Friday, November 4, 2011

WTT leader 'very optimistic' Capitals will return

   The Sacramento Capitals are battling for survival but might return for their 27th season, after all.
   Team owner Bob Cook filed for personal bankruptcy protection in August, clouding the future of World TeamTennis' flagship franchise.
   "All I can say is I'm very optimistic that the Capitals can play next year," WTT CEO/Commissioner Ilana Kloss said Thursday in an exclusive interview. "We're hoping to have an announcement in the next few weeks."
   Neither Cook nor Capitals general manager Matt McEvoy returned calls.
   The Capitals, WTT's oldest franchise, have won a record six titles. They earned four consecutive league championships and five in six years from 1997 through 2002. Their last title came in 2007.
   From 1997 through 2007, the Capitals went a combined 108-35 (.755) in the regular season. Since then, however, they are 28-28.
    Cook, a real estate developer who's also the managing partner of the troubled Le Rivage luxury hotel in Sacramento, reportedly owes creditors $48 million. Le Rivage defaulted on its debts.     
   As bad as Cook's woes are, they're nothing compared to those of his former Capitals partner. Lonnie Nielson pleaded guilty last fall to grand theft related to his real estate business, reportedly prompting WTT to briefly revoke Sacramento's franchise in the winter.
   Nielson admitted embezzling more than $760,000 from 11 clients last year as the owner of a business that temporarily accepted funds from the sale of real estate properties. He is serving a seven-year prison sentence.
   Querrey stuns Tsonga -- San Francisco native Sam Querrey scored the biggest victory of his comeback, toppling second-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 7-6 (5), 6-2 in the second round of the $2.85 million Valencia (Spain) Open. Tsonga, who's fighting for a berth in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals this month in London, is ranked seventh in the world.
   The right-handed Querrey, 24, underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow in June and missed three months. In his second and third tournaments back, the 6-foot-6 veteran lost to 6-10 Ivo Karlovic in the semifinals in Sacramento and final at Tiburon last month.
  Querrey, ranked No. 116 after reaching a career-high No. 17 in January, will face sixth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro in today's quarterfinals.
   Roddick tops Radek -- In a matchup of former SAP Open champions in San Jose, seventh-seeded Andy Roddick of Austin, Texas, defeated Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the second round of the $2.6 million Swiss Indoors in Basel.
   Roddick, a three-time SAP Open champion (2004, 2005 and 2008) will meet third-seeded Roger Federer in today's quarterfinals. Federer, who's playing in his hometown, is 20-2 lifetime against Roddick.
   Other pro results -- Yasmin Schnack, a Sacramento-area resident, lost to seventh-seeded Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia 6-3, 6-0 in the second round of the Grapevine (Texas) Women's $50,000 Tennis Classic.
   Amateur Artem Ilyushin, another Sacramento-area resident, upset eighth-seeded Chris Letcher of Australia 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the $10,000 Bluewater Bay Professional Tournament in Niceville, Fla. Ilyushin, however, lost in the doubles semifinals with Gilad Ben Zvi of Israel.

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