world teamtennis

Washington Kastles Win 34th Straight Match, Establish New Unbeaten Pro-sports Record

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 9, 2013) Unbeaten. Untied. Unstoppable. And now, unmatched.

The Mylan World TeamTennis’ champion Washington Kastles won their 34th straight match tonight, setting a new professional sports unbeaten record and launching them solidly toward another WTT title.

The Kastles dispatched conference rival Boston Lobsters in a 25-12 victory, sweeping all five sets – with the victory nailed by the duo that has spent the most time on the team, men’s double partners Leander Paes and Bobby Reynolds.

“I’ve been really lucky to have had a great Olympic career and a great Davis Cup career,” said Paes, who remains one of the top doubles players in the world. “And this is exactly like that.”

The record-setting victory also had sweet resonance: the Lobsters were the last team to defeat the Kastles on July 22, 2010, in the final match of the 2010 regular season. There have been four wins in a Super tiebreaker, seven victories by a single game and 10 match points saved during the streak.

“You can’t even dream about making history and breaking a record like this one. But this incredible feat is a testament to the incredible support we have gotten from our community and to the inspiration that our players have drawn from our passionate fans,” said Mark Ein, the Kastles’ owner.

Ein wore the same brown dress shoes he wore when the team captured the 2009 title, the day that Kastles coach Murphy Jensen had all the players put pieces of tape on their shoes to symbolize team unity.

The 34-match Kastles unbeaten streak eclipses the mark set by the NBA 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers. Washington has won seven matches by just one game, earned eight overtime victories, and saved 10 match points throughout the course of their historic run.

The Lakers streak was omnipresent in the press kits handed out to the media and, in a touch on unplanned irony, symbolically by one of the Kastles’ public spirited announcer, who revved the crowd on stilts, making him more than 7 feet tall – about the same height as Wilt Chamberlain on that Laker team.

Jeanie Buss of the Los Angeles Lakers, who was involved with World TeamTennis in the 1970s as an executive for the Los Angeles Strings, issued a congratulations statement this evening after the Kastles’ win. The 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers won 33 consecutive games, a mark broken Tuesday night when the Washington Kastles posted their 34th consecutive victory.

“Winning 33 consecutive games was an amazing accomplishment by our 1971-72 Lakers team, as evidenced by the fact that no other team has come close to reaching it for over 40 years now. On behalf of the Buss family and the Lakers family, I want to congratulate the Washington Kastles, their players, and our good friends Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss on this milestone accomplishment of theirs.”

The Kastles are a strong favorite to win their third consecutive Mylan WTT title and their fourth King Trophy in five years. Only two other WTT teams have won three or more championships: the Sacramento Capitals, with six, and the Los Angeles Strings, with three. The Kastles are the only WTT team to post a perfect season and the only major sports team in history to have consecutive perfect seasons in 2011 and 2012

“We had an amazing experience that has never happened before,” Kastles coach Murphy Jensen said. “We put a group of characters together, added some spice and made some magic. And there were a lot of people. Dynasty? You can say dynasty, gosh darn right you can.”

“We look at what is in front of us. This is a team that works hard. Winning is a habit and a culture. We never give up and we are tough to beat,” Jensen said.

Veteran Kastles players Paes, Reynolds and Anastasia Rodionova were joined this year by Kevin Anderson and Martina Hingis, who started the winning early Tuesday night.

“Some math or statistics guy did a study as to whether we could do the streak and said we had a better chance of winning the lottery,” Reynolds said. “If you look on the papers, the ranking, that sort of thing, we all (on all the WTT teams) are comparable. But there is something magical about our team. We play for each other, not for ourselves.”

Washington is now 2-0, and in early possession of first place in the Mylan WTT Eastern Conference. Boston, after opening the season defeating conference rival New York Sportimes, is now 1-2. New York is 1-2 and Philadelphia Freedom is 0-2.

The sets:
Men’s Singles – Kevin Anderson (Kastles) def. Amir Weintraub (Lobsters) 5-2
Women’s Doubles – Anastasia Rodionova/Martina Hingis (Kastles) def. Jill Craybas/Katalin Marosi (Lobsters) 5-3
Mixed Doubles – Martina Hingis/Leander Paes (Kastles) def. Katalin Marosi/Eric Butorac (Lobsters) 5-3
Women’s Singles – Martina Hingis (Kastles) def. Jill Craybas (Lobsters) 5-2
Men’s Doubles – Leander Paes/Bobby Reynolds (Kastles) def. Eric Butorac/Amir Weintraub (Lobsters) 5-2

On Wednesday, the Kastles travel to Dallas to play the Texas Wild (formerly the Kansas City Explorers), then return to Kastles Stadium at the Wharf on Thursday against the Springfield Lasers, featuring former world No. 1 and U.S. Open champion Andy Roddick. They finish streak week Saturday on the road against the Sacramento Capitals, the first face off between those two teams since last year’s one point WTT title win by the Kastles.

Roddick said earlier in the week that he was pulling for the Kastles to continue the winning streak so that he and the Lasers will have the chance to stop it. He may get his chance.

Gallery by Camerawork USA

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Washington Kastles Win 33rd Straight; Continue March into Sports History


Washington Kastles
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 8, 2013) They used new players, a new strategy and then closed with longtime heroes, the same First Lady Michelle Obama cheering in the stands and the same result: the Mylan World TeamTennis’ champion Washington Kastles won their 33rd straight match today, earning the team a share of professional sports’ much vaunted unbeaten record and continuing their march into sports history.

Led by newly acquired Martina Hingis and Kevin Anderson, the Kastles opened their season at Kastles Stadium on the Wharf with a 23-15 victory over archrivals the New York Sportimes.  Hingis was the 2012 Mylan WTT Female MVP last year as a member of the Sportimes.

The 33-match Kastles unbeaten streak ties the mark set by the NBA 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers. On Tuesday, the Kastles face the Boston Lobsters as they move to set an unprecedented 34 win undefeated streak sports mark; the Lobsters are the last team to defeat the Kastles on July 22, 2010, in the final match of the 2010 regular season.

“This is one of the most fantastic moments I can ever imagine,” team owner Mark Ein said. “We have always promised Washington exciting tennis and Washington has joined with us in refusing to lose. I am thrilled for this fantastic group of tennis players, for those who have supported us and for our contribution to Washington’s great sports history.”

Kastles coach Murphy Jensen changed his lineup and his traditional order of matches for home contest, starting with Anderson in men’s singles. Backed by three aces, Anderson defeated the  Sportimes Jesse Witten 5-2.

Hingis, in her Kastles’ debut, then defeated Anna-Lena Groenefeld 5-1.

“I was nervous and it was weird at the beginning playing my old team. I shook it off,” Hingis said. “It was my first match. I was nervous. You get out there and then get going.”

Mixed doubles was next and, for the first time in his coaching the Kastles, Jensen took advantage of WTT rules permitting substitution. He started Anderson – and his big serve – with Hingis, against Robert Kendrick and Kveta Peschke.  He then substituted Kastles’s captain and double star Leander Paes after Anderson played the first game – the same strategy Sacramento used against the Kastles in last year’s 2012 championship match. Anderson played for Sacramento last season.

Washington won mixed doubles in a tiebreaker, 5-4.

Hingis and Anastasia Rodionova then lost to Groenefeld and Peschke  5-3 to put the Kastles at 18-12 going into men’s doubles to close the match. “They are the best doubles team in the world,” Hingis said. “We tried to have a big lead coming into that one.”

Paes and Kastles’ closer Bobby Reynolds spotted Kendrick and Witten a lead in the final set, then gutted out a 5-3 win to seal the 23-15 victory.

“If a team is going to beat us, they are going to have to work very hard,” Paes said. “We are putting in the hours of practice. when you look at our bench, it is a bench of champions.  Everyone is doing what we do best.”

As for being asked to seal the win, Paes said: “Very happy to close. We are all hungry to take the ball.”

Reynolds, the 2012 Mylan WTT Male MVP, said “Ever since last season finished I’ve been looking forward to getting back and finishing this. Every night is a new match and that’s how you have to approach it.”

The Kastles are a strong favorite to win their third consecutive Mylan WTT title and their fourth King Trophy in five years. Only two other WTT teams have won three or more championships: the Sacramento Capitals, with six, and the Los Angeles Strings, with three. The Kastles are the only WTT team to post a perfect season and the only major sports team in history to have consecutive perfect seasons.

New York has been one of the Kastles’ toughest foes over the last two seasons and Monday’s match was typical of the bruising court battles that have thrilled fans repeatedly.

“I reminded them of what we do as a team – that is how we win,” Jensen said. “Each point, each game, each set we have a team focus. That remains our way of playing.”

After Tuesday’s match with Boston, the Kastles will again be at home on July 11, and July 17, against the Springfield Lasers, featuring former world No. 1 and U.S. Open champion Andy Roddick; July 20 against the Sportimes; July 22 against the Philadelphia Freedom, and July 24 against the Lobsters. WTT conference championships are July 25 with the WTT championship set for July 28 on the home court of the Eastern Conference winner.

Said Hingis: “It was my first match. I was nervous. You get out there and then get going.” And about Boston?  “I’m warmed up now,” she said with a smile.

Maria Sanchez: America’s Next Top Tennis Mover

By David Kane

(Dec. 10, 2012) — The much-maligned tennis rankings may not be perfect, but its 52-week system does allow for the truly talented, like American Maria Sanchez, to make up for lost time in a big way.

The University of Southern California grad (’11) has an all-court game and, at 5’10”, strikes an imposing figure at the net. In her first full year on the WTA Tour, Sanchez was the impact player of the 2012 rankings, jumping up an astounding 560 spots to end the year at No. 127 in the world, earning herself a place in this week’s Australian Open Wildcard Playoffs in Norcross, GA.

Despite her quick escalation up the rankings, Sanchez admitted in an interview with Tennis Grandstand that there is still “a long way to go,” and her mentality will undoubtedly prove an invaluable aspect of that success.

“I tried not to focus on expectations; I knew my potential and knew I could have a good year… but none of my results this year seemed unreachable.”

A good year on the ITF circuit may not seem so impressive to a young woman with big dreams, but the three-time All-American (in singles and doubles) has a lot to be proud of. In only 12 months, Sanchez has gone from college star to the precipice of professional stardom.

Precious few college stars transition well into the professional ranks, something Sanchez attributes to the tour’s physical and mental grind.

“The pro level is a step up in every aspect … There aren’t any easy matches and everyone seems to be tougher physically and mentally. They’re stronger, more experienced and more consistent.”

Yet, unlike many standout junior players forced into making a decision between playing in college first or going pro, for Sanchez, a professional career was always the plan. And she views her years in college as a help, not a hindrance.

“I would not trade those four years for anything. Growing up, it was always part of the plan to go to college, get my diploma and then turn pro.” She joked further, “Now I just need to make up for the hours I missed out on while I was in college!”

Rising players would be lucky to find dedicated and experienced mentors, so Sanchez’s own confidence was boosted when one of the sport’s biggest names took her under her wing. Among the people Sanchez impressed during a stint with World TeamTennis last summer? None other than living legend Chris Evert, who extended the young American an invitation to train at the Evert Academy in Boca Raton. Evert’s help, Sanchez believes, has been an invaluable asset to her success.

“Not only has [Chris] been a mentor to me but she has also been a great friend as well this past year. She gives me great advice on mental toughness and helps me get in the right mindset for matches. She tells me to focus on being calm and to always be confident and to compete in every point.”

Although Sanchez notes that her best memory on tour was winning her first title, the $50K Sacramento in May, she is quick to also recount her experience of playing in her first Grand Slam at the 2012 U.S. Open.

Getting a direct entry into the qualifying tournament, Sanchez made a splash by taking out a seed ranked almost 100 points higher than her at the time and made it to within one match of the main draw. In doubles, she paired up with good friend Irina Falconi and nearly took out the Olympic Bronze medalists Nadia Petrova and Maria Kirilenko, losing 7-5 in the third set. But for Sanchez, it was less about the results, and more about the moment.

“I had a great first experience at the U.S. Open. I was really just trying to soak in everything I could. It was a great atmosphere and I stayed there all day to watch and learn … It’s easy to get overwhelmed in a busy and exciting atmosphere like that, but it’s important to stay in the moment and focus on doing your job.”

Looking ahead, Sanchez seems wary of the potential – pardon the pun – “sophomore slump,” and is far from complacent as she prepares for 2013. Practicing around four hours a day in addition to fitness training, Sanchez sees her freshman year on the WTA as her launch pad.

“I think being at 127 after my first year just showed me that I’m on the right path and have the potential to do really well. So I’m just looking at that ranking as an encouragement to get further up in the rankings.”

Moving from one sphere of tennis to another can be difficult at best and spirit-crushing at worst. The skills required are ostensibly the same, but the ability to adapt to new surroundings is key. Over the years, it has seemed as if only a select few could pair a college education with professional success, and even those few are looked on as those who could have achieved more without that collegiate albatross.

If all that is true, then Maria Sanchez is a veritable chameleon. The rankings alone would belie a young woman who went to sleep a college student and woke up as a top 200 tennis player. To be sure, the metamorphosis hasn’t been completely organic; with the help of agent Jordan Butler and Agent Atleta, the American has entered the social media circuit, (arguably a scary world for the admittedly shy Sanchez), and certainly looks the part of a seasoned pro thanks to sponsorships with Nike and Babolat.

But Sanchez remembers where she came from, and that she still has enough of — to borrow a line from rapper T.I. — “the swagger of a college kid.” And while the college route has broken so many of her peers, it just might be the very thing that helps her make it. As she begins her life in the real world, there are no doubts, no “What if’s?” that tease your typical college graduate.

For Sanchez, everything is still going according to plan.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, Maria has been forced to withdraw from the Australian Open Wild Card Playoffs. Full story here.

(All photos courtesy of Agent Atleta)

Billie Jean King on World TeamTennis, the Bryan Brothers, and Elton John

By Ashley Babich

PHILADELPHIA, Penn. — Before the Philadelphia Freedom took on the Kansas City Explorers at their home base at Villanova University, the creator of World TeamTennis, Billie Jean King, sang the praises of the organization, the fans, and the dedicated players. King cited the success of World TeamTennis to “keeping the economics under control” and finding support from the people who surround her. “I’m very fortunate with the team of people I have working with us.”

Speaking about the importance of team tennis, King highlighted the need for children’s tennis to operate from a team framework.
“For over 50 years now, my mantra has been, when they sign up for tennis, put them on a team. Get rid of the word ‘lesson.’ Kids don’t like that word. They’ll learn lessons in life from it, but they don’t need that word. Here’s what most kids do today, they play lacrosse or baseball or football; it’s a team sport usually. They practice two times a week and have a game. And what do they say about tennis? ‘Oh, I have a tennis lesson once a week.’ If a child is putting in 8 hours a week on one sport and then an hour on tennis, which sport do you think they’re going to choose after a year or two? I want them to practice two or three times a week and then I want them to have a game or a match. So they look forward to it every week. I don’t care what the skill level is, it’s fun!”

The WTT match on Monday night promoted marquee players Mike and Bob Bryan playing for the Kansas City Explorers. When asked to discuss the Bryan Brothers’ dedication to WTT, especially during an Olympic year, King had many positive things to say.

“It means a lot to us. Our format is totally built for them because they’re so great in doubles, and doubles is 60% of our scoring effort. They’re fantastic. They play their butts off.”

King also celebrated the recent Wimbledon Mixed Doubles title won by Mike Bryan and Lisa Raymond: “Do I love it?! My little team tennis players? I love it.”

King ended the conference with a conversation about how special Elton John’s song “Philadelphia Freedom” is to her.

“We have the best signature song in all of sports, which no one ever writes about … He used to sit on the bench, when I played for the Philadelphia Freedoms, yelling, ‘c’mon!’ He was a maniac!”

King recalled that she was on her way to a concert with Elton John when he offered to write a song about her, and she candidly described her reaction: “I’m thinking, ‘are you kidding, yeah right, what are you smoking?’”

“He said, ‘let’s name it Philadelphia Freedom after the team,’ and I said, ‘Great! That would be a great gift to the people of Philadelphia.’”
King laughed as she described a favorite part of the song: “He told me the part [in the refrain] that goes, ‘Phi-la-delphia,’ that’s you getting ticked off at the umpires. And I said, ‘I love it!’”

The Philadelphia Freedoms went on to beat the Kansas City Explorers 20-16 in Monday night’s match, with strong playing from the other twins involved that evening, Kristyna and Karolina Pliskova, playing for the Philadelphia Freedom. “Tonight is twin night,” as King put it.

Before exiting the press room, King went over to Carmine, who was quietly stringing racquets for the team in the corner of the room, and thanked him for executing his crucial job for WTT King asked him to take a picture with her, and he happily obliged. She’s a dynamic one, that Billie Jean King.

Andre Agassi and John McEnroe World TeamTennis matchup

Tennis Legends To Compete As Highlight Of World TeamTennis NY Sportimes vs. Boston Lobsters At Sportime Stadium; Proceeds To Benefit Young N.Y. Area Tennis Players

NEW YORK, April 30, 2012 – Tennis Hall of Famers Andre Agassi and John McEnroe and all-time great Martina Hingis will compete as part of the World TeamTennis matchup between the New York Sportimes and Boston Lobsters, the team announced today.  In a special benefit night on July 19, proceeds will go towards the Johnny Mac Tennis Project (JMTP), to provide scholarships, coaching, transportation and other financial assistance to qualified young tennis players in the greater New York area.  The evening begins at 7 p.m. at Sportime Stadium on Randall’s Island.

Last year, McEnroe faced Bjorn Borg in the first JMTP benefit evening in front of a sold-out Sportimes Stadium crowd.

Johnny Mac Tennis Project recipients will attend the John McEnroe Tennis Academy, which is completing its second year at Sportime Randall’s Island. Ticket prices for the match will be $250, $150 and $60; please consult your tax advisor concerning the tax deductibility of ticket purchases.  Tickets for the Benefit night on July 19, and for additional NY Sportimes home matches on July 10, 13, 18 and 25, can be purchased by calling 1-888-WTT-NYC1 or by visiting www.nysportimes.com.

“This year’s Johnny Mac Tennis Project Night will highlight three of the most popular and exciting players ever to play the sport,” said Sportime Clubs and NY Sportimes CEO Claude Okin.  “Andre Agassi has become a notable humanitarian and ambassador for tennis as a life changing opportunity.  We are thrilled that he will be part of this great night to benefit our efforts to improve the lives of young people and young players here in New York City.”

“I’m committed to giving opportunities to youngsters in the New York area to help them reach their full potential as tennis players and as people through the Johnny Mac Tennis Project,” said McEnroe.  “This night is critical in making the JMTP a success, and getting to face Andre in a WTT match will make it even more special.”

Agassi and McEnroe met four times while active on the ATP World Tour, each winning two matches.  McEnroe won in 1986 in Stratton Mountain, Vt., and in 1989 in Dallas, while Agassi was victorious in 1988 in Los Angeles and 1992 in the semifinals at Wimbledon.

“Youth tennis and education have always been extremely important to me,” said Agassi, who won 60 career singles titles.  Among those were eight Grand Slam crowns, including wins at all four major venues.  “I am proud to support John’s program and look forward to competing against him in an exciting match on July 19.”

This will be the fifth appearance in WTT for Agassi, who previously competed for the Sacramento Capitals from 2002-2004 and the Philadelphia Freedoms in 2009.

Bahar Uttam, Owner of the Boston Lobsters, explained, “It is the Lobsters’ pleasure and honor to be supporting what Sportime and John McEnroe are doing in New York, and, of course, we are thrilled to have all-time-great, Hall-of-Famer Andre Agassi joining our team for this 2012 season WTT match.  What a great night it will be.”

The July 19 WTT match will feature Agassi and McEnroe competing against each other in both men’s singles and in doubles in the five set WTT format.  Martina Hingis will also play for the New York Sportimes that evening as McEnroe’s team member; they will be joined by veteran New York Sportimes players Robert Kendrick, Jesse Witten and Ashley Harkleroad, three of the standouts who helped the squad reach the World TeamTennis finals in 2010.

The 2012 WTT regular season runs from July 9-28, with the top two teams from both the Western and Eastern Conference advancing to the WTT Finals Weekend presented by GEICO, September 14-16, at the Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, S.C.

2012 SPORTIMES Home Schedule

July 10            Springfield Lasers, 7 p.m., at Sportime/Randall’s Island

(Sportimes – Martina Hingis)

July 13            Philadelphia Freedoms, 7 p.m., at Sportime/Randall’s Island

(Sportimes – Martina Hingis; Philadelphia – Ryan Harrison)

July 18            Philadelphia Freedoms, 7 p.m., at Sportime/Randall’s Island

(Sportimes – Martina Hingis)

July 19            Boston Lobsters, 7 p.m., at Sportime/Randall’s Island

(Sportimes – Hingis, McEnroe; Boston – Andre Agassi)

July 23            Washington Kastles, 7:30 p.m., at Albany/SEFCU Arena

(Sportimes – Hingis; Washington – Venus Williams)

July 24            Boston Lobsters, 7:30 p.m., at Albany/SEFCU Arena

(Sportimes – Hingis; Boston – John Isner)

July 25            Washington Kastles, 7 p.m., at Sportime/Randall’s Island

(Sportimes – Hingis, McEnroe)

Tickets for Sportimes matches are available by calling 888-WTT-NYC1 or by visitingwww.nysportimes.com.  For more information on matches in Albany, visitwww.NYSportimes.com/Albany or call 518-393-0440.

2012 Sportimes’ partners include USTA Eastern Section, GEICO, USTA, Wilson, DecoTurf, Principal Funds, SPORTIME Clubs, Tennis.com, Arizon Tennis Domes, NY Orthopedics, and Randall’s Island Park Alliance.

About the Johnny Mac Tennis Project

The Johnny Mac Tennis Project, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation whose purpose is to expose young athletes in the greater New York metropolitan area to high level, competitive tennis by raising public and private funds in order to provide scholarships to attend a non-residential tennis academy/training facility, to obtain lessons and to fund the costs and expenses associated with travel to regional, national and international tournaments and on-site coaching at such tournaments.

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.

For more on WTT, visit WTT.com.

St. Louis Aces win WTT Western Conference title, to face Washington Kastles in WTT finals

The St. Louis Aces are headed to the World TeamTennis Finals for the first time in 15 years after narrowly defeating the Sacramento Capitals 20-19 to win the WTT Western Conference title on Saturday evening at the Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, S.C.   The Aces advance to Sunday’s WTT Finals presented by GEICO to face the Eastern Conference Champion Washington Kastles for the King Trophy at 5 p.m. ET.

The last time Sacramento and St. Louis played each other on July 13, it took a Supertiebreaker to decide the match.  Once again, these Western Conference rivals kept it close throughout Saturday’s Western Conference Championship match, splitting the first two sets of singles.

Dusan Vemic gave Sacramento an early lead with a 5-3 singles victory over St. Louis’ Roman Borvanov.  St. Louis took over the lead when Tamira Paszek ran past Vania King of Sacramento in women’s singles 5-1.

The Capitals men’s doubles team was only ranked No. 8 during the regular season but they turned up the heat as Mark Knowles and Vemic beat the Aces’ Borvanov and 2011 Male Rookie of the Year Jean-Julien Rojer, 5-3, to even the score at 11-11 at half.

King and Yasmin Schnack upset 2011 WTT Female MVP Liezel Huber and Paszek in women’s doubles in a tight 5-4 set, giving the Capitals a one point lead, 16-15, heading into the final set of mixed doubles.

Huber and Rojer got the only service break of the final set and wrapped up a 5-3 victory over Knowles and King when King’s shot sailed wide on match point.

“Every point, every game counts (in WTT),” said Huber.  “I wanted to win so bad for my team and St. Louis tonight.”  Huber said not to count out the Aces in the Finals against the Kastles, who have yet to lose a match this season.  “They are a great team but we start from scratch tomorrow,” she said.  “We have nothing to lose.”

The Aces will face the undefeated Washington Kastles in the WTT Finals on Sunday, July 24 at 5 p.m. ET.  With a victory, the Kastles would become the first team in WTT history to complete a perfect season.  The Aces are vying for their first WTT title since they won their only Championship in 1996.  The Finals will be televised live on Tennis Channel and live streamed on http://video.wtt.com.

FINAL RESULTS FROM THE WESTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH:

(Home teams in capital letters)

ST LOUIS ACES def. Sacramento Capitals 20-19

Men’s Singles – Dusan Vemic (Capitals) def. Roman Borvanov (Aces) 5-3

Women’s Singles – Tamira Paszek (Aces) def. Vania King (Capitals) 5-1

Men’s Doubles – Mark Knowles\Dusan Vemic (Capitals) def. Roman Borvanov\Jean-Julien Rojer (Aces) 5-3

Women’s Doubles – Yasmin Schnack\Vania King (Capitals) def. Liezel Huber\Tamira Paszek (Aces) 5-4

Mixed Doubles – Jean-Julien Rojer\Liezel Huber (Aces) def. Vania King\Mark Knowles (Capitals) 5-3

Next Match: 7/24/2011

WTT Finals presented by GEICO:  St. Louis Aces vs. WASHINGTON KASTLES, 5:00 PM (ET)

For live scoring and complete player / match statistics, please visit www.WTT.com

Kastles remain unbeaten, top Sportimes, 23-15

The Washington Kastles kept their unbeaten season alive with a 23-15 victory over the New York Sportimes in World TeamTennis action at SPORTIME on Randall’s Island.  Serena Williams won her women’s doubles and mixed doubles matches, Leander Paes won his men’s doubles and mixed doubles and Bobby Reynolds was victorious in singles and men’s doubles to pace the victorious Kastles (13-0).

The mixed doubles team of Williams and Paes began with a 5-1 victory over Hingis and Travis Parrott, before Hingis gained a measure of revenge with a 5-3 singles victory over Williams to pull New York (7-7) to within 8-6.

The men’s doubles event followed, with Paes and  Reynolds teaming for a 5-2 victory that extended the Kastles’ margin to 13-8.  Williams and Rennae Stubbs topped Hingis and Katie O’Brien to give the Kastles a commanding 18-11 advantage.

Reynolds finished off the win with a 5-4 win over Jesse Witten.

The match concludes the regular season for the Sportimes, who now need a loss by the Boston Lobsters in their late match tonight at Sacramento or Thursday at Newport Beach, in order to qualify for the WTT Championship, Friday through Sunday in Charleston, S.C.

Washington hosts Philadelphia Thursday as it tries to complete the undefeated regular season.

Washington Kastles 23, New York Sportimes 15 at New York

Mixed doubles – Serena Williams/Leander Paes (Wash.) def. Travis Parrott/Martina Hingis, 5-1
Women’s singles – Martina Hingis (N.Y.) def. Serena Williams, 5-3
Men’s doubles – Bobby Reynolds/Leander Paes (Wash.) def. Travis Parrott/Jesse Witten, 5-2
Women’s doubles – Serena Williams/Rennae Stubbs (Wash.) def. Katie O’Brien/Martina Hingis, 5-3
Men’s singles – Bobby Reynolds (Wash.) def. Jesse Witten, 5-4

Springfield rallies to top New York Sportimes

Springfield’s doubles tandem of Jean Anderson and Rik DeVoest won the last five games of their doubles match against John McEnroe and Travis Parrott to defeat the host New York Sportimes, 20-17, in World TeamTennis action on Randall’s Island in New York tonight.

The Sportimes (6-4) had won eight straight games to take a 17-15 lead and appeared headed for the win before Anderson and DeVoest pulled out the victory for the Lasers (3-6).

DeVoest started things for Springfield, edging Jesse Witten in a tiebreaker, before the women’s duo of Carly Gullickson and Lilia Osterloh extended the Lasers’ margin to 10-5 with a 5-1 triumph in the second event. Gullickson then teamed with DeVoest to edge the Sportimes’ Marquee team of Martina Hingis and John McEnroe, 5-4.

But Hingis swept the women’s singles event, 5-0, over Osterloh (with Gullickson replacing her in the fifth game), to pull the Sportimes to within a single point at 15-14.

Second-place New York visits Kansas City on Saturday to take on the Exporers, led by Bryan Brothers, then play two matches in Albany on Monday and Tuesday before concluding the regular season at home vs. first-place Washington and Serena Williams on Wednesday. Springfield returns home to take on Philadelphia on Saturday.

World TeamTennis at New York

Springfield Lasers 20, New York Sportimes 17

Men’s singles: Rik DeVoest (Spring.) def. Jesse Witten (N.Y.), 5-4
Women’s doubles: Carly Gullickson/Lilia Osterloh (Spring.) def. Martina Hingis/Katie O’Brien, 5-1
Mixed doubles: Carly Gullickson/Rik DeVoest (Spring.) def. Martina Hingis/John McEnroe, 5-4
Women’s singles: Martina Hingis (N.Y.) def. Lilia Osterloh (Carly Gullickson substitution, game 5), 5-0
Men’s doubles: Jean Andersen/Rik DeVoest (Spring.) def. John McEnroe/Travis Parrott 5-3

McEnroe edges Borg but Philadelphia Freedoms rally to top New York Sportimes, 21-19

John McEnroe edged Bjorn Borg, 5-4, but the visiting Philadelphia Freedoms rallied past the New York Sportimes, 21-19, in World TeamTennis action on Thursday night at Sportime on Randall’s Island.

Trailing, 17-16, Philadelphia sent Beatrice Capra up against Martina Hingis in the women’s singles competition, which Capra claimed, 5-2, to give the Freedoms the win.

Philadelphia’s mixed doubles tandem of Lisa Raymond and Nathan Healey opened the match with a 5-4 win over Katie O’Brien and Travis Parrott. O’Brien and Hingis teamed to win women’s doubles, 5-2 over Raymond and Capra. Healey and Brendan Evans evened the match with a 5-3 men’s doubles victory over McEnroe and Parrott, before McEnroe’s win over Borg gave the Sportimes a slim edge entering the final event.

New York (6-3) hosts Springfield on Friday, while Philadelphia (1-8) returns home to face Boston.

Proceeds from the match benefited the John McEnroe Tennis Project.

World TeamTennis at New York

Philadelphia Freedoms 21, New York Sportimes 19
Mixed Doubles – Lisa Raymond/Nathan Healey (Phil.) d. Katie O’Brien /Travis Parrott, 5-4
Women’s Doubles – Martina Hingis/Katie O’Brien (N.Y.) d. Beatrice Capra/Lisa Raymond, 5-2
Men’s Doubles – Brendan Evans/Nathan Healey d. John McEnroe/Travis Parrott, 5-3
Men’s Singles – John McEnroe (N.Y.) d. Bjorn Borg, 5-4
Women’s Singles – Beatrice Capra (Phil.) d. Martina Hingis, 5-2