Saturday, August 1, 2020

New York stuns Philly, will face Chicago in WTT Final

Jack Sock reacts during a 2018 exhibition against Roger Federer in San Jose, Calif.
Sock helped New York upset Philadelphia today. Photo by Mal Taam
   The fourth-seeded New York Empire shocked the top-seeded Philadelphia Freedoms 22-18 today in the semifinals of the World TeamTennis playoffs at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.V.
   New York will face the Chicago Smash for the King Trophy on Sunday at The Greenbrier. CBS will televise the final starting at 9 a.m. PDT.
   The difference in the Empire's match was Jack Sock and CoCo Vandeweghe's 5-1 victory over Taylor Fritz, who was named the WTT Male MVP on Friday, and Taylor Townsend in the third set.
   Sock has collected three Grand Slam men's doubles titles (Wimbledon in 2014 and 2018 and the U.S. Open in 2018). Vandeweghe, the niece of former NBA star Kiki Vandeweghe, has won one major women's doubles crown (2018 U.S. Open). 
   New York (8-7), last year's WTT runner-up, ended Philadelphia's (12-3) winning streak at four matches. Kim Clijsters, a 37-year-old International Tennis Hall of Famer, did not play for the Empire.
   "We played the most dominant team over the past couple of years," New York coach Luke Jensen said on "They are a great team with a great vibe, and we are extremely grateful to be in the position of playing for it all.
   "They defeated us a couple of days ago, and I said to them, 'Just have fun.' Doing that puts the pressure on them and takes the pressure off us."
   Third-seeded Chicago (10-5), an expansion team with three Grand Slam champions and a major finalist, routed the second-seeded Orlando Storm 24-13 in today's second match at The Greenbrier. The Smash snapped its losing streak at three matches and ended Orlando's winning streak at seven matches.
   Brandon Nakashima, a San Diego resident who will turn 19 on Monday, and Rajeev Ram, a 36-year-old American, put Orlando (10-5) in an early hole with a 5-1 triumph over Tennys Sandgren and Ken Skupski.
   Ram, who was named a volunteer assistant coach at the University of California, Berkeley, in June, and Joe Salisbury of Great Britain won their first Grand Slam men's doubles title in the Australian Open in January.
   Ram, making his 58th Grand Slam doubles appearance, broke the Open era record for most attempts before winning a major men's doubles championship. He won the Australian Open mixed doubles title in 2019 with Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic.
   Chicago's roster also features Sloane Stephens, a Fresno, Calif., product who won the 2017 U.S. Open; Bethanie Mattek-Sands, this year's WTT Female MVP who has won five Grand Slam women's doubles titles and four major mixed doubles crowns; and Eugenie Bouchard, the singles runner-up to Petra Kvitova at Wimbledon in 2014.
   Men's doubles – Neal Skupski and Jack Sock (NY) def. Fabrice Martin and Taylor Fritz 5-3.
   Women's singles – Sofia Kenin (Phil.) def. CoCo Vandeweghe 5-4.
   Mixed doubles – Sock and Vandeweghe (NY) def. Taylor Fritz and Taylor Townsend 5-1.
   Women's doubles – Caroline Dolehide and Townsend (Phil.) def. Nicole Melichar and Vandeweghe 5-3.
   Men's singles – Sock (NY) def. Fritz 5-4.
   Men's doubles – Brandon Nakashima and Rajeev Ram (Chi.) def. Tennys Sandgren and Ken Skupski 5-1.
   Women's singles – Jessica Pegula (Orl.) def. Sloane Stephens 5-4.
   Mixed doubles – Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Ram (Chi.) def. Pegula and Sandgren 5-3. 
   Women's doubles – Eugenie Bouchard and Mattek-Sands (Chi.) def. Darija Jurak and Pegula 5-3.
   Men's singles – Nakashima (Chi.) def. Sandgren 5-1.

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