July 9, 2013 - World TeamTennis (WTT) - Washington Kastles
The Washington Kastles kicked off their 2013 season in historic fashion, defeating the New York Sportimes 23-15 in front of a sold-out crowd for their 33rd consecutive victory overall. Washington has now tied the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers for the longest winning streak in major U.S. pro sports history.
It was a star-studded night on and off the court Monday. First Lady Michelle Obama, Washington Redskins Hall-of-Famer John Riggins and CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer cheered on Grand Slam champions Martina Hingis and Leander Paes, and the Kastles dominated from the first serve.
World No. 22 Kevin Anderson made a winning debut for Washington, defeating Jesse Witten 5-2 in the opening set of men's singles. Hingis followed suit, beating Anna-Lena Groenefeld 5-1 in her first match as a Kastle.
The Sportimes cut Washington's advantage to 11-6 overall when they took a 3-1 lead in mixed doubles. But Hingis and Paes rallied behind spectacular shotmaking to steal the set 5-4 in a tiebreaker.
New York bounced back when Wimbledon doubles semifinalists Groenefeld and Kveta Peschke won women's doubles 5-3. But with Washington leading 18-12 overall going into the final set, it was too little, too late for the Sportimes. Kastles closer Bobby Reynolds teamed with Paes to win the final set of men's doubles 5-3.
Throughout the evening, Venus Williams supported her Kastles teammates from the bench, unable to compete because of a back injury. Williams, Reynolds, Paes, Anastasia Rodionova and Coach Murphy Jensen were presented championship rings by the Super Bowl XVII MVP Riggins in honor of their 16-0 season in 2012.
The time for celebrating is short as the Kastles return to the Southwest Waterfront tonight with history on the line. The Kastles will play for sole possession of the longest winning streak ever by a major U.S. pro sports team when they host the Boston Lobsters at 7 pm.