Monday, July 11, 2011

Capitals earn key victory; Kunitsyn heads Aptos

   Even though the Sacramento Capitals' 16-day regular season seemingly whizzes by faster than Usain Bolt in the 100-meter dash, it's a bit early to label any match as critical.
   But Sunday's night's came close for the World TeamTennis franchise.
   Playing at home against a team with no marquee stars, Sacramento knocked off the rival Newport Beach Breakers 22-19 in overtime before an announced crowd of 1,721 at Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, Calif.
   A loss would have dropped the Capitals (2-3) three matches behind first-place St. Louis and 2 1/2 behind second-place Newport Beach (3-3) in the Western Conference. The top two teams in each conference after the 14-match regular season advance to the playoffs.
   Furthermore, Sacramento next faces a monumental challenge against another Western Conference team. Although the WTT defending champion Kansas City Explorers are only 2-3, they will bring three reigning Wimbledon doubles champions to Tuesday's 7:30 p.m. match at Sunrise Mall.
   Bob and Mike Bryan, who recently won their second men's doubles crown at the All England Club, will make their season debut for Kansas City. The identical twin sons of Capitals coach Wayne Bryan will join Kveta Peschke, who captured her first Wimbledon women's doubles title (with Katarina Srebotnik).
   Sacramento then plays five of its next six matches on the road before ending the regular season with two home contests.
   WTT rookie Yasmin Schnack keyed Sunday's victory over Newport Beach. Still filling in for Vania King, who's resting after Wimbledon, the local product won 5-2 in women's singles and 5-3 in mixed doubles and lost 5-4 in women's doubles. 
   Schnack had faced future International Tennis Hall of Famers Martina Hingis and Serena Williams in women's singles the previous two nights, losing by a combined score of 10-1. This time, Schnack beat journeywoman Anne Keothavong to give the Capitals a 19-13 lead entering the final set.
   But the Newport Beach pair of Lester Cook and Travis Rettenmaier beat Mark Knowles and Dusan Vemic 5-2 to send the match to overtime. After the Breakers held serve to cut Sacramento's lead to 21-19, Vemic won his serve to end the match.                    
   Capitals 22, Breakers 19 (OT)
   Mixed doubles -- Yasmin Schnack and Mark Knowles, Capitals, def. Marie-Eve Pelletier and Travis Rettenmaier, Breakers, 5-3.
   Women's doubles -- Pelletier and Anne Keothavong, Breakers, def. Christina Fusano and Schnack, Capitals, 5-4.
   Men's singles -- Dusan Vemic, Capitals, def. Lester Cook, Breakers, 5-3.
   Women's singles -- Schnack, Capitals, def. Keothavong, Breakers, 5-2.
   Men's doubles -- Cook and Rettenmaier, Breakers, def. Knowles and Vemic, Capitals, 5-2.
   Overtime -- Knowles and Vemic, Capitals, tied Cook and Rettenmaier, Breakers, 1-1.
   Aptos Challenger -- Russia's Igor Kunitsyn heads the field in the $100,000 Comerica Bank Challenger, today through Sunday at the Seascape Sports Club in Aptos, Calif.
   Kunitsyn, who's ranked 62nd in the world, trains at the Gorin Tennis Academy in Granite Bay, Calif., outside of Sacramento.
   Donald Young, the 2007 Aptos champion and 2010 runner-up from Atlanta, is seeded second and Matthew Eben of Australia third.
   Ebden reached the singles quarterfinals and won the doubles title with American Ryan Harrison at last week's Hall of Fame Championships in Newport, R.I., on the ATP World Tour.
   The Comerica main draw also includes former top-15 player Robby Ginepri, the last two NCAA singles champions  (USC's Steve Johnson this year and Stanford's Bradley Klahn), and last year's U.S. Open junior titlist (Jack Sock).
   Devin Britton, the 2009 NCAA champ for Mississippi, lost to fellow American Chris Kearney in the second round of qualifying Sunday.

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