Tuesday, July 15, 2014

WTT: San Diego Aviators 22 Washington Kastles 18

Head coach Murphy Jensen cheers on his Kastles

So this is what losing feels like... Forgive me (and all fans of the Washington Kastles) for asking, but losing isn't something we're used to feeling or seeing lately at Kastles Stadium. That's what happens when you win three WTT championships in a row, and set the record for most wins in a row (34) by a major professional sports team. The San Diego Aviators gave the Kastles their first taste of defeat this season, edging the defending champs 22-18 and putting an end to Washington's 18-game winning streak in the process.

Washington slips to 6-1 on the season, still a comfortable 3.5 matches ahead of second place Boston in the Eastern Conference. The Aviators improve to 5-2, and lead the Western Conference by a match over the Texas Wild. Unless Andy Roddick and the Springfield Lasers have something to say about it, don't be surprised to see San Diego and Washington duke it out again in this year's championship.

Bobby Reynolds came up short in Men's Singles

San Diego jumped out to an early lead, thanks to UVA product (and two-time NCAA champion) Somdev Devvarman's 5-4 victory over the Kastles' Bobby Reynolds in Men's Singles. The electrifying first set took a whopping 39 minutes, part of an almost 3½ hour marathon. After that, Martina Hingis and Anastasia Rodionova took the court in a Women's Doubles contest vs. Daniela Hantuchova and Kveta Peschke. Hantuchova is currently the 32nd ranked women's singles player in the world; and Peschke won a Wimbledon title (Women's Doubles) just three years ago. Hingis and Rodionova have looked unstoppable of late, but were no match for the Aviators dynamic duo. Hantuchova and Peschke won the second set 5-3.

Jensen talks strategy with Anastasia Rodionova & Hingis (r)

Down 10-7, the Kastles turned to their top tandem... Hingis and Leander Paes (29 Grand Slam titles between the two of them) who stopped the Aviators run, winning Mixed Doubles over Peschke and Raven Klaasen 5-2. After three sets, it was all tied up at 12.

Leander Paes: 14 Grand Slams and a great head of hair. Not fair!

Hingis remained on the court for her third straight set, splitting the first four games with former doubles partner Hantuchova. The better rested (and four-time Grand Slam winner) Slovakian closed out the set with three straight games, putting plenty of pressure on the Kastles' Men's Doubles team of Reynolds and Paes.

Daniela Hantuchova celebrates her win over Martina Hingis

The fifth and final set was another nail-biter, as the Kastles chipped away at San Diego's lead; before ultimately coming up short, 5-4 (including a tie-breaker) to Devvarman and Klaasen. The result wasn't favorable; but you can't discount the intensity and playoff-like atmosphere at the Smith Center. Before last night, the Kastles had lost a total of three sets in six matches: Versus San Diego, they lost four of five in one night.

Aviators' Raven Klaasen serves

Tonight, Smith Center hosts the third annual Kastles Charity Classic with celebrities and politicians taking the court to raise money for Best Buddies, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), DC Public Education Fund and Food & Friends. The Kastles return to WTT action on Wednesday night as Venus Williams makes her season debut vs. the Texas Wild at 7:00 PM. Click here to purchase tickets. Act fast: It's bound to be a sell-out.

Former Redskin Rocky McIntosh took on Reynolds' serve

Click here for last night's box score.

Refuse to Lose!

Martina Hingis

Kastles team owner Mark Ein