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New York Empire Close the 2018 Season with 19-15 Win over League-Leading Philadelphia Freedoms

August 2, 2018 - World TeamTennis (WTT) - New York Empire News Release

NEW YORK - The New York Empire presented by Citi closed the 2018 World TeamTennis presented by GEICO season on a high note, defeating the league-leading Philadelphia Freedoms 19-15 on Thursday night. The Freedoms, who finished the regular season with a 12-2 record, will compete for the King Trophy in Sunday's league championship.

With the iconic Billie Jean King in attendance on Fan Appreciation Night on Court 17, the fans were treated to some exceptional tennis from both teams all night long. Despite remarkably winning their last four sets as a mixed doubles pairing, Neal Skupski and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez dropped the first set to the Freedoms, 5-3. In an inspired second set performance, Martinez Sanchez and Francoise Abanda sailed past the Freedoms team of Atawo and Taylor Townsend, 5-1, to overtake the lead.

The Empire kept the momentum going in doubles play when Skupski and Dennis Novikov took the court and jumped out to a 3-0 lead over the Freedoms' duo of Fabrice Martin and Kevin King, before Martin withdrew from the match with an injury and the Empire closed out the set 5-0.

With two sets of singles play remaining, the Freedoms fought back as Taylor Townsend got the better of the Empire's Abanda, 5-1, before a rain storm halted proceedings in the middle of the final set between Kevin King and Dennis Novikov. With King leading Novikov 2-1, the action resumed indoors. Novikov was able to overpower King with an enormous serve and several timely winners, winning the set in a thrilling tiebreaker and securing the Empire victory.

Mixed Doubles: Raquel Atawo/Fabrice Martin (PHL) def. Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez/ Neal Skupski (NYE), 5-3

Women's Doubles: Martinez Sanchez/Francoise Abanda (NYE) def. Atawo/Taylor Townsend (PHL), 5-1

Men's Doubles: Dennis Novikov/Skupski (NYE) def. Martin/Kevin King (PHL), 5-0

Women's Singles: Taylor Townsend (PHL) def. Abanda (NYE), 5-1

Men's Singles: Novikov (NYE) def. King (PHL), 5-4

The Empire closed the season strong, winning two out of their last three matches. They finish the regular season with a 2-12 record.

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