Kastles Tied for Last Playoff Spot with Two Matches Left After Eliminating Springfield, 24-16
The Kastles showed no mercy at The Greenbrier yesterday.
In a must-win match to stay in the prime position for the 2020 playoffs, the six-time WTT champion Washington Kastles eliminated the Springfield Lasers in their second meeting this season, 24-16, denying the two-time defending WTT champions a return trip to the Finals this weekend.
With the win, the Kastles improved to a 6-6 record, tying the New York Empire (6-6) for 4th-place, once again. The teams were previously tied for the valuable fourth spot that will advance to the WTT playoffs on Aug. 1, but New York took sole possession on Sunday, after scoring a surprise Kastles upset.
That all changed with the Kastles victory over the Lasers on Tuesday and New York's loss to the Orlando Storm (9-4) later that night. Orlando's win clinched the third spot, behind the 1st-place Philadelphia Freedoms (10-2) and 2nd-place Chicago Smash (9-3), leaving a down-to-the-wire battle for the playoffs for both Washington and New York with only two matches left of the regular season! The Orange County Breakers (5-7), also with a shot at the last playoff spot, play New York in a crucial match for all three teams in contention at 3 p.m. today on Tennis Channel.
If New York loses today or tomorrow, the Kastles hold their destiny in their own hands and can secure the last playoff spot by winning their last two matches. The regular season ends tomorrow with Washington facing an Orlando team that has already clinched a playoff spot at 4 p.m., while New York faces league leading Philadelphia, who will likely be playing for the #1 seed at 9 a.m. Orange County plays Springfield tomorrow at 12 p.m.
"We had a lot of motivation on our side," said new Kastle Bernarda Pera, who has been a league leader in women's singles this season.
Tonight, the Kastles face the Vegas Rollers, led by Bob and Mike Bryan, Sam Querrey, and Monica Puig. A win is critical for Washington to stay in the hunt for the playoffs and a record-breaking 7th championship title.
Watch LIVE on Tennis Channel at 6 p.m. EST!
It was technically a home match for Springfield, so the Lasers set the order, opting to start with men's singles, pitting Mitchell Krueger against Tommy Paul. In their first meeting this season, Krueger edged Paul on the last point of the fifth-set tiebreak to steal victory for Springfield, 20-18, at the last second. But in their second encounter, Paul got his revenge. Once again, the set was settled by a tiebreak, but with a spot in the playoffs on the line, the Kastles all-star prevailed, 5-4(3), to give Washington a narrow, early lead.
The score remained tight in the next two sets. After an early break, Pera appeared on the verge of taking a 3-0 lead over teen sensation and Citi Open star Caty McNally in women's singles. But down 15-40, McNally fought back to force a decider and Pera uncharacteristically double-faulted to give the Laser a foothold in the set. A hold from McNally in the next game then evened the set at 2-2.
A tense back-and-forth followed that saw Pera serve for the set at 4-2, but McNally would not relent. The teen star fought back, again, to steal the set in a tiebreak, 5-4(3), and tie the overall score at 9-9.
The Kastles also looked to be on their way to an easy victory in men's doubles. After trading holds to 2-2, Marcelo Arevalo and Nick Monroe seized a valuable point from Robert Lindstedt and Jean-Julien Rojer in the fifth game.
On the deciding point, Monroe scrambled for a let serve and hit a sensational down-the-line winner to break Lindstedt, and a forceful hold from Arevalo in the next game gave the Kastles a 4-2 advantage. But a late rally from Springfield led to a break of Monroe's serve in the eighth game to force the set to another tiebreak. This one, however, went Washington's way.
With the overall score tied at 13-13, a mini-break on Lindstedt's serve early in the breaker reenergized the Kastles duo. Holding strong, Monroe served out the Lasers, 5-4(3), to give Washington a one-game lead at half-time.
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World TeamTennis Stories from July 29, 2020
- Bryan Brothers, Vegas End 2020 Season on High Note, Knock Kastles out of Playoffs - Vegas Rollers
- Vandeweghe Pushes Empire Past Breakers in Pursuit of Playoff Berth - New York Empire
- Jack Sock Powers New York Empire over Orange County Breakers to Keep Playoff Hopes Alive - New York Empire
- Philadelphia Locks up No. 1 Seed in WTT Playoffs; Beats Chicago in Supertiebreaker Thriller - Philadelphia Freedoms
- Kastles Tied for Last Playoff Spot with Two Matches Left After Eliminating Springfield, 24-16 - Washington Kastles
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