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Paes Playing London ATP World Tour Finals, Arina Captures Title

November 6, 2012 - World TeamTennis (WTT) - Washington Kastles News Release

Leander Paes played his way into the history books at the start of the 2012 season when he and Radek Stepanek captured the Australian Open title.

The victory clinched the career Grand Slam for Paes; he'd won all four major tournaments in men's doubles during his illustrious career.

But ask the Washington Kastles' captain what's left to accomplish and he'll sound as motivated as when he announced his arrival on tour by winning the 1991 US Open Junior Championships.

There's the missing mixed doubles title at the French Open, which would allow him to complete a second career Grand Slam.

There's qualifying for the 2016 Olympics, with Paes telling Indian newspaper MiD DAY that "the hunger's definitely there."

And there's still the ATP World Tour Finals, with his first match scheduled today at the O2 Arena in London.

Paes will wait until May for another chance in Paris. He'll have to defy the odds to make it to Rio de Janeiro. But for the Indian to check the year-end championships off his list, the time is now.

"If I can get my hands on this one," Paes said, "my trophy cabinet will be complete."

Despite all his in-season accolades, the 13-time Grand Slam champion is still seeking his first ATP World Tour Finals title.

It's not for a lack of effort. As a member of one of the Top 8 doubles teams in the world, Paes has qualified for the prestigious event eight straight seasons. In 12 appearances overall, he's reached the championship match four times.

But he lost the fourth of those finals back in 2005 with Nenad Zimonjic, and suffered a 12-match tournament losing streak from 2007 through 2011 with Martin Damm, Lukas Dlouhy and Mahesh Bhupathi.

Those numbers won't matter much to Stepanek, who is making his debut at the ATP World Tour Finals this week. Stepanek and Paes proved in Melbourne that their partnership has the potential to end any trend.

Paes was playing his 17th Australian Open when he won it for the first time in his Grand Slam debut with Stepanek.

The fourth-ranked Indian and sixth-ranked Czech enter London with three titles in five finals this season, each of which came on hard-court surfaces similar to that of the O2 Arena. Their biggest concern going into the event is a left knee injury that forced Stepanek to withdraw from last week's BNP Paribas Masters in Paris.

Paes and Stepanek are in a round-robin group that features the final four teams from the 2012 US Open.

The US Open runners-up Paes and Stepanek begin their campaign today at 1 pm with a first-ever meeting against US Open semifinalists Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Rojer. The No. 3 seeds are also due to play US Open rematches against champions Bob and Mike Bryan and semifinalists Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez.

Paes' countrymen Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna, French Open champions Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor, Wimbledon champions Jonathan Marray and Frederik Nielsen and Wimbledon runners-up Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau are competing in the other round-robin group.

The two teams from each group that post the best record in round-robin play will advance to the semifinals.

All 15 doubles matches during the 2012 ATP World Tour Finals will air live on Tennis Channel, including Paes' opener this afternoon at 1 pm. Coverage culminates with the semifinals Sunday at 7 am and 1 pm and the championship Monday at 1 pm.

Click here to find Tennis Channel on your cable or satellite lineup.

The Top 8 singles players in the world are also competing in London, with World No. 9 Janko Tipsarevic playing in place of the injured Rafael Nadal. Six-time champion Roger Federer, 2008 winner Novak Djokovic and local hope Andy Murray lead the field.

Arina Ends Season with Singles Title at ITF Bendigo

Hot Rod Goes 16-2 and Reaches Four Finals in Two-Week Run

If any tennis player deserves a vacation at the end of the 2012 season, it's Arina Rodionova of the Washington Kastles.

Competing in her last match of the year on Sunday, Hot Rod captured her first singles title since February 2010 with a 6-4, 7-5 win over No. 1 seed and World No. 114 Olivia Rogowska at an ITF $25,000 event in Bendigo, Australia.

"It wasn't a pretty match," Rodionova told Tennis Australia. "We were both really tired, I played 7-6 yesterday... and Olivia had a lot of long matches this week too. We were fighting as hard as we could. Olivia was up 5-3 in the second set but I found a way to get back into it."

Rodionova was playing a tournament for the sixth straight week. She began her travels with the Party Rock Open doubles title in Las Vegas; continued east for events in Florida, Alabama and South Carolina; and arrived in Australia 90 minutes before her opening doubles match at an ITF $25,000 event in Traralgon on Oct. 23.

Thus began the winningest two weeks of Rodionova's young career. Victory over Rogowska marked the Kastle's 18th match in 13 days. She went 16-2 during that stretch, highlighted by runs to the singles and doubles finals in both Traralgon and Bendigo.

To earn her place opposite Rogowska, Rodionova needed to overcome 16-year-old sensation Ashleigh Barty in the Bendigo singles semifinals. The second-seeded Barty had beaten Rodionova in all three of their prior meetings, including a straight-sets triumph in the Traralgon final one week earlier.

Barty appeared on her way to another win over the 2011 WTT Finals MVP when she held three match points in the third set on Saturday. But Rodionova rallied for a 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(4) victory, then ended her season with a bang.

Earlier in the week, Rodionova and former World No. 1 Cara Black fell to the top-seeded Barty and Sally Peers 7-6(12), 7-6(5) in the Bendigo doubles final. Rodionova and Black had previously defeated Barty and Peers in a match tiebreak for the Traralgon doubles championship.

A fractured left wrist sidelined Rodionova for 10 weeks prior to the 2012 World TeamTennis season, dropping her WTA ranking to No. 344 in singles and No. 157 in doubles.

But the latest WTA rankings have Hot Rod up to No. 269 in singles and No. 109 in doubles. With her points from the Bendigo singles title and doubles final being added on Nov. 12, Rodionova will rise even higher heading into 2013.

"I'm really happy with the result but can't wait to enjoy a few days off," Rodionova said. "I'm pleased with the way I'm playing because it's been a really rough year. I got injured in April and had to sit out for a while.

"The last two weeks have been great to play so many matches. Finally I can say that I'm back to the way I was playing last year."

Virginia Beach Team Wins WTT Rec League Nationals

Seven Mid-Atlantic Teams Compete in Indian Wells, Calif.

Short Skirts Long Racquets - Senior 4.5 WTT Rec League National Champions

The Washington Kastles would like to congratulate the seven teams from the Mid-Atlantic Section that competed at the World TeamTennis Rec League Nationals this past weekend in Indian Wells, Calif.

Leading the way were the Short Skirts Long Racquets of Virginia Beach, who won the Senior 4.5 Division National Championship!

Three other teams from Virginia Beach, two from Fredericksburg and one from Bethesda all made the cross-country trip to play for national glory.

The format in Indian Wells was identical to that of a Washington Kastles match, with No-Ad scoring, Supertiebreakers and on-court coaching all adding to the excitement.

Though the Kastles season only comes around each summer, WTT is played year-round throughout the United States in junior, high school, college, corporate and recreational leagues. For more information on how you can play WTT, please click here.

Mid-Atlantic Competitors at WTT Rec League Nationals

Team: Short Skirts Long Racquets

City: Virginia Beach, Va.

Division: Senior 4.5

Place: 1st

Players: David Sloane (captain), Toby Fanney, Kathy Courage, Laura Stone and Florence Deaton, all of Virginia Beach, Va.; Mike Heisler and Tom Winter, both of Chesapeake, Va.; and Marcus Crawford, Newport News, Va.


City: Virginia Beach, Va.

Division: 3.0

Place: 5th

Players: Pat Tapia (non-playing captain), Ryan Holland, Carmelita Tapia, Elizabeth Karney, Nancy Asa and Teodoro Asa all of Virginia Beach, Va.; and Chris D'Surney, Norfolk, Va.

Team: MixMasters

City: Fredericksburg, Va.

Division: 3.5

Place: 4th

Players: Everett Diederiks, Jr., Nokesville, Va.; Saeed Minhas, Woodbridge, Va.; Matt Haney (captain), Tracey Smalls and Suzanne McInteer, all of Fredericksburg, Va.

Team: Almost Angels

City: Fredericksburg, Va.

Division: 4.0

Place: 7th

Players: Curtis Gaskins, Beaverdam, Va.; Mark Critchfield, Orange, Va.; Leslie Caliri, Stafford, Va.; and Alice King (non-playing captain), Angel Santiago, Tracey Smalls, Suzanne McInteer and Widna Benitez, all of Fredericksburg, Va.

Team: Beach Breakers

City: Virginia Beach, Va.

Division: 4.0

Place: 8th

Players: Leetsa Nottingham (captain), Beverly Farley, Deborah Brewster, Brandon Beavers, Doug Atkins, Kim Wood and Frank Manugo, all of Virginia Beach, Va.; Sarah Heppe, Thomas Kuhrt and Louis Manugo, both of Norfolk, Va.

Team: WTT Senior Crew

City: Virginia Beach, Va.

Division: Senior 4.0

Place: 6th

Players: Leetsa Nottingham (captain), Claudette Sealy, Jerry Scott, Beverly Farley, Doug Atkins and Karen Adcock, all of Virginia Beach, Va.; Derric White, Chesapeake, Va.; and Thomas Kuhrt, Norfolk, Va.

Team: The Young and the Rest

City: Bethesda, Md.

Division: Senior 4.0

Place: 8th

Players: Ivan Teelucksingh (captain), Bethesda, Md.; Nancy Trimble, Frederick, Md.; Kathleen Castro, Leesburg, Va.; Esther Burgess, Herndon, Va.; Gerald McClellan, Clarksburg, Md.; Sharon Tennyson, Ellicott City, Md.; and Bridget Gauer, Gaithersburg, Md.

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