Strong Kastles Contingent Competing at US Open
Reynolds, Rodionova and Gallovits-Hall Qualify
Venus Williams reached the final of her 1st US Open in '97.
(Photo by Fred Mullane/Camerawork USA)
Picking up where they left off in the World TeamTennis regular season, the Washington Kastles are already on a roll at the US Open.
Newly-crowned WTT Male MVP Bobby Reynolds and first-year Kastles Anastasia Rodionova and Edina Gallovits-Hall all won three qualifying matches this week to reach the main draw.
Beginning on Monday, five more Kastles will get in on the New York City action, led by Australian Open men's doubles champion Leander Paes and Olympic gold medalists Venus and Serena Williams.
Kastles players enter the Big Apple having won 30 straight WTT matches and 20 titles on tour in 2012. At the conclusion of the US Open, Reynolds, Paes, Venus Williams and Anastasia & Arina Rodionova
will head south to Charleston, S.C., for WTT Finals Weekend
A two-time US Open singles winner, Venus showed vintage form at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati last week, reaching the semifinals with a three-set win over reigning US Open champion Samantha Stosur.
That victory boosted Venus up from No. 64 to No. 47 in the WTA rankings, her highest ranking since she battled back from Sjogren's Syndrome to return to the tour in March.
While Venus is the most dangerous unseeded player in the women's singles draw, no player wants to see her name anywhere near that of Serena Williams.
That's because Serena has been playing some of the best tennis of her remarkable career since April, winning 36 of 38 singles matches to claim five titles on three different surfaces.
Serena is the No. 4 seed at the US Open, but make no mistake about it: She is the best player in the world right now. The Kastles' original is 6-0 this season against World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, No. 2 Agnieszka Radwanska and No. 3 Maria Sharapova, dropping only one set along the way.
Besides sweeping singles titles at Wimbledon and The Olympic Games this summer, Serena also teamed with Venus for their fifth Wimbledon doubles championship and third Olympic gold-medal doubles victory.
The Williams sisters will put their 11-match winning streak on the line when they play together at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The two-time tournament champions have only competed in the US Open women's doubles draw once since 2001.
Anastasia Rodionova will play US Open mixed doubles with Jean-Julien Rojer.
(Photo by Fred Mullane/Camerawork USA)
Fellow Kastles Anastasia Rodionova and Raquel Kops-Jones will join the Williams sisters in the women's doubles event, as 23rd-ranked Rodionova teams with Galina Voskoboeva and 20th-ranked Kops-Jones pairs with Abigail Spears.
Both duos arrive at the US Open on a high note. Rodionova reached her eighth WTA semifinal of the season earlier this month in Montreal alongside Voskoboeva, while Kops-Jones and Spears won the US Open Series tournament in Carlsbad, Calif.
In men's play, Paes will be pleased to be teaming with Radek Stepanek once again. The two-time WTT Male MVP has played just two of his last seven tournaments with Stepanek. But hard-court titles in Melbourne and Miami at the start of 2012 make the Indo-Czech pair one of the US Open favorites.
A 13-time Grand Slam champion, Paes has reached the US Open men's doubles final five times, having won titles with a pair of Czech partners: Martin Damm in 2006 and Lukas Dlouhy in 2009.
The man who substituted for Paes in the Kastles' lineup at the end of the regular season will be joining him in the US Open main draw. Treat Huey and Dominic Inglot are one of the hottest teams on the entry list, having won the Citi Open championship earlier this month.
The Kastles' men met in the third round of the 2011 US Open, with Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi prevailing over Huey and Somdev Devvarman 6-4, 7-5.
Paes, Huey, Kops-Jones and Rodionova are all expected to be in the mixed doubles draw when it is released next week.
After a 14-0 regular season, the Kastles went 9-0 in the US Open qualifying tournament. Rodionova dominated the field in women's singles qualifying, dropping only 11 games in six sets. Her Washington substitute Gallovits-Hall followed suit, as did Reynolds, building on the fine form that saw him win 11 of 14 singles sets during the WTT regular season.
All three Kastles qualifiers received favorable first-round match-ups in the main draw: Reynolds vs. fellow qualifier Tim Smyczek
, Gallovits-Hall vs. fellow qualifier Stefanie Voegele
and Rodionova vs. wild card Julia Cohen.
Though Rodionova and Cohen have never met before, Gallovits-Hall is 1-0 against Voegele and Reynolds is 5-1 against Smyczek, with all five wins coming in straight sets and on hard courts.
The Williams sisters will each meet a countrywoman in the first round: Serena takes on CoCo Vandeweghe of the Sacramento Capitals, while Venus faces wild card Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
Serena defeated Vandeweghe 7-5, 6-3 six weeks ago in the final of the US Open Series event in Stanford, Calif. With her fourth win in as many meetings against Mattek-Sands, Venus will likely play No. 6 seed Angelique Kerber in the second round. Kerber defeated Venus at the Olympics on August 1st and Serena in Cincinnati on August 17th.
A 'Keeping up with the Kastles'
tracker on the official team website will feature full player results and schedules, links to live scoring and streaming, and details on how you can catch the Kastles on TV.
Leander Paes has reached 2 of 3 Grand Slam mixed doubles finals so far in 2012.
(Photo by Vithaya Phongsavan)