Boston Lobsters (2-2) at Washington Kastles (5-0)
Monday, July 16, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.
Tickets: Ticketmaster.com, Stadium Box Office
Live Scoring: WashingtonKastles.com
Real-Time Analysis: Facebook, Twitter
All-Time: Kastles lead Lobsters 5-4
Last Meeting: Kastles def. Lobsters 24-19 on July 13, 2012 (Away)
Unless you're living under a rock, you've heard that the Washington Kastles are on an unprecedented 21-match winning streak. With Wimbledon doubles champion Venus Williams
set to make her season debut for the Kastles, little is likely to change tonight.
Now in her third season as a Kastle, Venus has led Washington to victory in each of her five prior appearances for the team. That's bad news for the Boston Lobsters, who lost to the Venus-less Kastles 24-19 on Friday night in Boston.
After playing for the Kastles tonight in DC and Saturday night in New York, Venus will seek a fourth gold medal at her fourth Olympic Games beginning July 28th.
Former World No. 15 Robby Ginepri
represented Boston on Friday, pushing Washington to tiebreakers in men's singles and doubles. Ginepri won't be around to lead the Lobsters tonight, replaced by veteran Jan-Michael Gambill
. The fifth-year Lobster Gambill was on the 2011 Boston team that lost three times to the Kastles.
The addition of Venus and subtraction of Ginepri tonight means that five completely different match-ups from Friday's match are expected.
Some tickets are still available, but going fast, to see the Venus and the Kastles play for their 22nd straight win tonight on the DC Waterfront at 7:00 p.m. 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, follow live scoring of the Kastles vs. Lobsters on WashingtonKastles.com.
MS: Bobby Reynolds (WAS) vs. Jan-Michael Gambill (BOS)
WS: Venus Williams (WAS) vs. Irina Falconi (BOS)
MD: Reynolds/Leander Paes (WAS) vs. Gambill/Eric Butorac (BOS)
WD: Williams/An. Rodionova (WAS) vs. Falconi/Carly Gullickson-Eagle (BOS)
MXD: Paes/Williams (WAS) vs. Butorac/Falconi (BOS)
Venus Williams won the Wimbledon doubles title with sister Serena on July 7th.
(Photo by Ned Dishman)
SET BY SET
Bobby Reynolds has been unstoppable for the Kastles through the first week of the WTT season, winning all five men's singles sets that he played. Tonight, he will face a familiar foe in Gambill, whom he defeated in their first four WTT meetings. But in their last singles set, the Lobster beat the Kastles' closer 5-3 in the Eastern Conference Finals. Reynolds fought back that night to win the first game of overtime from Gambill and clinch a spot in the WTT Finals for Washington.
In their last four meetings with the Kastles, the Lobsters have won only four sets. Three of those have come thanks to 22-year-old American Irina Falconi, who joined Boston midway through the 2011 season and has been a thorn in the Kastles' side ever since. Falconi will face a tougher task tonight in her first-career meeting with five-time Wimbledon singles champion Venus Williams. Venus' power could prove to be the perfect kryptonite for Falconi's savvy, defensive style.
After falling to Gambill and Eric Butorac 5-0 in the 2010 regular season finale, Reynolds and Leander Paes swept the Lobsters' duo in 2011. On Friday, with Gambill looking on from the Lobsters' bench, Reynolds and Paes defeated Butorac and Ginepri 5-4. The Kastles saved five of six break points in that set, but won't want to test their luck that often in tonight's match.
It's often forgotten that Venus Williams has won 13 Grand Slam women's doubles titles in her career. With incredible reach, an excellent serve and soft touch, Venus is one of the most versatile doubles players in the world when she wants to be. Her partnership with Anastasia Rodionova tonight should prove too strong for Falconi and Carly Gullickson-Eagle, who let a 4-2 lead slip away against Anastasia and Arina Rodionova on Friday night.
Paes and Venus are 4-1 as the Kastles' mixed doubles team. Their most recent set together last July in Philadelphia ranks among the most memorable performances in Washington history. With the Kastles trailing the Philadelphia Freedoms 17-14 on the road, Paes and Venus blasted winners from every angle of the court. They won the fifth set 5-1 to complete a 19-18 Kastles' comeback. That was just the second victory in the Kastles' current 21-match winning streak, but who knows where the team would be without it?
Irina Falconi is 3-0 lifetime in singles versus the Kastles.
(Photo by Fred Mullane/Camerawork USA)
KEY FOR THE KASTLES - JUST WIN, BABY
The Kastles won by five games on Friday in Boston against a Lobsters' team led by the 2005 US Open semifinalist Ginepri. With Venus in the Washington lineup, and Ginepri out of Boston's, the odds of the Kastles winning improve in all five sets tonight.
In Venus' DC appearance last season, she lost to rising American Christina McHale
in singles. So a Falconi upset is not out of the realm of possibility.
But the Kastles are the stronger team in all three doubles sets, and Reynolds will be keen to resume his winning ways against Gambill in men's singles.
Tickets to tonight's match are going fast and may be gone by the time the stadium box office opens this afternoon. Get yours now on Ticketmaster.com