Saturday, July 23, 2011

Capitals' playoff opponent has plenty of Aces

   Now that the Sacramento Capitals have reached the World TeamTennis playoffs for the first time since 2008, they face a daunting challenge.
   Sacramento faces the star-studded St. Louis Aces in the Western Conference finals today at 2 p.m. in Charleston, S.C.
   Both teams finished the regular season 8-6, but St. Louis will have part-time marquee player Mark Philippoussis and new addition Tamira Paszek, according to Capitals coach Wayne Bryan.
   Philippoussis, a 34-year-old Australian, reached two Grand Slam singles finals and a career-high No. 8 in the world before retiring five years ago with bad knees. Paszek, a 20-year-old Austrian, advanced to her first Grand Slam singles quarterfinal at Wimbledon this month.
   St. Louis also features this year's WTT Female MVP, Liezel Huber, and Male Rookie of the Year, Jean-Julien Rojer. The awards were announced Friday.
   The Aces lost Lindsay Davenport, last year's WTT Female MVP, just before their season opener because she's pregnant with her third child. Her doctor told her to skip the 2011 campaign.
   Leading the Capitals is Vania King, who ranked third among nine WTT regulars in women's singles and third among 19 in women's doubles. She was named the 2009 WTT Female MVP for Springfield (Mo.) and won two Grand Slam women's doubles titles last year.
   Awaiting the winner of today's match is the Washington Kastles, who improved to 15-0 with a 25-13 victory over the Boston Lobsters on Friday in the Eastern Conference final in Charleston. In Sunday's WTT Finals, the Kastles will try to become the first undefeated team in WTT's 36-year history.
   Washington swept the other three WTT awards this season. Leander Paes was named the Male MVP for the second time in three years, Arina Rodionova was chosen as the league's Female Rookie of the Year, and Murphy Jensen received Coach of the Year honors.
   Rodionova is the younger sister of ex-Capital Anastasia Rodionova.

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