Wednesday, July 22, 2015

WTT: Washington Kastles 25 Boston Lobsters 13

Murphy Jensen is all smiles again

No Serena, no problem. The Washington Kastles took sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference last night, sweeping all five sets from the Boston Lobsters 25-13 before a sold-out crowd at Charles E. Smith Center/Kastles Stadium. The win improves Washington's record to 5-3, and gives them the inside track on home court advantage throughout the playoffs (including a potential fifth straight Mylan World TeamTennis title.)

If the Kastles continue to play like they have the past two matches at home, winning a sixth overall championship will be almost impossible to prevent (with all due respect to the still-undefeated Austin Aces.) ESPN was "in da house," presumably to broadcast world #1 Serena Williams, who was unable to play due to a recent elbow injury. I'm sure those watching at home were a bit disappointed to miss out on Serena; but they were still treated to some spectacular tennis, including the home debut of hard-serving Sam Querrey.

Great home debut for Sam Querrey

Querrey's serve lived up to its hype, as he blasted his way to victory in both Men's Doubles and Singles. The former (a 5-4 nail-biter over Tim Smyczek) clinched the win for the home team, who travels to Boston for a rematch with the Lobsters on Thursday. A loss could push the Kastles back into second place (Boston hosts Philadelphia tomorrow night) but fear not... Martina Hingis makes her long-awaited return, so get prepared for one of those typical Kastle runs (all the way through the playoffs.)

Leander Paes gets back on track in Mixed Doubles

Hingis' return is sure to put an even bigger smile on the face of Leander Paes; but the Kastles team captain found his groove again (as well as a new racquet) teaming with Anastasia Rodionova for an emphatic 5-2 win in Mixed Doubles over Scott Lipsky and Maria Sanchez in the opening set. Lipsky's no slouch either... he's a former Grand Slam champion in Mixed Doubles (2011 French Open) so last night's win is even more impressive.

Madison Brengle won Women's Singles and Doubles

Rodionova went on to team with "super sub" Madison Brengle in Women's Doubles... a 5-0 wipeout of Sanchez and Irina Falconi (a former Citi Open finalist.) They put Washington in control, 10-2 with Men's Doubles on the horizon. That's where Paes & Querrey eked out a 5-4 victory over Lipsky and Smyczek to put the Kastles ahead 15-6 at halftime.

Paes and Querrey (r) won Men's Doubles

After the break, Brengle continued her winning ways, besting Falconi 5-3 in Women's Singles. It's not easy finding a home on the Kastles' star-studded women's roster; but Brengle can pretty much write her own ticket, after her recent string of victories. She's been a pivotal part of the team's success.

Anastasia Rodionova won Mixed and Women's Doubles

Querrey and Smyczek battled to a fifth set tie-breaker, but Querrey's serve was simply too powerful to overcome. If Querrey can continue to mesh well with Paes in Doubles, the Kastles may be unbeatable. After Thursday's pivotal rematch with Boston, Washington has to travel all the way down to Texas to battle Austin on Friday, before returning home to host Springfield on Sunday at 5 PM. Tickets for that contest (featuring Hingis) are still available: Click here to purchase online.

Boston's Maria Sanchez

Click here for last night's box score.

Scott Lipsky

Tim Smyczek