Thursday, July 30, 2015

WTT: Washington Kastles 22 Boston Lobsters 14

It ended like it began... with a win over conference rival, the Boston Lobsters. The Washington Kastles wrapped up their regular season with a 22-14 victory over Boston in front of an (always) adoring crowd at Charles E. Smith Center/Kastles Stadium. The visitors needed a win to advance to tonight's Eastern Conference playoff; but as in their three previous match-ups this season, they couldn't find an answer for the four-time defending WTT champs. Boston finishes the year with a 5-9 record: Washington improves to 10-4 with two more wins (fearless prediction) still to come.

If it wasn't so much fun to watch, you might consider yet another playoff appearance almost routine; but five straight titles? That's the stuff legends are made of (then again, so is two, three and four.) The Kastles kept their proverbial foot on the gas, rolling out their starters for a seemingly meaningless encounter... 24 hours before a crucial playoff match. Meanwhile, Boston had everything to gain (and lose) but lose they did, paving the way for the Philadelphia Freedoms to do battle with Washington tonight at 7.

Sam Querrey gets a hand after Men's Doubles

The Kastles hold a 2-1 advantage over Philly this season; but one of those wins was a 21-20 nail-biter back on July 17th (in Philly, and without Martina Hingis and Sam Querrey.) Both Hingis and Querrey were near the top of their games last night... winning Men's and Women's Singles respectively, by a combined tally of 10-1. Something tells me they're going to be even better tonight.

Martina Hingis defeated Irina Falconi in Women's Singles

Querrey and Leander Paes got things started last night with a 5-3 Men's Double win over Boston's colorful Scott Lipsky and Christian Harrison, followed by a hard-fought (but ultimately lopsided 5-1) triumph for Hingis in Women's Singles versus Irina Falconi. The Lobsters cut the deficit to 13-9 with a surprise win in Mixed Doubles... Lipsky and Arantxa Parra Santonja over recent Wimbledon champions Hingis and Paes, 5-3. Halftime, here we come.

Dynamic duo: Leander Paes and Sam Querrey (r)

After the break, both teams needed another one. That's because Women's Doubles took nearly an hour (57 minutes) to complete. Hingis and Anastasia Rodionova looked terrific, but lost a thrilling 5-4 set to Falconi and Parra Santonja. All of a sudden, Boston was within three (17-14) with Men's Singles to decide their season.

Serve's up: Anastasia Rodionova

Unfortunately for Harrison and the Lobsters, the unranked 21-year-old couldn't handle Querrey's powerful serve and return game. Querrey swept the set in an astounding 12 minutes, securing the win for the home team in convincing fashion.

Fresh haircut, same great game: Leander Paes

Tickets are still available for tonight's game... as well as Sunday's 11:30 AM championship (vs. Austin or California) if/when the Kastles win, of course. Click here to purchase online.

Interview time for Coach Murphy Jensen

Click here for last night's box score.

Boston's Christian Harrison

Team MVP: 2 wins for Arantxa Parra Santonja