Wednesday, July 13, 2011

King leads Capitals over Bryans, Kansas City

   In a matchup of players making their World TeamTennis season debuts, Vania King upstaged Bob and Mike Bryan on Tuesday night.
   King won all three of her sets as the Sacramento Capitals routed the Kansas City Explorers, featuring three reigning Wimbledon doubles champions, 23-12 before an announced sellout crowd of 2,500 at Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights.
   King, the 2009 WTT Female MVP as a member of the Springfield (Mo.) Lasers, took the week after Wimbledon off while the Bryans increased their U.S. Davis Cup record to 17 men's doubles victories in a loss to Spain in Austin, Texas.
   After starting the season 1-3, Sacramento (3-3) can move into first place in the Western Conference with a victory tonight in St. Louis (4-3).
   The Bryans, the identical twin sons of Capitals coach Wayne Bryan and probably the greatest men's doubles team ever, took the opening set against Kansas City 5-3. But Sacramento won the last four sets by a combined score of 20-7 to rout the WTT defending champions.
   The Bryans recently won their second Wimbledon men's doubles title, giving them 11 in Grand Slam tournaments to tie the Open Era (since 1968) record of Australians Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde.
   Also playing for Kansas City was Kveta Peschke, who won the Wimbledon women's doubles crown with Katarina Srebotnik. But Jarmila Gajdosova, ranked 29th in the world in women's singles, did not return to WTT this season. Madison Brengle, ranked  No. 222, replaced her for Kansas City.
   King won 5-1 in mixed doubles with Mark Knowles, 5-1 in women's doubles with close friend and WTT rookie Yasmin Schnack and 5-3 in women's singles. King and Schnack have known each other since meeting at a tournament in Costa Rica when they were 11 and 12, respectively.
   Four Wimbledon champions graced the court in mixed doubles, the second set of the night, as King (2010 women's doubles) and Knowles (2009 mixed doubles) faced Peschke and Mike Bryan. Peschke, though, lost both of her sets 5-1.
   The Capitals' Dusan Vemic, playing against his former team, cut his double faults from five in men's doubles to two in men's singles. That helped him beat Ricardo Mello 5-2 to give Sacramento a 13-8 lead at intermission, and the Capitals' women took over from there.    
   When King was asked if she was surprised by the one-sided victory, she said: "Yes and no. We're always capable of it as a team. I have a lot of faith in Yasmin. I'm surprised we won the mixed doubles so easily, but Mark and I played really well. In women's doubles, (Brengle and Peschke) don't know each other as well as Yasmin and I."
   Wayne Bryan improved to 3-1 against his sons even though Bob and Mike have won in men's doubles each time. The twins said the meetings are harder on their father than on them.
   "We're just playing the ball and two guys on the other side of the net," Bob said. "Our dad is our biggest fan and supporter. He's never rooted against us in his life. He's rooting for a great serve out of me and a great return out of Mike. He's relieved when the match is over."
   Bob, who married Florida attorney Michelle Alvarez in December, said he and Mike, who remains single but has a longtime girlfriend, "are best friends. We do fight, but we have a loyal bond that's never going to break. Twins have that special connection other people can't understand unless they're twins."
   It also helps make them a great doubles team.
   "Communication is huge, knowing your partner," Mike said. "We've played thousands matches together since we were 6. We complement each other well. He's left-handed, and I'm right-handed. He has a big serve, and I have a pretty good return."
   The Bryans, 33, have no plans to retire soon.
   "One thing we have not done is win a gold medal (in the Olympics)," said Bob, who earned a bronze medal with Bob in the 2008 Games in Beijing. "We're shooting for that next year (in London). We still love what we do. There are guys still playing great tennis at 39 and 40. This is something we'll probably do for the next four or five years."
   With that, Kansas City owner Jeff Launius pleaded, "The real question is, how long will both of you keep playing for the Kansas City Explorers?"
   Cracked Bob Bryan, "You guys have wheelchair tennis?"     

Capitals 23, Explorers 12
   Men's doubles -- Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan (Explorers) def. Mark Knowles and Dusan Vemic (Capitals) 5-3.
   Mixed doubles -- Vania King and Knowles (Capitals) def. Kveta Peschke and Mike Bryan (Explorers) 5-1.
   Men's singles -- Vemic (Capitals) def. Ricardo Mello (Explorers) 5-2.
   Women's doubles -- King and Yasmin Schnack (Capitals) def. Peschke and Madison Brengle (Explorers) 5-1.
   Women's singles -- King (Capitals) def. Brengle (Explorers) 5-3.

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