Kastles Win 20th Straight over Boston 24-19July 14, 2012 - World TeamTennis (WTT) Washington Kastles
But as they've done time and again since the start of the 2011 season, the Kastles (4-0) came through on the pivotal points to prevail over the Boston Lobsters 24-19, clinching their 20th consecutive victory.
Washington won men's singles, men's doubles and women's doubles in tiebreakers, and Leander Paes and Anastasia Rodionova improved to 4-0 in mixed doubles on the season with a 5-2 win over Eric Butorac and Irina Falconi.
Though Falconi defeated Rodionova 5-3 in the final set, the Kastle newcomer won the first game of overtime to claim the match for her team.
Boston (1-2) was the site of Washington's last loss, which came in the final match of the 2010 World TeamTennis season. Since then, Washington has won matches in every imaginable way.
The reason for their latest win? Resiliency, beginning in the night's first set of men's singles.
MS - Reynolds (WAS) def. Ginepri (BOS) 5-4(2)
Born less than three months apart and raised in suburbs of Atlanta, Bobby Reynolds and Robby Ginepri go about as far back as two professional tennis players can go.
But until January, they had never played a single match on tour against one another. Things changed at a USTA Pro Circuit Challenger in Honolulu, when Ginepri bested his old buddy 6-2, 6-2.
That was a result Reynolds was keen on reversing, and the Kastles' closer did just that, earning his fourth straight men's singles victory to start the season.
It was anything but easy. On his way to a 3-2 lead, Ginepri won two 3-all points on his serve, the first by surviving a 16-shot rally and the second with a let-cord service winner.
Reynolds did not let those missed opportunities phase him on his serve. Forced to play the first set by schedule-maker and Boston coach Bud Schultz, the Kastles' closer aggressively approached the net for a pair of crosscourt volley winners, and then hit an ace out wide to win a 3-all point of his own and even the set score at 3-3.
The quality of tennis picked up as the set progressed. Ginepri held for a 4-3 lead after retrieving a powerful forehand, sprinting to a Reynolds drop shot and knifing a backhand winner. Reynolds responded by holding at love, forcing a tiebreaker with a flat serve out wide followed by an inside-out forehand winner that wrong-footed Ginepri.
Ginepri delighted Lobsters fans early in the tiebreak by hitting a backhand over his shoulder before winning a point with a swinging volley winner.
But he failed to maintain that momentum, missing a forehand and double-faulting to give Reynolds three set points. The Kastle needed only one, clinching the set 5-4(2) by racing to a Ginepri drop shot and guiding a forehand deep into the court to draw an error.
Three of Reynolds' four singles wins to begin 2012 have come in tiebreakers.
Washington leads 5-4.
MXD - Paes/Anastasia Rodionova (WAS) def. Butorac/Falconi (BOS) 5-2
The first-year team of Paes and Anastasia Rodionova has proven a pleasant surprise for Kastles' Coach Murphy Jensen .
Paes' unparalleled presence at the net has made it routine for Rodionova to hold serve throughout the season in mixed doubles. She won all eight of her mixed doubles service points against Boston a night after winning all 10 of her service points in that set against New York (30 of 34 for the season).
And when Rodionova is at the net on Paes' serve, she's more than capable of putting volleys away herself, as she proved in outdueling Butorac during several exchanges on Friday.
One service break of Falconi was all the Kastles needed to race away with a 5-2 mixed doubles win over Boston.
Washington leads 10-6.
Bobby Reynolds is now 4-0 in men's singles this season.
MD - Paes/Reynolds (WAS) def. Butorac/Ginepri (BOS) 5-4(4)
The Kastles wasted no time in taking a lead in men's doubles, breaking Butorac in the opening game by blasting three winners before Paes chipped a low return that the left-handed American could not handle.
Reynolds faced two break points on his serve in the following game, saving the first when Paes outfoxed Ginepri at the net, nearly beheading the former World No. 15 with a reflex volley winner. On the second, Butorac missed a return.
The situation was the same in Reynolds' next service game. With the Kastles leading 3-2, Reynolds fought off a pair of break points again -- one with a service winner and another with a body serve that set Paes up for a high volley winner.
Now 0-for-4 on break points in men's doubles, the Lobsters had two more break points on Paes' serve as the Kastles led 4-3. This time, it was Reynolds' turn to put away a high volley, setting up a 3-all deciding point that would either clinch the set for Washington or force a tiebreak for Boston.
The Lobsters converted their sixth break point opportunity of the set when Ginepri dipped a return that drew a weak volley from Paes, allowing Butorac to step up for a forehand volley winner.
In the tiebreaker, Boston was two points from a victory with a 3-1 lead and a pair of serves on Ginepri's racquet.
Had they served out the set, they would have wrestled away momentum going into halftime by cutting Washington's lead to three. But Ginepri lost both of his service points after each Lobster netted a volley, making the score 3-3.
Errors by Reynolds and Ginepri set up a winner-take-all point at 4-4. Reynolds hit a solid volley that prompted Ginepri to attempt a backhand lob, which sailed just long of the baseline, preventing Boston from cutting into Washington's lead.
Washington leads 15-10.
WD - An. Rodionova/Ar. Rodionova (WAS) def. Falconi/Gullickson-Eagle (BOS) 5-4(3)
After losing their first three sets of the season, Anastasia and Arina Rodionova appeared to be in trouble when they fell behind 2-0 against Falconi and Carly Gullickson-Eagle.
The Lobsters had a chance to make it 3-0 when they forced a 3-all point on Arina's serve. In a crucial exchange, Gullickson-Eagle had an opportunity to put a volley away, but Arina jetted to retrieve the shot. A surprised Gullickson-Eagle netted her next volley, bringing the Kastles' bench to its feet in support of the sisters.
Gullickson-Eagle and Falconi each held serve to increase their lead to 4-2 and cut Washington's overall advantage to 17-14. As the Lobsters inched closer to winning women's doubles and taking momentum into the final set, the next games would prove to be critical.
With a gutsy hold of serve for 3-4, it was clear that the Rodionovas, especially Arina, were beginning to feel more comfortable in women's doubles than they had all season.
After that, Arina started to show the form that made her the 2011 WTT Female Rookie of the Year, lifting a lob over both Lobsters to set up two break points on Gullickson-Eagle's serve. Gullickson-Eagle saved one, but when Arina smashed an overhead winner between her and Falconi, the Kastles had rallied to force a tiebreak.
In the evening's third tiebreaker, each Rodionova sister hit a winner to help Washington build a 4-1 lead. Boston saved two set points to cut the tiebreaker score to 4-3, prompting Coach Jensen to call a timeout.
The strategy worked, breaking the rhythm of Gullickson-Eagle, who double-faulted on Washington's third set point, allowing the Kastles to steal the set 5-4(3).
By winning the final three games of the set, Washington turned what could have been a two-game lead into a comfortable six-game margin going into the women's singles fifth set.
Washington leads 20-14.
WS - Falconi (BOS) def. Anastasia Rodionova (WAS) 5-3
In the final set, the World No. 86 Falconi raced to a 3-1 lead with the finesse that she's known for on tour. On one memorable point, she hit an inside-out drop shot off her back foot that opened up the court for a slice forehand volley winner: two strokes you may never see in a match, much less a point.
When Anastasia Rodionova fell behind 0-2 in her following service game, a Lobster comeback appeared ominous. Another timeout by Coach Jensen allowed Paes to run on court and advise Rodionova to be more aggressive against the defensive-minded Falconi.
Rodionova listened to the directions of the 13-time Grand Slam champion following the timeout, winning four straight points to hold serve, including winners off her forehand, volley and serve.
The players traded service holds through the end of the set, which Falconi won 5-3 to force overtime. But with Washington leading by four games, and Rodionova taking back control of her serve with a more aggressive approach, the result of the match was never in doubt.
Washington leads 23-19.
OT - Anastasia Rodionova (WAS) def. Falconi (BOS) 1-0
Five points was all Rodionova needed to finish Falconi off, capping Washington's 20th consecutive victory with a stretch drop volley winner that even Paes would have been proud of.
Washington wins 24-19.
Arina Rodionova's play in women's doubles proved pivotal in Washington's win.
Get a Free Kastles' Camo Shirt on Military Night 7/18
Join the defending WTT champion Washington Kastles as they pay tribute to active duty military, veterans, and their families on Wednesday night - all leading up to the team's match against the 2011 Western Conference finalist Sacramento Capitals.
The first 1,000 fans through the gates at Kastles Stadium at The Wharf will receive a complimentary Kastles' Camo T-shirt, courtesy of GEICO. Gates open at 5:15 pm, with first serve scheduled for 7 pm.
In support of the military, the Kastles are also hosting a food drive Wednesday night. Fans are requested to bring non-perishable food items to the stadium, which be donated to the USO.
Sergeant First Class Leigh Ann Hinton, a concert soloist in the U.S. Army, will perform the national anthem. The U.S. Color Guard will also be on hand on the Southwest Waterfront.
Don't miss the exciting activities that lead up to the Kastles vs. Capitals showdown, which will feature Sacramento's Sam Querrey, who holds a world record with 10 consecutive aces. The 24-year-old Querrey has risen from No. 106 to No. 55 since April, inching closer to returning to the Top 20, where he was ranked before undergoing elbow surgery last summer.
With Querrey in their lineup, the Capitals will be keen to avenge their 25-14 loss in DC last season. Querrey is 3-0 lifetime on tour against Kastles' closer Bobby Reynolds in singles, but he hasn't had as much luck against the Washington men in doubles, losing four of five meetings with Leander Paes and two of three with Reynolds.
Tickets to the Kastles vs. Capitals on Military Night start at only $30 and are available now on Ticketmaster.com. Get them now, and then arrive at Kastles Stadium at 5:15 pm Wednesday to secure a Kastles' Camo T-shirt, courtesy of GEICO.
World TeamTennis Stories from July 14, 2012
- Kastles Win 20th Straight over Boston 24-19 - Washington Kastles
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