingly for them, it came in the title clash.

Gurgaon Sapphires had entered the final after a thumping 81-64 win over Sankara Stag Babolat Yoddhas while Ichiban Samurai narrowly edged Paramount Proec Tigers 81-75.

Gurgaon Sapphires maintained that powerful run into the final as well despite losing the first match of the tie. Sahaja Yamalapalli gave the Ichiban Samurai a winning start (14-6) over former National champion Sharmada Balu. Next Gen men’s player Rushil Khosla kept that momentum with a 11-9 win over Maan Keshwarwani. From then on it was one way traffic in the direction of the Gurgaon Sapphires.

First, Next Gen women’s singles player Ruma Gaikaiwari trounced Gauri Mangaonkar 15-5 to bring the match to even footing at 30-30. Then the pairing of Balu and Suresh Krishna had the better of Yamalapalli and Dilip Mohanty (12-8) in the women’s pro and Masters mixed doubles match. In the men’s singles match that followed, Rithvik Choudhary gave his team a further six point margin to enjoy with a 18-12 win. This 10-point margin grew bigger with Balu and Gaikaiwari resoundingly beating Yamalapalli and Mangaonkar 15-5.

With Gurgaon Sapphires leading by a staggering 20 points, they knew even a slight advantage in the seventh match would be enough. An ace out wide from the team of Rithvik Choudhary and Maan Kesharwani put the tie well past the pairing of Nitin Kumar Sinha and Rushil Khosla and saw the Gurgaon Sapphires erupt in celebration for a second year in a row.

It drew to a close what had been a cracking season of tennis with the league once again bringing the best players – past and present – to the tennis court and gave the youngsters an opportunity to rub shoulders with their more experienced colleagues.

Notably, Ruma Gaikaiwari of Gurgaon Sapphires was awarded ‘Player of the Tournament’ in the NextGen Women’s Pro category, while Ichiban Samurai’s Rushil Khosla was named ‘Player of the Tournament’ in the NextGen Men’s Pro category. Also, Sahaja Yamalapalli of Ichiban Samurai won the ‘Player of the Tournament’ in the Women’s Pro category, while Gurgaon Sapphires’ Rithvik Choudhary clinched the ‘Player of the Tournament’ in the Men’s Pro category. Moreover, Suresh Krishna of Gurgaon Sapphires was awarded ‘Player of the Tournament’ in the Masters Pro category.

League’s co-owner Aditya Khanna, who also represented Lucknow Aviators, was pleased with how the show went. “We are pleased with how the fifth season of Pro Tennis League went and how it has grown. We had some great tennis but more than that, we were pleased to see families coming in, enjoying the sport and enjoying the festive atmosphere around. We had worked hard on this season and are pleased to see it have the desired impact.”

It was an equally fascinating year for first-time partners Harven Realtors LLC and expressed plans to make the league global. “The partnership is primarily based because of the love of the sport. But the business aspect of it is really interesting as well. These are wonderful tennis players who have represented the country. So we thought it is a niche product compared to the IPL of the country. So we wanted to be part of a league which was growing. We hope that PTL will be part of a bigger platform in the UAE, probably internationally. We are looking to expand to different countries,” said Harven’s Vice President (Business Development) Rahul Sharma, who was ranked No. 4 junior in U-18 in his playing days.

Meanwhile, Seema Singhal, Harven's Founder Chairman, congratulated Gurgaon Sapphires on playing the tournament in the right spirit and deserving the win in the end. "It was our first year of partnership with PTL and it went really well. The enthusiasm is incredible," she said.

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