The Kastles' Perfect Thursday at WimbledonJune 29, 2012 - World TeamTennis (WTT) Washington Kastles
Kastles' players went 5-0 at Wimbledon on Thursday, serving notice to the league -- and the world -- that their 16-0 season in 2011 was anything but a fluke.
Serena Williams led the way with a pair of victories, reaching the singles third round before teaming with sister Venus for a first-round doubles win.
Her Kastles' teammates enjoyed similar success. Anastasia Rodionova, Leander Paes and Bobby Reynolds all advanced to the doubles second round.
After easing past Melinda Czink 6-1, 6-4 on Centre Court, Serena took to Court 18 to play her first doubles match with Venus in two years. The Williams sisters did not disappoint, routing Vesna Dolonc and Olga Savchuk 6-0, 6-3.
The four-time champions will face a tougher challenge in the next round when they meet French Open finalists Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova, who both have DC ties. Kirilenko is the girlfriend of Washington Capitals' superstar Alex Ovechkin, while Petrova was a pivotal member of the Kastles' 2009 championship team.
In other women's doubles action, Rodionova and Andreja Klepac overcame a difficult draw by defeating Bad Gastein champions Jill Craybas and Julia Goerges 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
Revenge will be on Rodionova's mind in the second round when she and her Slovenian partner meet No. 9 seeds Nuria Llagostera Vives and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez. Earlier this month in the French Open quarterfinals, the Spaniards got the better of Rodionova and her Olympic partner Jarmila Gajdosova.
The road also gets tougher for Paes, whose win on Thursday alongside Australian Open championship partner Radek Stepanek was a welcome one. Because of scheduling differences, the Indian and Czech stars had not played together since May 17th.
They showed no signs of rust in their 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Colin Ebelthite and John Peers. The No. 4 seeds held serve in all 13 of their service games. In the second round, Paes and Stepanek meet former Australian Open champions Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram.
Paes and Stepanek will go their separate ways again after Wimbledon, at least temporarily. While Stepanek prepares for his Olympic run with Tomas Berdych, Paes will play his final matches before the London Games in Washington.
Returning for his fourth season with the Kastles, Paes will reform WTT's top-ranked doubles team with Reynolds.
The Kastles' closer is also through to the second round at Wimbledon following a five-set thriller on Thursday. Eight days after qualifying for the main draw, Reynolds and Izak van der Merwe edged Italians Flavio Cipolla and Fabio Fognini 7-5, 4-6, 6-1, 6-7, 6-3.
Next up, Reynolds will get a preview of the WTT season when he and van der Merwe meet Jean-Julien Rojer and the Kansas City Explorers' Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, who are the No. 8 seeds. Reynolds and Qureshi will do battle again on July 22nd at Kastles Stadium at The Wharf.
You still have time to follow the Kastles on Twitter and participate in the I LOVE DC tennis ball T-shirt giveaway. Each time a Kastle is victorious at Wimbledon, one of our Twitter followers who retweets the result will win a shirt.
On Thursday, five lucky Twitter fans made like the Kastles at Wimbledon. They walked away winners!
New History Section on WashingtonKastles.com
Every Kastles' result ever is now documented on WashingtonKastles.com.
With two championships and a perfect season, the Washington Kastles have quickly rewritten the history books of World TeamTennis since the first match in DC on July 8, 2008.
Grand Slam champions Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Leander Paes have played pivotal roles in the Kastles' success.
Washington has won nine straight matches with Serena in the lineup and all five in which Venus has donned the red-and-blue. Their mixed doubles partner Paes was named the league's Male MVP in 2009 and 2011, helping the Kastles capture the King Trophy in both of those seasons.
But besides the big names, there have been unsung heroes along the way who've provided Kastles fans with some of the most memorable moments in team history.
-- Substitute Robby Ginepri rallied the Kastles from five games down in the fifth set against the New York Buzz in 2008, capping the biggest comeback in franchise history.
-- Nadia Petrova joined the Kastles for the final two matches of the 2009 regular season, helping the Kastles clinch the playoff spot that resulted in their first world championship.
-- Scott Oudsema emerged as the 2009 WTT Finals MVP and Olga Puchkova saved three championship points in women's singles to lead the Kastles to the title.
-- Bobby Reynolds closed out the fifth set in 11 of Washington's 16 matches in 2011 to preserve the Kastles' historic perfect season.
To keep those memories alive, WashingtonKastles.com now features a "History of the Kastles" section, complete with cumulative results, statistics and photos from the first four years of Kastles tennis.
All 20 players who've represented Washington have their own pages, including 2010 wild card Victoria Azarenka, 2011 co-captain Rennae Stubbs and 2008 substitute Vince Spadea, who played (and won) the first set in Washington Kastles history.
Enjoy your trip down memory lane and see you back at Kastles Stadium at The Wharf July 12-24 for the fifth anniversary of the Washington Kastles!
French Open doubles finalist Nadia Petrova & Australian Open champ Victoria Azarenka were Kastles.
World TeamTennis Stories from June 29, 2012
- The Kastles' Perfect Thursday at Wimbledon - Washington Kastles
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