Philadelphia Freedoms (2-2) at Washington Kastles (4-0)
Sunday, July 15, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.
Tickets: Ticketmaster.com, Stadium Box Office
Live Streaming: WashingtonKastles.com
Real-Time Analysis: Facebook, Twitter
All-Time: Kastles lead Freedoms 6-3
Last Meeting: Kastles def. Freedoms 25-11 on July 21, 2011 (Home)
It's USTA/Family Night at Kastles Stadium at The Wharf, featuring a family feud between the Eastern Conference rival Kastles and Freedoms.
Kastles' sisters Anastasia and Arina Rodionova will go head-to-head with 20-year-old Freedoms' twins Karolina and Kristyna Pliskova, who were both Junior Grand Slam champions. An all-sisters women's doubles set will be a sight to see.
In men's play, the experience of Leander Paes and Bobby Reynolds will be daunting for WTT rookies Luka Gregorc and Jordan Kerr to overcome.
Washington has won each of its first four matches of 2012 in a different stadium, surviving the most difficult stretch of its title defense unscathed. Beginning tonight against Philadelphia, the Kastles will enjoy a four-match homestand.
USTA/Family Night pre-match activities begin when the gates open at 5:15 pm, including face-painting, balloon animals and a 10-and-under tennis tournament.
Some tickets are still available to see the Kastles play for their 21st consecutive victory tonight on the DC Waterfront at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for USTA/Family Night start at $15, so purchase them now at Ticketmaster.com to avoid the lines at the Stadium Box Office.
If you can't make it to Kastles Stadium at The Wharf tonight, tune in to live streaming of the Kastles vs. Freedoms on WashingtonKastles.com.
In the event of rain, all efforts will be made to play the match at Kastles Stadium at The Wharf. Summer rain typically doesn't last long, so once it stops, the Kastles' stadium crew dries the court for the start or resumption of play.
In the event that some or all of the match cannot be played outdoors, it will be moved to an indoor court five minutes away at the East Potomac Tennis Center at Hains Point (1090 Ohio Drive, Washington, DC 20024). An announcement of the court change will be made over the PA system to fans at the stadium and on the Kastles' Facebook and Twitter pages.
The Kastles have not played any part of a home match indoors since 2010, but when they do, it is an exciting and energetic experience for fans who are sitting on the court only feet away from the players. Seating at East Potomac Tennis Center is on a first-come, first-served basis.
MS: Bobby Reynolds (WAS) vs. Luka Gregorc (PHL)
WS: Anastasia Rodionova (WAS) vs. Kristyna Pliskova (PHL)
MD: Reynolds/Leander Paes (WAS) vs. Gregorc/Jordan Kerr (PHL)
WD: An. Rodionova/Arina Rodionova (WAS) vs. Kr. Pliskova/Karolina Pliskova (PHL)
MXD: Paes/An. Rodionova (WAS) vs. Kerr/Kr. Pliskova (PHL)
Kastles' closer Bobby Reynolds has not lost a set in men's singles this season.
(Photo by Ned Dishman)
SET BY SET
Having excelled in team tennis as a college player at Vanderbilt, Kastles' closer Bobby Reynolds seems to play his best tennis when wearing a Washington uniform. Case in point: Earlier this season, he lost to Robby Ginepri of Boston and John-Patrick Smith of Orange County in straight sets at USTA Pro Circuit Challengers. In the past week, he defeated both of those men on the road for the Kastles. Now 4-0 in WTT this season, Reynolds enters his set against Luka Gregorc tonight 3-0 lifetime against the Slovenian.
Anastasia Rodionova has won only one of four sets in women's singles so far this season, albeit a big one to clinch the Kastles' win at Springfield on Wednesday night. Likewise, the left-handed Kristyna Pliskova is seeking her second victory of the season. Though Anastasia has never played a Pliskova sister in singles, Arina is 1-1 against Kristyna, which could prove to be an advantage in pre-match preparations.
After a surprising loss to Devin Britton and Amir Weintraub of Springfield, the veteran Kastles' team of Paes and Reynolds got back on track with wins over New York and Boston. They will have the clear edge in experience over Philadelphia's Gregorc and Kerr, who have played only three sets together. But Gregorc and Kerr are coming off a win over Britton and Weintraub on Saturday, so the Kastles should not take them lightly.
The most anticipated set of the evening pits the Rodionovas against the Pliskovas, and it will be a daunting task for the Kastles' sisters. Karolina and Kristyna Pliskova enter tonight's match as the top-ranked women's doubles team in the league, winners of their last three sets. The Rodionovas rallied from 2-4 down to win their first set of the season against Boston on Friday, but they will need an even greater effort tonight to upset their sisterly counterparts.
Kristyna Pliskova is also the top-ranked mixed doubles player in the league. But Kristyna and her partner Kerr have not encountered a team as talented as Paes and Anastasia Rodionova. The Kastles' duet is undefeated this season, dropping serve only one time through four sets. In addition, Anastasia has not lost a service point in mixed doubles since Washington's second match of the season, winning all eight of her service points against Boston and all 10 against New York.
Jordan Kerr represented Australia in men's doubles at the 2008 Olympic Games.
(Photo by Fred Mullane/Camerawork USA)
KEY FOR THE KASTLES - NO LETDOWN, NO PROBLEM
The Freedoms will feature an entire roster of rookies tonight, from first-year head coach Josh Cohen
to the Pliskova twins. But the Philadelphia players have experience on some of the biggest stages in tennis.
Kerr represented Australia at the 2008 Olympics, Gregorc qualified at Wimbledon in 2009 and Karolina and Kristyna Pliskova won Grand Slam junior titles at the Australian Open and Wimbledon respectively in 2010.
The Kastles men have carried Washington to its four victories in 2012. With Paes and Reynolds' superior talent over Kerr and Gregorc, tonight could be a similar story.
That being said, wins by the Rodionovas over the Pliskovas would do wonders for the Washington women's confidence moving forward this season.