Washington Kastles (9-0) vs. Kansas City Explorers (3-6)
Sunday, July 22, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.
Tickets: 202-4-TENNIS, email@example.com
Television: CSN Washington
Live Scoring: WashingtonKastles.com
Real-Time Analysis: Facebook, Twitter
All-Time: Explorers lead Kastles 3-1.
Last Meeting: Kastles def. Explorers 21-18 on July 5, 2011 (Home)
It will be a star-studded night at Kastles Stadium at The Wharf as a capacity crowd and live television audience send three Kastles players off to the London Olympic Games.
Venus Williams (USA), Leander Paes (India) and Anastasia Rodionova (Australia) will compete for the Kastles for the final time during the regular season when Washington meets Kansas City this evening.
Now 7-0 with the Kastles, Venus Williams will be catching the last flight to London following tonight's match. Paes and Rodionova will leave for London on Monday, with all three players hoping to gain grass-court practice before the games begin at Wimbledon on Saturday.
The three-time gold medalist Venus is substituting for sister Serena Williams, who is cautiously resting a back injury start of the Olympics.
The only franchise in World TeamTennis to boast a winning record against the Kastles comes to town tonight, eager for a crack at Washington's historic winning streak.
The Kansas City Explorers are 3-1 all-time versus Washington dating back to the Kastles' inaugural 2008 season.
But the one Washington win was a big one. The Kastles clipped Kansas City 21-18 in the first match ever at Kastles Stadium at The Wharf on July 5, 2011.
That match also marked the first of 25 consecutive victories for the Kastles, a run that continues to this day.
The 2012 Explorers' team is completely different from the squad that came to DC last season, led by World No. 12 doubles player and 2010 US Open finalist Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi.
Heading the Kastles' roster tonight will be Venus Williams, competing in her third Kastles' match of the last seven days. She is expected to play the first two sets this evening before her flight to London, where she will be vying for a tennis-record fourth gold medal.
Tonight's match will air live on CSN Washington and premiere on the Tennis Channel on Monday, July 30th at 3 pm. A very select number of box seats were just made available to tonight's match, but only by calling the Kastles' office at 202-4-TENNIS (202-483-6647) or E-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get them quickly as these tickets will surely sell out before the first serve in tonight's match at 7 p.m.
MS: Bobby Reynolds (WAS) vs. Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi (KCE)
WS: Anastasia Rodionova (WAS) vs. Chanel Simmonds (KCE)
MD: Reynolds/Leander Paes (WAS) vs. Qureshi/Nick Monroe (KCE)
WD: An. Rodionova/Venus Williams(WAS) vs. Simmonds/Tetiana Luzhanska (KCE)
MXD: Paes/Williams (WAS) vs. Qureshi/Luzhanska (KCE)
|The Washington Kastles are 7-0 all-time when Venus Williams is in their lineup.
(Photo by Fred Mullane/Camerawork USA)
SET BY SET
The Kastles' Bobby Reynolds hopes to end a three-set losing streak against a surprise opponent tonight. After ranking last in the WTT men's singles rankings through seven matches, Nick Monroe appears to have been replaced by the doubles specialist Qureshi. Explorers' coach Brent Haygarth played Qureshi at singles on Friday against league-leading Sam Querrey of Sacramento, and again on Saturday against John-Patrick Smith of Orange County. Querrey edged Qureshi 5-4 and Smith beat the Pakistani 5-3.
The Explorers also made a change at women's singles earlier this season, replacing the struggling Tetiana Luzhanska with 19-year-old Chanel Simmonds. That move has worked wonders so far. Luzhanska was 9-19 in games played while the left-handed South African Simmonds is ranked No. 1 in the league with a 28-14 games record. Coming off her exhilarating performance on Saturday, and due to play only two sets tonight, Venus Williams may sit out women's singles for Anastasia Rodionova.
To say Paes' presence in doubles will be missed the next four matches is a huge understatement. DC-native Treat Conrad Huey will take Paes' spot in the lineup, while Reynolds replaces Paes as the team's leader. Paes and Reynolds are 20-5 during Washington's historic winning streak. The Explorers' Qureshi is a world-class doubles player who reached the French Open semifinals earlier this season, so Monroe should anticipate seeing a majority of the shots from the Kastles tonight.
Kastles' Olympians Williams and Rodionova will come together tonight before becoming adversaries in the women's doubles draw in London. After defeating the Boston Lobsters 5-1 on Monday, Williams and Rodionova let two crucial break points slip away last night in New York before losing 5-3. Against an inexperienced Explorers' women's doubles team of Simmonds and Luzhanska, the Kastles should rebound rather nicely.
Paes and Williams suffered a rare mixed doubles defeat in New York last night, so the Olympians will be especially motivated against Qureshi and Luzhanska this evening. The only reason Qureshi is missing the Olympics is because doubles acceptances were based on the combined rankings of both members of a team, and the next highest-ranked player from Pakistan is World No. 1,522 Aqeel Khan.
|Aisam Ul-Haq-Qureshi reached the doubles semifinals of the 2012 French Open.
(Photo by Fred Mullane/Camerawork USA)
KEY FOR THE KASTLES - PLAY LIKE ITS LONDON
Three of the four players expected to compete for the Kastles tonight are going to The Olympic Games.
As Williams displayed in New York on Saturday night, it's never too early to put on an Olympic-caliber performance.
Paes and Rodionova have given Kastles fans plenty to cheer about this season. They'll want to do it again one more time.