October 9, 2012 - World TeamTennis (WTT) - Washington Kastles
Washington Kastles' captain Leander Paes is headed back to the prestigious year-end championships for the eighth straight season and 13th time overall after he and Radek Stepanek reached the Tokyo ATP doubles final on Saturday.
Paes has won 50 men's doubles titles in his career -- including all four Grand Slam championships. But the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals has eluded him thus far, with the Indian falling in the title match in 1997, 1999, 2000 and 2005.
The two-time WTT Male MVP Paes gets another crack at the crown November 5-12 in London. Paes and Stepanek are the fourth team to qualify for the year-end championships after Bob and Mike Bryan, Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor, and Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau. The eight-team field will be completed in the coming weeks.
In Tokyo, the top-seeded Paes and Stepanek reached their fourth final of the season, defeating defending champions Andy and Jamie Murray 6-4, 3-6, [10-2] along the way.
It was the first-ever meeting between the 2012 US Open doubles runner-up Paes and the 2012 US Open singles champion Andy Murray. By beating the World No. 3, Paes has now earned doubles wins over each of the Top 30 singles players on the ATP World Tour, including Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
A third title of the season with Stepanek, however, was not in the cards as the Indian/Czech duo fell to No. 4 seeds Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares 6-3, 7-6(5) in the Tokyo final.
While Paes' place at the ATP season finale is assured, fellow Kastle Raquel Kops-Jones is in a heated race for the last spot at the WTA year-end championships October 23-28 in Istanbul.
Coming off back-to-back titles, Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears lost a bit of ground to Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova last week in Beijing, where the Americans were eliminated in the quarterfinals and the Russians' run ended in the semifinals.
Kops-Jones and Spears now trail Kirilenko and Petrova by 312 points in the WTA doubles rankings with only two weeks of tournament play left.
The good news for Kops-Jones and Spears is that Kirilenko and Petrova are taking this week off. Meanwhile, Kops-Jones, who was a wild card in Washington's final four matches of the regular season, and Spears, a New York Sportimes' substitute, are the top seeds in Osaka, Japan, where 280 points will be awarded to the champions.
Kops-Jones and Spears got off to a great start on Monday by defeating Misa Eguchi and Junri Namigata of Japan 6-2, 6-3. Three more wins, and they will be neck and neck with Petrova and Kirilenko entering the final week of the season.
Both teams are expected to play at the WTA Premier tournament in Moscow beginning next Monday.
Kastles' closer Bobby Reynolds enjoyed a run to the singles semifinals and doubles quarterfinals last week at the $100,000 Challenger in Sacramento, Calif., highlighted by a 7-6(6), 7-6(4) victory over former US Open junior and mixed doubles champion Jack Sock.
Reynolds is back at it again this week in singles and doubles at the $100,000 Challenger in Tiburon, Calif., trying to take over the all-time men's record with his 31st USTA Pro Circuit title. Currently, Reynolds and DC native Paul Goldstein have both won 30 titles on the circuit.
Fellow Kastles Arina Rodionova and Edina Gallovits-Hall are also competing on the USTA Pro Circuit this week. They are in the singles draw at the $25,000 tournament in Troy, Ala.
On the other side of the world, Kastles' substitute Treat Huey is making his ATP World Tour Masters 1000 debut in Shanghai. Huey and Wimbledon doubles champion Jonathan Marray defeated Chinese wild cards Mao-Xin Gong and Ze Zhang 7-5, 4-6, [10-6] in the opening round on Monday.
Paes and Stepanek are also in Shanghai, where they received a first-round bye as the No. 4 seeds. The elite Masters 1000 event serves as a pivotal preview to the year-end championships, with Bryan and Bryan, Mirnyi and Nestor, and Lindstedt and Tecau also in the draw.
For daily updates on Washington player results, including links to live streaming and scoring, be sure to bookmark the Kastle Tracker at WashingtonKastles.com.
Play World TeamTennis Just Like the Kastles!
The Washington Kastles weren't the only champions crowned on Sept. 16 in Charleston, S.C.
The World TeamTennis Corporate Nationals were held in conjunction with WTT Finals Weekend, featuring men and women from 17 companies and eight states playing on the same courts as the professionals.
In fact, tennis players of all skill levels, both young and old, can compete in WTT leagues around the country.
World TeamTennis is available in the following friendly formats:
- WTT Recreational Leagues
- WTT Corporate Leagues
- WTT Junior Nationals
- X TeamTennis High School
- Tennis on Campus
The Mid-Atlantic section is already very active in WTT. Kastles Ambassador Rich Gottfried organizes recreational leagues each year, with one beginning this week at Rock Creek Park. Contact Rich for more information at 301-717-9558 (cell), 301-762-5182 (home) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
High school players from St. John's in DC, Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, Flowers High School in Glendale and Hammond High School in Columbia participated in the X TeamTennis East Coast Championship, held at Kastles Stadium at The Wharf July 14-15.
The Cadets from St. John's won the first annual tournament and all participants were recognized at halftime of the Kastles' July 15 match against the Philadelphia Freedoms.
After high school, student-athletes can continue playing WTT in college thanks to the Tennis on Campus program. In the Mid-Atlantic alone, there are more than 25 college club teams competing for sectional and national championships using the WTT format, including American, George Washington, Georgetown and Maryland.
If you attend a school or tennis club that isn't currently represented in a WTT league, you can start a league, or even become a league director, yourself. More details are available at WTT.com.
As any fan who's been to a Kastles match can attest to, the WTT format elevates the excitement of a tennis match, with No-Ad scoring, Supertiebreakers and on-court coaching all adding to the fun.
Matches are never over thanks to the cumulative scoring system, so every point in every set counts. Just ask the Kastles, who rallied from six games down in the final set of a match this season -- something that cannot be done in traditional tennis.
All it takes is two men and two women to form a WTT team, so grab some friends and get in on the action today!
Choose Your Charity at Acumen Solutions 8K Race
The Washington Kastles organization is always on the lookout for ways to give back to the community and encourage its fans to exercise.
One event this weekend does both at the same time.
The Acumen Solutions Race for a Cause returns for a fourth year on Sunday at 8 am in Arlington, Va. The event combines an 8K (5 miles) run for serious racers with a 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk for the rest of the family.
By registering, runners are raising funds for 10 local non-profit organizations. Upon signing up, participants can select the non-profit of their choice to receive support.
Among the other activities planned are a T-shirt giveaway, post-race party, raffle prizes and food from Anita's Mexican and Chidogo's. Kids who race will also receive capes in honor of the 10 superhero non-profit organizations.
Fees for the 8K are $35 through Saturday and $40 on Sunday, while the Fun Run is $35 for adults and $20 for children.
Online registration is open through Thursday at 9 pm at TheRaceforaCause.com. You can also register in-person Friday-Sunday at the Potomac River Running Store located at 3924 Wilson Boulevard in Arlington.
So break out your running shoes and be a superhero at this Sunday's Acumen Solutions Race for a Cause!