Chicago Smash Steal One from the New York Empire with Dramatic Comeback
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.V. - Chicago's 18-year-old Brandon Nakashima proved to be the hero of the match, stealing a victory for the Smash with a dramatic final set victory over the Empire's Jack Sock. Nakashima, determined to make up for an early-match misfire, forced Extended Play after serving two aces and a winning volley on three straight match points against Sock.
Entering the final set down 17-15, Nakashima sent the match into the first Supertiebreaker of the young World TeamTennis season. After a coin flip won by the Empire to determine who served first, Sock and Nakashima traded powerful serves and volleys, but neither could break the other's serve. Serving for match point, Nakashima completed the comeback to earn the Smash's third win of the season, 22-21, putting them into a tie for first place with the Philadelphia Freedoms. Sock, who saw the match slip away, would smash and break his racquet following the final shot.
A spirited third set featured Men's Doubles as the Empire and Smash went point-for-point with shot making that seemed as if each were a top-10 highlight. New York's Neal Skupski and Sock won the tiebreaker earning the set, 5-4, as Nakashima's misfire on his volley appeared to loom large at the time. New York narrowed its overall deficit to 13-12, with Women's and Men's Singles set to decide the match's outcome.
Tennis Hall of Famer Kim Clijsters kept the Empire's momentum going in the right direction as her shot placement over Sloane Stephens allowed New York to take the set, 5-2, and the match lead over the Smash, 17-15 heading into the final set.
Brandon Nakashima on winning the Supertiebreaker and match: "Going into the fifth set I definitely didn't try to look at the score too much, (I) just tried to win as many games as possible. At the end there, got lucky on a couple points and just grinded out that victory for us."
Chicago Smash defeat NEW YORK EMPIRE, 22-21
Mixed Doubles - Neal Skupski/Kim Clijsters (Empire) def. Rajeev Ram/ Bethanie Mattek-Sands (Smash), 5-4
Women's Doubles - Genie Bouchard/Mattek-Sands (Smash) def. Sabine Lisicki/Kveta Peschke (Empire), 5-2
Men's Doubles - Skupski/Jack Sock (Empire) def. Brandon Nakashima/Ram (Smash), 5-4
Women's Singles - Kim Clijsters (Empire) def. Sloane Stephens (Smash), 5-2
Men's Singles - Nakashima (Smash) def. Sock (Empire), 5-4
Extended Play - Men's Singles - Nakashima (Smash) def. Sock (Empire), 1-0
Supertiebreaker - Men's Singles - Nakashima (Smash) def. Sock (Empire), 1-0 (7-5)
Daily WTT video highlights can be found here: https://vimeopro.com/worldteamtennis/wtt-2020-video-highlights
NEXT SCHEDULED MATCH: The Empire plays the Springfield Lasers on Saturday, July 18, at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT on ESPN2 while the Chicago Smash return to the court on Sunday, July 19, taking on the Orlando Storm at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT on ESPN+.
WTT's entire season schedule, and daily results can be viewed at WTT.com/schedule. WTT historical information and more media resources (i.e., media guide, press releases, images) can be viewed at WTT.com/media.
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World TeamTennis Stories from July 17, 2020
- Washington Teammates Share What It's Like to Play with Venus Williams - Washington Kastles
- Sam Querrey's Dominant Play Highlights Vegas Win over Springfield in Extended Play - Vegas Rollers
- Brandon Nakashima Lifts Chicago Past New York in Supertiebreaker - Chicago Smash
- Chicago Smash Steal One from the New York Empire with Dramatic Comeback - New York Empire
- Sofia Kenin Shines as Philadelphia Holds off Washington in Extended Play; Venus Makes WTT 2020 Debut - Philadelphia Freedoms
- Jack Sock and FiancÃÂ©e Lauren Little Juggle Tennis Restart with Wedding Plans - New York Empire
- Kastles Lose Heartbreaker to Lasers, 20-18, on Last Point of Match - Washington Kastles
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