World Team Tennis

Teenagers Eugenie Bouchard and Taylor Townsend Continue Their Winning Streak

DSC_87400001tennis-3WASHINGTON, D.C. — Partnering for just the first time since winning the Junior Girls’ Doubles title at Wimbledon last year, Canadian Genie Bouchard and American Taylor Townsend took out their first round opponents in just 41 minutes at the Citi Open in Washington, DC on Monday.

As former top juniors with several singles and doubles Slams to their names, the two rising teenagers were on a doubles partnership streak that extended back to Roehampton of last year, and they weren’t ready to give that up quite yet.

“I told (Taylor), we have a streak to defend! … It’s been twelve matches or something – we can’t end that now,” commented Bouchard exclusively to Tennis Grandstand.

The pairing was a spontaneous decision that came about one recent evening after a World TeamTennis match, when the two decided to pick up where they left off last spring.

Today, during their post-match interview, the two friends were all smiles, frequently commenting on each other’s answers and playfully teasing each other when asked if they would continue the pairing.

“Are we?” questioned Townsend, looking at Bouchard. “Are we?” answered Bouchard, smiling back. “I hope so!” stated Townsend. “We better!” concluded Bouchard.

“I really enjoy playing with her,” said the 17-year-old Townsend. “We have really good chemistry on court. It’s really nice to have someone that you get along with and have so much fun on the court with as well as do really well with. So, I hope we can continue to play.”

The 19-year-old Bouchard has already been playing full-time on the WTA Tour for the past year, with her most notable results being a straight set win over Wimbledon No. 12 seed Ana Ivanovic in the second round this year. She has shot up the rankings to world No. 58, but feels there is much more to be accomplished.

“I played my first pro Slam at the French (Open), and then Wimbledon,” stated Bouchard. “It’s what I have worked my whole life for to play at this stage. I got to play on Center Court on both, which was really exciting for me. It’s what I have always dreamed of doing. To me, it’s just normal – just a step. It’s still a really long journey, still not where I want to be. But it’s heading in the right direction.”

And did she believe the good Slam results and high ranking came sooner than she anticipated?

“No. I always believed in myself and I always expect myself to do really well. So, it usually happens. Now, it’s like, what’s next?”

Townsend, on the other hand, is ranked 338 in the world and just starting her pro career while still strategically placing some junior tournaments into her schedule.

DSC_87270001tennis“Basically, I’m not sure if I’m playing US Open juniors,” Townsend commented. “But I’m playing the (USTA Girls’ 18s National Championships) because if you win it, you get a wildcard into the main draw of the US Open. So, why not play? It’s a great opportunity to get a lot of matches … and just work on a lot of things. I think that’s one of the main things I’ve been using the juniors for … Hopefully, next year, especially when I turn 18 and I don’t have a limit on the number of tournaments I can play, I think we can make more of a full schedule and incorporate more of the bigger tournaments as well as the pro circuit events.

Despite their young age and relative inexperience amid a veteran-packed tour, the two rising stars possess styles and weapons that make them dangerous floaters in any draw

“Most of the time when we play on the tour, we’re the underdogs so we have nothing to lose,” said Bouchard. “We can go out and play freely.”

Townsend echoed her partner’s thoughts: “No one knows who you are, no one is expecting you do to anything. You don’t really have any pressure. That’s the great thing about it. You can just go out and play freely, and enjoy everything – the crowd, the city wherever you are, and take it all in.”

The two are scheduled to play in their respective singles matches on Tuesday, where Bouchard will take on No. 3 seed Ekaterina Makarova and Townsend will open up against Monica Niculescu.

Washington Kastles Three-Peat as Mylan WTT Champions

Washington Kastles 2WASHINGTON, DC (July 28, 2013) The Washington Kastles carved another notch in the Mylan World Team Tennis elite ranks Sunday, winning their third consecutive World Team Tennis championship and fourth in the past five years with a 25-12 win over the Springfield Laster, the largest victory margin in any WTT championship match.

The Kastles also became the first WTT franchise to win all five sets in a championship match since the league switched to the current format in 1999. further stamping the team as the premier franchise in the league. The Kastles started the 2013 season by winning their first two matches for a 34-match winning streak, the longest winning streak is U.S professional sports history.

“This year we walked right into it.  We made that incredible streak, and have an amazing part in history. You can’t put a price tag on that We lost, then started winning again,” Kastles’ coach Murphy Jensen said.  “This is a masterpiece. This is the best. four out of five years, it is out of control. We absolutely sacrificed every day to play for the Kastles.”

Even a two-hour rain delay did not slow the Kastles.

The three-peat makes Washington only the second to win three titles in a row. The four championships make Washington one of only two franchises to win four or more WTT titles.

“It’d be great if we had eight teams like (the Kastles),” Springfield Laser player Andy Roddick, a part-owner of WTT, said after the loss. “They deserve the success they get. They put a lot into it, and it’s a great atmosphere.”

The Kastles were uncertain as to which of the sets Roddick would play so Jensen reshuffled the order of play to have Bib by Reynolds, the team’s traditional closer, open the match with men’s singles. That way if Roddick played, it would dilute the advantage the Lasers could have by having their star close the contest in the final set.

But Reynolds, who was named the MVP of the championship, opened strong, breaking the Lasers’ Rik De Voest three times in a 5-1 win.

“You go out and get ready thinking you are going to play Andy and I knew I had to be ready for anything,” Reynolds said.  “I guess I am the opener now (not the closer),  I knew I had to bring a lot of energy no matter when I was in the lineup.”

Springfield has never won a WTT title. They last played for the title in 2009, where they lost to Washington 23-20 when the Kastles held off three match points to win.

“Coming in here (at the start of the season), there was a lot of pressure, in those first matches. You don’t want to be the one to destroy them. Now at the end all of the effort paid off,” Kastles player Martina Hingis said.

“I am a first time Kastle. It’s a great team. I love everyone and I hope I can play here again next year.”

Hingis said she had hoped she was ready for Roddick’s serve. “I know his serve is spectacular. I tried not to think too much about it. At first he started with a kick serve. I just tried to get a racquet on it,” she said.

She and team captain Leander Paes defeated Roddick and Alisa Kleybanova, the 2013 WTT female rookie of the year, 5-4 after winning a five point tiebreaker for the game, set and championship.

“I started off pretty well in the (mixed doubles) then my energy level dropped a little bit,” said Hingis. “And that’s when (Paes) kind of lifted his game amazingly, and it is pretty cool to have five perfect sets.”

WASHINGTON KASTLES def. Springfield Lasers, 25-12
MEN’S SINGLES:  Bobby Reynolds (Kastles) def. Rik de Voest (Lasers) 5-1
WOMEN’S DOUBLES:  Martina Hingis/Anastasia Rodionova (Kastles) def. Alisa Kleybanova/Vania King (Lasers) 5-3
MEN’S DOUBLES:  Bobby Reynolds/Leander Paes (Kastles) def. Jean-Julien Rojer/Andy Roddick (Lasers) 5-2
WOMEN’S SINGLES:  Martina Hingis (Kastles) def. Alisa Kleybanova (Lasers) 5-2
MIXED DOUBLES:  Martina Hingis/Leander Paes (Kastles) def. Alisa Kleybanova/Andy Roddick (Lasers) 5-4

Washington Kastles Continue Winning Ways with Martina Hingis

Washington KastlesWASHINGTON, D.C. (July 18, 2013) The shifting and the surprises seem to be over for the reigning Mylan World TeamTennis champs Washington Kastles. As the halfway point of the WTT passes, the Kastles are playing like a true team again.

Coach Murphy Jensen has altered the order of matches to play to his new strengths aimed at starting and finishing strong. Gone are those early matches of the season wondering who would be the newest Kastle-of-the-day. The team is finding matches tougher, yet still winnable.

“We had a couple of in and out, in and out, with players,” Kastles player Bobby Reynolds said following Washington’s 21-15 win over the Springfield Lasers, in a battle of WTT conference leaders on Wednesday. “We are a solid team now. We are clicking on all cylinders.”

Last week the Lasers dealt Washington its first ever loss at its current home court, Kastles Stadium on the Wharf. It was the second straight loss for the Kastles after they set a new streak in U.S. major professional sports of 34 straight wins earlier in the week.

Those losses came without Martina Hingis in the lineup and, as Jensen noted, a combination of understandable fatigue, the law of bad breaks and the determination of other teams to knock off the Kastles.

“We were coming in to win two matches to make history and that took a lot out of us,” Jensen said after Wednesday’s match.”These other teams don’t play to win the championship, they play to beat the Kastles.”

Halfway through the season, the 6-2 Kastles are two up on their closest conference rival, the New York Sportimes. After Friday’s away match against the Texas Wild – the team that ended the winning streak – the Kastles play out the season against with five matches against Eastern Conference foes in a home-away rotation, starting with the Sportimes Saturday at home. The Kastles are 4-0 against conference teams.

The loss dropped Springfield to 5-3 and back into the tight mix in the Western Conference in which three teams are within one-half game of the lead, and the squad in last is only two games out of first.

The Kastles got back to their winning ways on the road last Saturday, in a convincing 23-14 road victory over the Sacramento Capitals, who they beat by one point to win the 2012 championship.

Anastasia Rodionova, in the number one women’s role, had her first singles victory of the season, a 5-2 decision over 17-year-old American Taylor Townsend. Perhaps equally as key, symbolically in the Kastles lineup was substitute Raquel Kops-Jones, who was 4-0 last season in
mixed doubles with the Kastles.

She only returned for that match but Jensen inserted her into the lineup to team with Kastle captain Leander Paes in the closing mixed doubles set that sealed the victory.

Now Jensen is closing matches with the mixed doubles team of Paes and Hingis, who are undefeated. Their play has been so inspired that Hingis said it was what helped prompt her to come out of retirement to play doubles.

The regular season ends July 24, with conference championships scheduled for July 25. The 2013 Mylan WTT championship match is set for Sunday, July 28, at the home court of the Eastern Conference Champion.

“Every night is an important night,” Hingis said Wednesday. “The others are going to go out to give it to you. We just have to play hard.”

Sam Querrey comments on recent grass season success, is “excited” for Donald Young to play Olympics

By Romi Cvitkovic

WASHINGTON, D.C. — American Sam Querrey is one of a number of tennis players skipping the London Olympics this summer — but not by choice.

Querrey, who reached a career-high ranking of world No. 17 last year, joined the Sacramento Capitals for an unforgettable overtime thriller against the Washington Kastles last Wednesday. While Querrey was able to upset the Kastles’ “Closer” Bobby Reynolds 5-3, the Kastles ultimately prevailed on their sixth match point in the final team tiebreak, winning 21-19.

Querrey is coming off of his best Grand Slam results since the 2010 US Open, when he made it to the third round of this year’s Wimbledon Championships. His match against Marin Cilic went 17-15 in the fifth set for 5 hours and 31 minutes, making it the second-longest match in Wimbledon history. But a short while ago, he wasn’t even able to hit a tennis ball with confidence, much less survive on the court for over five hours without pain.

Querrey’s world began falling apart almost as quickly as his ranking had shot up. In early 2011, he struggled with a right elbow injury that prevented him from making much of a dent in any tournament he entered. After Queen’s Club in June, not being able to withstand the pain in his elbow any longer, he decided to get surgery and after three months, made a comeback.

Falling into the Challenger-level abyss and now ranked 125 in the world, Querrey was forced to play qualifying rounds of tournaments and finally reached a quarterfinal in Memphis this past February. He went on to win the Sarasota Challenger in April but fell in the first round of Roland Garros. He quickly rebounded as the grass court season started and went all the way to the semifinals of Queen’s Club. He then had another breakthrough when he defeated world No. 21 Milos Raonic in the second round of Wimbledon in June.

Querrey’s time had finally come. After the heartbreak and hard work, his dream re-solidified.

During his pre-match press conference on Wednesday, Querrey was asked about his good grass court season and the momentum he has gained. He answered simply.

“I feel like I’m playing really well — playing at a better level than my ranking,” he smiled.

Ranking. Isn’t that a funny thing in tennis? How accurate is a 52-week ranking system in this sport when your most recent results are the ones that correctly reflect your current game?

On June 11, 2012, Querrey was ranked No. 77 and thus the sixth-highest ranked American on Tour. This also happened to be the date for the U.S. Olympic team cut off. With Mardy Fish already deciding to skip the Olympics, Querrey still missed the chance to be the team’s fourth player, as Donald Young was ranked No. 48 and Ryan Harrison No. 52, and the team already included top Americans John Isner and Andy Roddick.

However, looking at the rankings two weeks later or even today, Querrey would have solidly made the U.S. Olympic tennis team with his ranking now at No. 55, whereas Young has dropped to No. 58.

Never one to resent other players, Querrey answered honestly when I asked him about this ranking dilemma between him and Young for the Olympics.

“It’s a little bit out of my control with getting hurt last year and then my ranking dropping to 120. Donald definitely earned [the Olympic spot] with his results, mostly from the end of last year. I’m happy for him. I got to play the Olympics in 2008 and he wasn’t there. So this is his first one, so I’m just excited for him.”

Putting things in perspective, Querrey talked about how playing six World TeamTennis matches in nine nights (with cross-country travel!) helped build his confidence for the summer hard court swing that begins this week in Los Angeles.

“It’s just a great opportunity especially in Los Angeles and D.C. with a lot of guys gone to the Olympics. They are two big weeks for me and I hope to win both of them … the six World TeamTennis matches this week has been really good practice for the hard court season … I feel like the results are starting to come back like in 2010.”

(All photos credit to author)

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Agassi Tops McEnroe, But Sportimes Beat Lobsters in World Team Tennis

NEW YORK – On a night full of Marquee players, Martina Hingis stood tallest, winning her singles, doubles and mixed doubles matches to lead the NY Sportimes to a 22-18 World TeamTennis victory over the Boston Lobsters Thursday at Sportime Randall’s Island.

Boston’s doubles team of Jan-Michael Gambill and Eric Butorac topped Robert Kendrick and Jesse Witten, 5-3, to give the Lobsters the early lead.  Hingis and Ashley Harkleroad moved the Sportimes ahead with a 5-1 victory over Irina Falconi and Carly Gullickson-Eagle for an 8-6 N.Y. edge.

In the singles matchup of Marquee Players, Andre Agassi of the Lobsters (3-5) edged John McEnroe in a 5-4 tiebreak.  Then in mixed doubles, McEnroe and Hingis teamed to upend Agassi and Gullickson-Eagle, 5-3, for a 17-14 New York advantage.

The match came down to the women’s singles event, and Hingis was again up to the task, defeating Falconi, 5-4, for the final margin.

Proceeds from tonight’s match benefit  the Johnny Mac Tennis Project, McEnroe’s not-for-profit foundation to provide scholarships, coaching, transportation and other financial assistance to qualified young tennis players in the greater New York area.

The Sportimes (5-2) next visit the Philadelphia Freedoms on Friday.  Boston is off until Sunday, when they host the Sportimes at Ferncroft Country Club.

World TeamTennis
NY Sportimes 22, Boston Lobsters 18
Men’s Doubles –  Jan-Michael Gambill/Eric Butorac (Lobsters) def. Robert Kendrick/Jesse Witten, 5-3
Women’s Doubles – Ashley Harkleroad/Martina Hingis (Sportimes) def.   Irina Falconi/Carly Gullickson-Eagle, 5-1
Men’s Singles – Andre Agassi (Lobsters) def. John McEnroe, 5-4
Mixed Doubles – Hingis/McEnroe (Sportimes) def. Agassi/Gullickson-Eagle, 5-3
Women’s Singles – Hingis (Sportimes) def. Falconi, 5-4

Venus Williams talks Olympics, eats a burger and wins in front of First Family

By Romi Cvitkovic

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In front of an impressive crowd that included First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha, seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams debuted in a Washington Kastles 20-11 win over the Boston Lobsters in World TeamTennis on Monday night. (Full gallery of Williams and First Family below.)

The Kastles have now won 22 consecutive matches and are 6-0 on the season, continuing one of the greatest winning streaks in all of sports.

Before stepping on court to battle, the Kastles’ team and owner Mark Ein met with the First lady for candid conversation and a team photo. The Obamas were in attendance when sister Serena Williams won here last year, so it was due time for Venus to play in front of the First Family as well. (I heard that President Obama was at the USA vs. Brazil basketball game at the Verizon Center, so it was no surprise that the Obama ladies jetted there via helicopter after the Kastles’ sealed the win as well!)

An excited and radiant Williams laughed her way through a press conference with reporters and talked about her health, comeback and the upcoming London Olympics.

After being diagnosed last year with Sjogren’s Syndrome, working intensively with doctors, and adjusting her diet to all vegan, Williams returned to play on the WTA Tour last March after a six-month break and commented on her improvement.

“For me, health-wise, it’s definitely a journey. I’ve come a long way since this time last year. I’m still tweaking things, working with my doctors and trying to figure things out exactly … I feel like if I can cover this last [summer] stretch that would be amazing for me. At this point, I’m very grateful that I can still play tennis; that I’m still able to live my dreams out here. But, of course, I want more.”

And more is what Williams will try to attain as she makes her way to her fourth Olympics after earlier speculation that her ranking wouldn’t be low enough to allow her direct entry.

“This Olympics is more exciting for me. All the other ones, I didn’t have to worry whether or not I would make it. I was on top of the rankings. I didn’t have any problems. It was, for a lack of a better word, for granted. But this time, I had to fight so hard for it, just to get in contention and come back from so much. For me, this is the ultimate achievement.”

Williams indeed has much to be grateful for, including her sister Serena, with whom she won the Wimbledon women’s doubles title for the fifth time earlier this month.

“It’s extra motivation to win the doubles – it takes my Slam count higher. People say my name with the Slam count going up and it’s exciting. It means a lot to me to play doubles with Serena. Earlier, when I first started [back on the Tour in March], I couldn’t play singles and doubles in the same tournament, it was a lot for me.”

With a rejuvenated outlook and the same killer instinct that took her to the top of the rankings, Williams took on the task of playing a grueling three-of-five events, including women’s singles, and mixed and women’s doubles. It would be a true test of her health in the oppressive D.C. humidity and heat that soared into the mid-90s.

First up, Williams partnered with Leander Paes for mixed doubles, and while her serve showed signs of rust, the team was efficient in their 5-1 win over the Lobsters’ Carly Gullickson-Eagle and Eric Butorac.

After a brief rest, Williams was back on court with Anastasia Rodionova in women’s doubles, taking on Gullickson-Eagle and Irina Falconi. With her expert hands at net and long reach, Venus capped off another 5-1 win over the Lobsters.

Men’s doubles gave Williams the break she needed and time on the bench to laugh with the Rodionova sisters and even devour a burger (sure hope it was vegan!). Meanwhile, Kastles’ players Leander Paes and Bobby Reynolds dealt another heavy blow to the Lobsters, winning 5-0 — already solidifying a team win for the night.

Although, the Kastles had the win in the bag, the most anticipated match of the night pitted Williams against world No. 85 Irina Falconi in the women’s singles event — but luck was not on Williams’ side. As the veteran hit double fault after double fault, Falconi was on mark, hitting a final deep down-the-line  forehand to clinch the win, 5-0.

Quick to dispel any concern about her possibly-aching joints due to her autoimmune disease, Williams commented on her dwindling energy during the course of the evening.

“I think I just cooled down, and I couldn’t quite get started back up again. In team tennis, you really have to keep your energy up. You have to manage the stop and go. I didn’t manage it that well.”

Despite Williams’ letdown at the end of the WTT match, her outlook to the Olympics quickly put goals in perspective for the three-time Gold Medalist. Healthier, happier and re-energized, Williams hopes to build on her past success there.

“I’ve been training to bring home medals for the U.S. and I would love if the medal was gold-colored.”

(All other photos and gallery credit to author)

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Summer heats up in D.C. with the Washington Kastles tennis team: a win in photos

By Romi Cvitkovic

From a grandmother doing “The Dougie,” to 2011 Washington Kastles’ tennis players receiving commemorative championship rings, to familiar D.C. faces in the crowd like Kastles’ owner Mark Ein, former D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty and current Tennis Channel commentator Brett Haber, there is something in store for every tennis fan during the Washington Kastles’ season at The Wharf in downtown D.C.

Thursday night’s home opener against the New York Sportimes marked the Kastles’ 19th straight win that stretched from last year’s perfect 16-0 season. Returning players Leander Paes,  Bobby Reynolds and Arina Rodionova, along with newcomer Anastasia Rodionova, entertained the crowd with five tight matches and energetic play, that culminated in a 20-18 win.

The evening festivities began with mixed doubles as Anastasia Rodionova and Leander Paes took on the duo of Martina Hingis and Robert Kendrick. Paes, a thirteen time men’s and mixed doubles Slam champion, carried his partner with his deft hands at net to even the score at 4-4. Tennis wouldn’t be tennis without a disputed call, and after a brief discussion with the official by the Sportimes coach, play continued — but the Sportimes had lost their momentum. Paes quickly knocked off four clean winners, including a backhand volley to seal the set, 5-4(1).

Next up was women’s doubles featuring the Rodionova sisters (the “Hot Rods”) taking on Martina Hingis and Ashley Harkleroad (the “Models”). With Hingis, a former World No. 1, and Harkleroad, a former World No. 39, the Rodionova sisters had an uphill battle. But with competitive rallies, good looks, and giggling players, it was difficult not to get energized. Arina’s serve was broken at love with a couple of unforced errors and the “Hot Rods” quickly went down 1-3. They re-grouped and broke back on Hingis’ serve but two games later, the “Hot Rods” were again broken by the “Models”, losing 3-5.

With the Sportimes leading with a score of 9-8, the men’s doubles team of Leander Paes and Bobby Reynolds kicked it into high gear over the tandem of Robert Kendrick and Jesse Witten. Reynolds, a former World No. 46 in doubles, blasted serves while Paes fed off his lead to put away easy volleys. In the blink of an eye, the Kastles’ were up 4-0 on a Sportimes team that was struggling to find their balance. Reynolds, nicknamed “The Closer” for his ability to seal the team win on the final men’s singles matches, did much the same as he served out a 5-0 win in doubles, giving the Kastles’ a 13-9 edge.

Halftime was full of spectator giveaways, quickstart tennis with Paes and Coach Murphy Jensen with two lucky young fans, as well a ring presentation for Rennae Stubbs, who was part of the 2011 Washington Kastles Championship team. The short ceremony had Coach Jensen and Paes praising Stubbs, Paes receiving a kiss from both Stubbs and Jensen(!), and Stubbs commenting on her love of the city of Washington D.C.

After crowd applause and appreciation, the tennis action was quickly underway as Anastasia Rodionova took on Martina Hingis in the women’s singles. As Hingis hit deep into the court, Rodionova responded with wicked backhand winners to even the set out at 2-2. After failing to convert on three break points, Rodionova self-destructed hitting error after error, giving Hingis the set, 5-2.

With the score tightly standing at 15-14 for the Kastles, the concluding men’s singles match between Bobby Reynolds and Jesse Witten had a whole season riding on the outcome. Always the most intense match of the night, it didn’t disappoint as it went the distance with a tiebreaker at 4-4 and a Reynolds fistpump to the crowd. Witten, although deceptively agile and hard-hitting, couldn’t do much to hold back an energized Reynolds who reeled off three winners to go up 3-0 in the tiebreaker. After a Witten error and an unreturnable serve by Reynolds,  the Kastles “Closer” sealed the win, 20-18.

After celebratory handshakes, and exchanges of of hugs and laughs, the Kastles team huddled together on court as any team proud of winning and keeping the steak alive would.

Catch the Washington Kastles this month as they battle for another perfect season! Full schedule and for tickets, click here.

Full gallery below; credit to author.

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Witten, Hingis Lead NY Sportimes Past Philadelphia Freedoms, 22-16, In World TeamTennis

NEW YORK – Jesse Witten and Martina Hingis each won a singles and doubles match as the NY Sportimes defeated the Philadelphia Freedoms, 22-16, in World TeamTennis action at Sportime Stadium on Randall’s Island Friday night.

The doubles team of Robert Kendrick and Witten ralled for at 5-3 win in the opening set, winning five of the last six games to top Luka Gregorc and Jordan Kerr.  Hingis then won a singles match over Kristyna Pliskova and mixed doubles with Kendrick, both by 5-3 counts, to lift the Sportimes’ advantage to 15-9.

But Philadelphia battled back behind twins Kristyna and Karolina Pliskova, who beat Hingis and Ashley Harkleroad, 5-2, to trim the Freedoms’ deficit to 17-14.

Witten completed the scoring with a 5-2 singles win over Gregorc for the final margin.

The Sportimes (2-1) visit the Kansas City Explorers on Sunday and Sacramento Capitals on Monday before returning to Randalls Island on Wednesday for a rematch vs. Philadelphia.  The Freedoms (1-2) host Springfield Saturday at Villanova. For more info, go to

World TeamTennis
NY Sportimes 22, Philadelphia Freedoms 16

Men’s Doubles – Robert Kendrick / Jesse Witten (Sportimes) def. Luka Gregorc/Jordan Kerr, 5-3
Women’s Singles – Martina Hingis (Sportimes) def. Kristyna Pliskova, 5-3
Mixed Doubles – Hingis/Kendrick def. Kerr/Karolina Pliskova
Women’s Doubles – Pliskova/Pliskova def. Ashley Harkleroad/Hingis, 5-2
Men’s Singles – Witten def. Gregorc, 5-2

Hingis Leads NY Sportimes Past Springfield In World TeamTennis Opener

NEW YORK – The NY Sportimes opened their World TeamTennis season with a 22-14 victory over the visiting Springfield (Mo.) Lasers at Sportime Stadium on Randall’s Island.  Sportimes Marquee Player Martina Hingis won her singles, doubles and mixed doubles to pace the hosts.

The Lasers’ Amir Weintraub began the night with a decisive 5-2 singles win over Robert Kendrick.  Hingis’ 5-3 victory over Timea Babos pulled the Sportimes to within 8-7, before the doubles tandem of Kendrick and Jesse Witten downed Weintraub and Devin Britton, 5-2, to give New York a 12-10 advantage.

Hingis then teamed with Ashley Harkleroad to top Babos and Maria Sanchez, 5-3, then partnered with Kendrick to down Sanchez and Britton, 5-1, for the final margin.

Springfield (0-2) hosts the defending WTT champion Washington Kastles on Wednesday.  The Sportimes (1-0) next visit the Kastles on Thursday. The next home match for the Sportimes will be Friday, July 13 at 7 pm against Philadelphia at Randall’s Island. For ticket information, go to

World TeamTennis
NY Sportimes 22, Springfield Lasers 14
Men’s Singles – Amir Weintraub (Lasers) def. Robert Kendrick, 5-2
Women’s Singles – Martina Hingis (Sportimes) def. Timea Babos, 5-3
Men’s Doubles – Jesse Witten/Kendrick (Sportimes) def. Weintraub/Devin Britton, 5-2
Women’s Doubles – Ashley Harkleroad/Hingis (Sportimes) def. Babos/Maria Sanchez 5-3
Mixed Doubles – Hingis/Kendrick (Sportimes) Sanchez/Britton, 5-1

Washington Kastles win World Team Tennis title; Complete perfect 16-0 season

It took nearly eight hours through three rain delays, but the Washington Kastles finally made World TeamTennis history by winning the WTT Championship and completing the first undefeated 16-0 record in WTT’s 36 seasons.  The Kastles overpowered the St. Louis Aces 23-19 at the WTT Finals presented by GEICO on Sunday evening at the Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, S.C.

Slowed by the first rain delay shortly after the 5 p.m. match start time, it took more than three hours for St. Louis to win the opening set of mixed doubles, 5-3. The Aces, led by Jean-Julien Rojer and 2011 Female MVP Liezel Huber, won 72% of their first service points in a tight battle with Male MVP Leander Paes and Rennae Stubbs.

Stubbs and Rodionova upended Huber and Tamira Paszek in women’s doubles, 5-0, to give the Kastles a 8-5 lead after the second set.  The Kastles continued to roll in men’s doubles, powering past Rojer and Roman Borvanov 5-2.

Rodionova, who was named MVP of the WTT Finals, took control in women’s singles and edged Paszek to push the Kastles lead to seven games heading into the final set.  St. Louis staged an impressive rally in men’s singles with Borvanov holding off Reynolds 5-4 to send the match into Overtime.  Borvanov won the first three games in Overtime to close the gap to 22-19 before Reynolds held serve to close out the historic victory just after 1 a.m.

Rennae Stubbs also made history by becoming only the fourth player in WTT history to be on five Championship teams.  Kastles co-captain Stubbs joins an elite list of 5-time WTT Champions – Martina Navratilova; Richie Reneberg; and Craig Kardon (4 as player; 1 as coach).

The Kastles finished the season with a 16-0 mark, while the Western Conference Champion St. Louis Aces finished at 9-7.

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