Kastles at Lasers Preview - 8:05 pm Live Scoring
Washington Kastles (1-0) at Springfield Lasers (0-2)
Wednesday, July 11 at 8:05 pm
Live Scoring: WashingtonKastles.com
Real-Time Analysis: Facebook, Twitter
All-Time: Kastles lead Lasers 4-1
Last Meeting: Kastles def. Lasers 21-20 on July 14, 2011 (Home)
On the eve of the Kastles' 2012 home opener, Washington stops in Springfield for a rematch of the 2009 WTT Finals. Only Leander Paes of the Kastles remains from the players who competed in that match, when Washington saved three championship points to capture the King Trophy for the first time.
This year's Lasers' squad features three WTT rookies, including World No. 65 singles player Timea Babos and 2009 NCAA singles champion Devin Britton. The baby-faced Lasers have already dropped their opener to the Kansas City Explorers and a Tuesday night road match to the New York Sportimes.
Washington arrives after defeating Orange County 22-18 on Monday night, but the Kastles know they have room to improve. While Paes and Bobby Reynolds picked up where they left off in 2011, Anastasia and Arina Rodionova struggled against Breakers' veterans Lindsay Davenport and Anna-Lena Groenefeld.
Live scoring for tonight's Kastles vs. Lasers match can be followed on WashingtonKastles.com.
Then, be there in person when the champions return to Kastles Stadium at The Wharf tomorrow night against the rival New York Sportimes. Very limited tickets remain and are available on Ticketmaster.com. All attendees will get a souvenir Kastles T-Shirt commemorating the 2011 Perfect Season courtesy of GEICO.
Men's Singles: Bobby Reynolds (WAS) vs. Amir Weintraub (SPR)
Women's Singles: Anastasia Rodionova (WAS) vs. Timea Babos (SPR)
Men's Doubles: Reynolds/Leander Paes (WAS) vs. Weintraub/Devin Britton (SPR)
Women's Doubles: An. Rodionova/Arina Rodionova (WAS) vs. Babos/Maria Sanchez (SPR)
Mixed Doubles: Paes/An. Rodionova (WAS) vs. Britton/Sanchez (SPR)
Kastles' closer Bobby Reynolds clinched Washington's season opener Monday.
(Photo by Susan Mullane/Camerawork USA)
SET BY SET
Though Israel's Amir Weintraub is listed as a team tennis rookie, he has had experience competing in the European club tennis system, which runs independently of the ATP World Tour. In Bobby Reynolds, he will be meeting the ultimate team player. The Kastles' closer has said repeatedly that he wishes World TeamTennis lasted the entire year. In their only previous meeting, Reynolds defeated Weintraub in three sets at an ATP Challenger Tour event in Canada last March. The Kastles' closer earned his first save of the WTT season on Monday night, fighting off three set points in a tiebreaker to beat John-Patrick Smith. Weintraub is 2-0 so far in WTT play, defeating Americans Nick Monroe and Robert Kendrick.
Timea Babos has emerged as one of the breakthrough stars on the tennis tour this season, earning a spot on the Hungarian Olympic team. The 19-year-old defeated French Open finalist Sara Errani en route to the Acapulco WTA title in March. She and Kastles' newcomer Anastasia Rodionova have never met before, so expect them to feel each other out in the opening moments of their set tonight. Trouble is, WTT's first-to-five, No-Ad format doesn't afford much time for getting to know your opponent. Rodionova comes into tonight's match hoping to improve upon her 5-3 loss to Groenefeld, while Babos fell by 5-3 scores to Tetiana Luzhanska of Kansas City and Martina Hingis of New York.
After playing every day during the second week of Wimbledon, then again Monday night in the Kastles' season opener, Leander Paes got a much-needed day off on Tuesday. Expect to see a rejuvenated Paes in tonight's men's doubles set, when he and Reynolds meet the inexperienced pairing of Weintraub and Devin Britton. While Weintraub has reached a career-high singles ranking this season, the quick-handed Britton is enjoying his best-ever doubles ranking at No. 180 in the world. While Reynolds and Paes are 13-4 going back to 2011, Weintraub and Britton have won only three games in two sets together this season.
Like Britton, Maria Sanchez of the Lasers has arrived at her career-high doubles ranking, reaching No. 137 in the world. She proved her prowess in doubles as a member of the St. Louis Aces during the 2011 WTT season. Playing with World No. 1 Liezel Huber, Sanchez went a perfect 10-0 in women's doubles. Timea Babos is no Liezel Huber, but the teenager did win three Grand Slam junior doubles titles, so expect Anastasia and Arina Rodionova to be tested tonight. Both Washington's and Springfield's women's doubles teams lost their WTT openers in a tiebreaker, with Babos and Sanchez also dropping a 5-3 decision Tuesday night to Hingis and Ashley Harkleroad of the Sportimes.
While Paes prepares for his second match alongside Anastasia Rodionova, Springfield fields an All-American doubles team if ever there was one. Both Britton (Ole Miss) and Sanchez (USC) earned All-American honors while playing college tennis. They're not on campus anymore though; the Lasters' pair is in World TeamTennis against the fifth-ranked man and 26th-ranked woman playing doubles today. In their first set together, Paes and Rodionova put on a clinic of winners in a 5-1 rout of Davenport and Travis Parrott. Britton and Sanchez are 0-2 so far this season.
Maria Sanchez picked up a win over the Kastles in women's doubles last season.
(Photo by Fred Mullane/Camerawork USA)
KEY FOR THE KASTLES - BRING YOUR BEST IN DOUBLES
Doubles dictate 3/5 of the result of every World TeamTennis match, and the Kastles have the clear edge in experience and career achievements over the Lasers in each of those sets.
Paes and Reynolds are in their third WTT season together, the Rodionova sisters have reached six WTA semifinals as a team and Paes has made mixed doubles magic with one partner after another in his illustrious career.
The Lasers know all of that, and will struggle to overcome early deficits in doubles if the Kastles' stars start strongly. But if allowed to hang around, Britton and Sanchez particularly have the talent to lead upsets in the doubles sets.
The USC alum Sanchez has won three USTA Pro Circuit doubles titles in 2012, while Britton has posted a 36-4 record this season at Futures and Challenger events. After capturing six Futures doubles titles, Britton won his first Challenger championship last week in Winnetka, Ill.
Before you write that off as a minor-league win, consider this: Wimbledon men's doubles champions Jonathan Marray and Frederik Nielsen lost in a Challenger final four weeks before capturing the most illustrious title in tennis.
Join the Kastles for live scoring at 8:05 pm on WashingtonKastles.com as the team seeks its 18th consecutive victory, with the opportunity to continue its defense of the perfect season at home Thursday against Hingis and the Sportimes. Get your tickets now!