Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Capitals lose thriller as Kastles extend streak

   The Sacramento Capitals fought valiantly but came up short against the surging Washington Kastles on Wednesday night.
   Washington needed six match points to beat visiting Sacramento 21-19 in overtime and extend its World TeamTennis winning streak to 23 matches dating to July 22, 2010.
   The fourth set proved decisive as former Capital Anastasia Rodionova won 5-0 in women's singles to give the Kastles (7-0) a 16-13 lead in a battle of conference leaders. Yasmin Schnack substituted for Asia Muhammad at 0-2 for Sacramento (4-3).
   Schnack and Mark Knowles saved four match points to beat Rodionova and Leander Paes 5-4 in the final set, mixed doubles, to pull the Capitals within 20-18 and send the match to overtime.
   To ensure that the fifth set of matches are meaningful, WTT rules states that if the team leading after four sets doesn't win the final set, the match continues until either the leading team wins one more game or the opponent overtakes the leader.
   Sacramento escaped one more match point in overtime, which ended 1-1.
   Paes, a 39-year-old Indian, has collected 13 Grand Slam doubles titles (seven men's and six mixed) and two WTT Male MVP awards (2009 and last year). Knowles, 40, from the Bahamas, has earned four Grand Slam doubles crowns (three men's and one mixed) and three WTT Male MVP honors (2001, 2005 and 2007).
   Rodionova, a 30-year-old Russian-born Australian, reached the Wimbledon mixed doubles final in 2003. Schnack, 24, from the Sacramento suburb of Elk Grove, played in her first Grand Slam tournament in June, losing in the first round of women's doubles with close friend and former Capital Vania King.
   The Capitals have an excellent chance to reach the playoffs, Sept. 14-16 in Charleston, S.C. Midway through the regular season, they lead the four-team Western Conference by one-half match over Orange County (3-3), two matches over Kansas City (2-5) and three matches over Springfield (1-6). The top two teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs.
   Four of Sacramento's remaining seven matches will be at home, including four of the last five. None of the Capitals' remaining opponents has a winning record, although that will change if Orange County wins Thursday night at Philadelphia (3-4).
   Sacramento will host Orange County on Tuesday night and visit the Breakers the following night. Lindsay Davenport, formerly ranked No. 1 in the world in singles and doubles, is scheduled to play women's doubles and mixed doubles for Orange County on both nights.
   As expected, the Capitals' men have been much stronger than their women. They rank first in the eight-team WTT in men's singles, third in men's doubles, seventh in women's singles and doubles, and fourth in mixed doubles.
   Sacramento's Sam Querrey, who reached No. 17 in the world in January 2011 before undergoing elbow surgery, leads the league in men's singles with a 15-8 (.652) record in games.
   The 6-foot-6 Querrey will end his six-match stint with the team on Sunday, but 6-8 Kevin Anderson of South Africa is scheduled to replace him for the Capitals' last four matches of the regular season. Anderson, ranked 33rd in the world, figures to be just as strong.
   Sacramento will get an unexpected boost on the women's side from CoCo Vandeweghe, who's set to join the team for its last five matches. The 6-foot-1 Vandeweghe, 20, reached the final of last week's Bank of the West Classic at Stanford as a lucky loser and held a set point against five-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams in the title match.
   Part-time Capitals lose -- Anderson and Vandeweghe lost on their respective tours.
   Anderson, a South African seeded fifth, fell to Michael Russell of Houston 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4 in the second round of the BB&T Atlanta Open. Russell is one foot shorter than Anderson.
   Wild cards Vandeweghe, playing near her hometown of Rancho Santa Fe, and Mirjana Lucic of Croatia dropped a 6-4, 6-3 decision to top-seeded Americans Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond in the first round of the Mercury Insurance Open in the San Diego suburb of Carlsbad. 
   Legends to compete in San Jose -- Legends Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors and Jim Courier will compete in the Champions Showdown on Nov. 16 at HP Pavilion in San Jose.
   The event is part of the PowerShares Series Tour, formerly the Champions Series, for 30-and-over stars that will visit 12 U.S. cities during its seven-week season in October and November.
   Each PowerShares Series event will showcase four legends playing in one-set semifinals followed by a one-set championship match. The tour also features Pete Sampras, Pat Rafter, Michael Chang, Mats Wilander and Todd Martin.
   Tickets for the Champions Showdown, starting at $45, may be purchased at the HP Pavilion ticket office, or (800) 745-3000 beginning Monday. For more information, visit
  Downing named to Super Seniors team -- Martha Downing of Shingle Springs, a suburb of Sacramento, will represent the United States at the 32nd ITF Super Seniors World Team Championships, Sept. 10-23 in Croatia.
   The nation's top men and women from age 60 to 80 will compete against teams from more than 30 countries. Up to 1,000 players are expected to participate.
   Joining Downing on the U.S. team in the Alice Marble Cup for women 60 and over are Tina Karwasky of Glendale, Calif., Kerry Young of Maitland, Fla., and Mary Ginnard of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
   Downing, the playing captain of the two-time defending champion Alice Marble Cup team, has played in six Cup team competitions in England, Turkey, Majorca and Australia, and won 27 national titles. She achieved the No. 1 world ranking in 60 singles in 2009, earning seven gold balls (national titles) that year. Last week, Downing was inducted into the Northern California Tennis Hall of Fame.
Washington 21, Capitals 19 (OT)
In Washington, D.C.
   Men's doubles -- Leander Paes-Bobby Reynolds (Kastles) def. Mark Knowles-Sam Querrey (Capitals) 5-3.
   Women's doubles -- Asia Muhammad-Yasmin Schnack (Capitals) def. Anastasia Rodionova-Arina Rodionova (Kastles) 5-3.
   Men's singles -- Sam Querrey (Capitals) def. Bobby Reynolds (Kastles) 5-3.
   Women's singles -- Anastasia Rodionova (Kastles) def. Asia Muhammad/Yasmin Schnack (Capitals) 5-0 (Schnack substituted for Muhammed at 0-2).
   Mixed doubles -- Yasmin Schnack-Sam Querrey/Mark Knowles (Capitals) def. Anastasia Rodionova-Leander Paes (Kastles) 5-4 (Knowles substituted for Querrey at 0-1).
   Overtime --Anastasia Rodionova-Leander Paes (Kastles) tied Yasmin Schnack-Mark Knowles (Capitals) 1-1.
   Following are this week's world rankings of professional players with Northern California ties (change from last week in parentheses):
   Kevin Anderson, Sacramento Capitals (2012) of World TeamTennis -- No. 33 in singles (no change), No. 156 in doubles (-3).
   Bob Bryan, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- No. 3 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Mike Bryan, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- No. 3 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Mardy Fish, Capitals (2012) -- No. 13 in singles (no change), No. 722 in doubles (no change).
   John Paul Fruttero, Cal All-American in 2001 and 2002 -- No. 99 in doubles (-4), unranked in singles.
   Bradley Klahn, 2010 NCAA singles champion and 2011 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 657 in singles (+4), No. 862 in doubles (-149). 
   Mark Knowles, Capitals (2001-07, 2009-12), three-time World TeamTennis Male MVP (2001, 2005 and 2007) -- No. 73 in doubles (-3), unranked in singles.
   Scott Lipsky, 2002 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 35 in doubles (+1), unranked in singles.
   Sam Querrey, San Francisco native, Capitals (2012) -- No. 55 in singles (no change), No. 61 in doubles (no change).
   Ryan Sweeting, Capitals (2012) -- No. 117 in singles (-1), No. 848 in doubles (+1).
   Dmitry Tursunov, Folsom resident -- No. 136 in singles (-2), No. 179 in doubles (-6).
   Jimmy Wang, Folsom resident -- No. 210 in singles (-9), No. 392 in doubles (-3).
   Pedro Zerbini, All-Pacific-10 Conference first team at Cal (2009-11) -- No. 639 in singles (+3), No. 1,003 in doubles (-7).
   Jana Juricova, NCAA singles (2011) and doubles (2009) champion from Cal -- No. 949 in singles (no previous ranking), unranked in doubles.
   Raquel Kops-Jones, 2003 NCAA doubles champion from Cal -- Career-high No. 19 in doubles (no change), No. 710 in singles (+6).
   Asia Muhammad, Capitals (2012) -- No. 185 in doubles (+2), No. 483 in singles (-3).
   Maria Sanchez, Modesto resident -- Career-high No. 137 in doubles (no change), No. 222 in singles (-2).
   Yasmin Schnack, Elk Grove resident, Capitals (2011-12) -- No. 146 in doubles (-1), No. 454 in singles (+1).
   Romana Tedjakusuma, Tracy resident -- No. 495 in singles (+46), No. 1,140 in doubles (+7).
   CoCo Vandeweghe, Capitals (2009, 2012) -- No. 69 in singles (+51), No. 508 in doubles (-7).
(All times PDT)

   Thursday -- Hamburg (men), early rounds, Tennis Channel, 5:30-11:30 a.m. (live); Bastad (women), early rounds, Tennis Channel, 4-8 p.m. (delay), 8 p.m.-midnight (repeat).
   Friday -- Hamburg (men), quarterfinals, Tennis Channel, 3-11 a.m. (live), 8-10 p.m. (repeat); Atlanta (men), quarterfinals, ESPN2, 1-6 p.m. (live), Tennis Channel, 6-8 p.m. (live); Bastad (women), quarterfinals, Tennis Channel, 2-6 p.m. (delay); Carlsbad (women), quarterfinals, ESPN2, 8-10 p.m. (live).
   Saturday -- Hamburg (men), semifinals, Tennis Channel, 4:30-9 a.m. (live), noon-2 p.m. (repeat), 8-10 p.m. (repeat); Atlanta (men), semifinals, Tennis Channel, 10 a.m.-noon (live), ESPN2, 4-6 p.m. (live); Carlsbad (women), semifinals, Tennis Channel, 2-4 p.m. (live), ESPN2, 8-10 p.m. (live); Bastad (women), Tennis Channel, 4-8 p.m. (delay). 
   Sunday -- Hamburg (men), final, Tennis Channel, 5-7 a.m. (live), 7-9 a.m. (repeat); Atlanta (men), final, ESPN2, noon-2 p.m. (live), Tennis Channel, 5-7 p.m. (repeat); Carlsbad (women), final, ESPN2, 2-4 p.m. (live); Gstaad (men), final, Tennis Channel, 3-5 p.m. (delay); Bastad (women), final, Tennis Channel, 7-9 p.m. (delay). 
   Thursday -- World TeamTennis, Sacramento Capitals (with Sam Querrey) at Springfield, 5:05 p.m.
   Friday -- Capitals (with Querrey) at Kansas City, 5:35 p.m.
   Sunday -- Springfield at Capitals (with Querrey, CoCo Vandeweghe), Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m.,
   Tuesday -- Orange County (with Lindsay Davenport) at Capitals (with Kevin Anderson, Vandeweghe), Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m.,
   July 25 -- Capitals (with Vandeweghe) at Orange County, 7 p.m.
   July 27 -- Philadelphia (with Mark Philippoussis) at Capitals (with Anderson, Vandeweghe), Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m.,
   July 28 -- Boston at Capitals (with Anderson, Vandeweghe), Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m.,
   July 28-Aug. 5 -- OLYMPIC TENNIS TOURNAMENT, Wimbledon,

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