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Photo Credit: A Who's Who of Washington came out to Kastles Stadium at the Wharf to witness history. (Photo Credit: Rich Kessler)

Top 10 Moments In Kastles History: #9

TOP 10 MOMENTS IN KASTLES HISTORY

#9: Kastles win 33rd Consecutive Match, Tying LA Lakers' Record for Longest Winning Streak in U.S. Pro Sports History

Martina Hingis Led Team to Victory in her Kastles Debut at Kastles Stadium at the Wharf on July 8, 2013


A Who's Who of Washington came out to Kastles Stadium at the Wharf to witness history. (Photo Credit: Rich Kessler)

To commemorate the Kastles 10th-anniversary season, we've reviewed the team's most memorable events, episodes, incidents, and milestones over the years, and selected the 10 Greatest Moments in Kastles History. We hope this vibrant look back inspires you to look forward to another historic season!

On Monday, July 8, 2013, a sold-out crowd squeezed into Kastles Stadium at the Wharf hoping to witness history. A victory over the New York Sportimes, their fierce WTT rivals at that time, would mark the 33rd-consecutive win for the Washington franchise over three seasons, tying the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers for the longest winning streak in U.S. pro sports history!

The crowd was a Who's Who of Washington DC, including former First Lady Michelle Obama, Redskins Hall-of-Famer John Riggins, and CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, among other luminaries. Unfortunately due to a back injury, Venus Williams was relegated to the sidelines, but she cheered on her teammates from the bench and applauded louder than anyone else that evening.

New Kastle Martina Hingis winds up for a forehand. (Photo: Austin Smith)

After the Kastles big-serving Kevin Anderson handily dispatched of New York's Jesse Witten in the opening set of men's singles, 5-2, Martina Hingis made her Kastles debut that night filling in for Venus and showed why she had won the WTT Female MVP the year before. The new Kastle won three-consecutive sets against her former teammates by a combined score of 15-8 to turn the match into a runaway. In her first set as a Kastles player, Hingis out-rallied, out-served, and out-finessed Anna-Lena Groenefeld, 5-1, in women's singles to secure a 10-3 lead for Washington.

Hingis and Paes, in their first match together, pull off a clutch set. (Photo Credit: Willis Bretz)

When Hingis and Kastles captain Leander Paes got on the court together in the next set for the first time as mixed doubles partners, neither they nor anyone else in attendance could realize they were witnessing the start of a team that would make history both for the Kastles and also as the holders of a historic Grand Slam in mixed doubles just a few years later. The legendary duo was pushed to a tiebreaker in their debut set by Kveta Peschke and Robert Kendrick, but stole the momentum when, at 2-all in the breaker, Hingis hit five volleys in a row, as the Sportimes repeatedly tried to break her down from the baseline. But on their sixth attempt, Paes yelled, "Mine!" Hingis got out of the way and the Indian poached and smashed a winner to a huge ovation from the crowd, and ultimately consolidated the set, 5-4.

In Hingis's third and final set of the evening, she and partner Anastasia Rodionova knocked the wind out of the Sportimes with a 5-3 victory over Groenefeld and Peschke to move the Kastles to a 20-10 lead and five games closer to tying the historic record.

It was now time for the men of the Kastle to close the door. Kastles closer Bobby Reynolds, who had patiently awaited his moment in the spotlight on the bench all night, and Paes squared off against Witten and Kendrick, a team that had been their bitter rivals for many years. With so much history between these two teams, the Sportimes duo was going to put up their toughest fight no matter what the overall match score.

In the blink of an eye both teams held serve to tie the set, 2-all. Then Paes sent fans into a frenzy with not one, but two of his classic knifing drop volley winners on the full stretch to give Washington a 3-2 advantage. But the Sportimes were not giving up. Witten held serve again for 3-all and Paes did the same for 4-3, leaving the set on the racquet of the Sportimes' Robert Kendrick. Within a quick few points, Paes carved a backhand return that Kendrick couldn't handle, which earned Washington two match points.

Kastles closer Bobby Reynolds clinched the win to the exuberant applause of the crowd. (Photo Credit: Rich Kessler)

At this point, every fan inside Kastles Stadium rose as one and screamed "Let's Go Kastles!" eager to see Washington clinch its 33rd straight win.

But Kendrick saved the first match point with a service winner, bringing up a 3-all deciding point that would either send the set into a tiebreak or send the Kastles home as winners. Kastles closer Reynolds readied himself for the pivotal return, but he never had to swing his racquet. The pressure got to Kendrick who double-faulted to gift Washington its ninth-straight win against New York 25-13 and, more importantly, tie the Lakers' record!




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