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Team Stripes Wins Dramatic Charity Classic 42-39
David Gregory, Ben Olsen Named MVPs of Memorable Match
 

The Stripes lifted the coveted Kastles Cup following their entertaining victory over the Stars.
 
(Photo by Kevin Koski)


For the second straight year, Congressmen, White House administration members, national media, and local sports figures came together for an unforgettable team tennis match.

And just like in 2012, the memorable evening came down to the wire. This time it was Team Stripes that emerged victorious, claiming the final tiebreaker 10-8 to secure a 42-39 win overall.

NBC Meet the Press moderator David Gregory was named the Stripes MVP, while D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen took home the honors for Team Stars.

Kastles closer Bobby Reynolds and former Louisiana Senator John Breaux emerged as the only players to be on the winning team two years in a row.

Gregory, Olsen, Reynolds and Breaux weren't the only champions on this night.

Food & Friends, D.C. Public Education Fund and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors shared all of the profits from ticket sales as well as extra funds from sponsors such as Comcast, Nike and T-Mobile.


David Gregory of Meet the Press was named MVP of the victorious Stripes.

(Picture by Austin Smith)


Tiebreakers and Mylan World TeamTennis rules were in play throughout the Washington Kastles Charity Classic, exposing some of D.C.'s most notable names to the exciting format that Kastles fans have come to know and love.

The Stars and Stripes competed in six doubles tiebreakers up to 7 and one doubles tiebreaker up to 10, with the team that accumulated the most points over the course of the evening emerging victorious.


The surprisingly powerful Gregory got the Stripes off to a hot start, hitting three service winners in his tiebreaker alongside Jonathan Karl of ABC News. The TV personalities defeated Congressmen Jim Costa (CA) and Mike McIntyre (NC) 7-4, though McIntyre did win the point of the set when he put a volley away after losing one of his shoes.

In the second set, two more political correspondents backed up their big talk with big games. This time it was the Stars' Bret Baier and Ed Henry of Fox News getting the better of Congressman Mel Watt (NC) and Congresswoman Donna Edwards (MD) 7-2.

That gave the Stars an 11-9 lead after two sets, but it wouldn't last long.

In a rematch of 2012, Bloomberg's Peter Cook and Hans Nichols defeated the men they cover for a living, lead White House economists Gene Sperling and Alan Krueger, 7-4.

One year earlier, it was Sperling and Krueger who came away with a 7-4 win, but Nichols negated any chance of a repeat by winning all four points on his serve with an ace, two service winners and a volley winner.


Mike McIntyre lost a shoe, but won a point.
 
(Photo by Kevin Koski)


The Stripes had regained a 16-15 lead when Washington Kastles owner Mark Ein, coach Murphy Jensen, and players Reynolds and Martina Hingis took to the court.

Reynolds and Ein (Stripes) were matched up against Jensen and Hingis (Stars) in a tiebreaker that went the distance.

Before the start of the set, Stripes coach Leander Paes joked with Jensen when he grabbed a microphone and said: "Murphy, I hope you know your job depends on this."

Playing against his boss Ein, Jensen seemed nervous at times, but that didn't stop him from pulling out all the stops for the Stars.

Over the course of the tiebreaker, Jensen tossed a ball at Reynolds in the middle of a rally, held the net strap down to give Hingis a service advantage, and gave his racquet to ballgirl Ravyn Bias when he appeared too tired to continue.

In the end, it all came down to a winner-take-all 6-6 point. After delighting the crowd for 12 points, Jensen double-faulted, but was given a do-over by Ein. This time, the Kastles coach made his second serve, but still lost the point and tiebreaker when Reynolds hit a high volley that Hingis couldn't handle.


Bret Baier kept the Stars in it with a 7-2 win in his tiebreaker.
 
(Photo by Kevin Koski)


Though the Stripes had won three of four tiebreakers to this point, they only led 23-21 overall.

That lead was extended significantly when Congressman Charlie Dent (CA) and Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (WV) defeated Congressman Tim Bishop (NY) and Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL) 7-3.

All four players showed great feel, but it was Dent who shined brightest. The left-hander hit winners off of his serve, forehand and backhand, and did his best Paes impression with a perfect half-volley off a ball at his feet.

Gregory returned to the court for the Stripes in the following tiebreaker, teaming with Breaux against Olsen and Indonesia Ambassador Dino Djalal. It was the highest-quality tiebreaker of the evening -- including the one featuring the Kastles.

The first six points ended with winners as Olsen and Djalal dominated the net for six volley put-aways over the course of the tiebreaker. The animated Djalal celebrated one overhead winner by high-fiving every one of his teammates on the Stars bench.

After Olsen and Djalal defeated Gregory and Breaux 7-2, the Stars had inched to within 32-31.

Only one tiebreaker to 10 remained, with both teams given the option to substitute players throughout. That they did as all of the Charity Classic players participated.

With the tiebreaker even at 8-8 and the Stripes clinging to a 39-38 lead, the match was left on the racquet of Sperling.

A hero for the winning team in 2012, the Director of the National Economic Council could not muster his magic again. Nichols hit a strong volley to draw an error, then Gregory dipped a difficult return that was too tough for Sperling, propelling the Stripes to a dramatic victory.


Despite losing his set, John Breaux is a two-time Charity Classic champ.

(Photo by Austin Smith)


Washington Kastles Charity Classic Results
Team Stripes def. Team Stars 42-39

David Gregory/Jonathan Karl (Stripes) def. Jim Costa/Mike McIntyre (Stars) 7-4

Bret Baier/Ed Henry (Stars) def. Donna Edwards/Mel Watt (Stripes) 7-2

Peter Cook/Hans Nichols (Stripes) def. Alan Krueger/Gene Sperling (Stars) 7-4

Mark Ein/Bobby Reynolds (Stripes) def. Martina Hingis/Murphy Jensen (Stars) 7-6

Shelley Moore Capito/Charlie Dent (Stripes) def. Tim Bishop/Cheri Bustos (Stars) 7-3

Dino Djalal/Ben Olsen (Stars) def. John Breaux/David Gregory (Stripes) 7-2

Team Stripes def. Team Stars 10-8


Bloomberg's Cook & Nichols got the last laugh after falling to Krueger & Sperling in 2012.
 
(Photo by Austin Smith)
 
 
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