Saturday, September 15, 2012

Capitals reach WTT final; last seed falls in Redding

   Sacramento went 1-3 against Orange County during the regular season in World TeamTennis. But the Capitals' 25-15 victory over the rival Breakers in the Western Conference final Friday in Charleston, S.C., came as little surprise.
   Whereas Sacramento (8-7) had its big guns, top-100 players Kevin Anderson and CoCo Vandeweghe, Orange County (8-7) played without Lindsay Davenport. Formerly No. 1 in the world in singles and doubles, she missed the match with an undisclosed injury. The Breakers went 3-0 against the Capitals this season with Davenport and 0-2 against them without her. 
   Davenport, a 36-year-old mother of three and two-time WTT Female MVP, led the league in women's doubles this season with a 48-29 (.623) record in games. A winning percentage over .600 in WTT is outstanding.
   In today's Eastern Conference final, the defending champion Washington Kastles (14-0), led by Venus Williams, will face the New York Sportimes (9-5), featuring 53-year-old John McEnroe. The match will be streamed live at www.wtt.com at 3:30 p.m. PDT and televised on tape delay at 9:30 p.m. on NBCSN.
   Washington has won 30 consecutive matches, second-best in the history of U.S. professional team sports behind the Los Angeles Lakers' 33 straight in 1971-72. 
   The Capitals, meanwhile, have won a record six WTT titles but none since 2007 on their home court. Sunday's WTT final will be televised live on NBCSN at 12:30 p.m. PDT.
   Sacramento picked up where it left off in the three-week regular season, which ended July 28. For the second straight match, the Capitals won all five sets. They ended the regular season with a 25-17 home victory over the Boston Lobsters in a match with no playoff implications.
   Anderson, a 6-foot-8 South African ranked 37th in the world, gave Sacramento a 5-3 lead Friday with a victory over John-Patrick Smith, the WTT Male Rookie of the Year. Sacramento increased its lead to 10-7 as Capitals coach Wayne Bryan substituted freely in mixed doubles.
   Then came the backbreaker. Anderson and 41-year-old Mark Knowles, formerly No. 1 in doubles, routed Travis Parrott and Smith 5-1 to give the Capitals a 15-8 lead at intermission.
   The 6-foot-1 Vandeweghe, ranked 88th, edged Jana Juricova, the 2011 NCAA champion from Cal, 5-4 in women's singles. Asia Muhammad and Yasmin Schnack, a Sacramento-area resident, closed out the match with a 5-3 win in women's doubles.
   Women's Challenger in Redding -- Qualifier Chelsey Gullickson eliminated the last remaining seed, No. 7 Nicola Geuer of Germany, 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the $25,000 USTA Oak River Rehab Challenger at Sun Oaks Tennis & Fitness.
   Gullickson, the daughter of former major-league pitcher Bill Gullickson and 2010 NCAA champion from Georgia, will face another qualifier, Kristie Ahn, in today's first semifinal at 12:30 p.m. Ahn, who's about to begin her junior year at Stanford, defeated Angelina Gabueva of Russia 6-3, 3-1, retired after knocking off top-seeded Florencia Molinero of Argentina in the first round.
    Allie Will outlasted fellow American Sanaz Marand 7-5, 6-7 (5), 6-4 to reach the semifinals for the second consecutive year. Will, who turned pro in July after leading Florida to two straight NCAA team titles, has needed three sets in all three of her matches. Her semifinal opponent, Sachie Ishizu of Japan, has not lost a set in three matches.
   Ishizu beat qualifier Katie Le of Milpitas in the San Francisco Bay Area 6-1, 6-4 in the quarterfinals. Le, who'll return to Santa Clara for her junior year, was coming off a victory over second-seeded Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay.       

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