Tennis fans have been treated to Mylan World TeamTennis action at Hagan Arena (Saint Joseph’s University) since July 17 when the home team Philadelphia Freedoms began hosting matches. For those not familiar with the format for these matches: each team has a coach and four players; two men and two women (five players if there is a marquee player on the team). Teams may name local alternates and substitute those players should a regular team member become injured during a match. Players are permitted to play in three sets per match. A match is a contest between two Mylan WTT teams and consists of five sets (plus Extended Play, and a Supertiebreaker, if necessary). The events/sets are men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles.
We caught two nights of the action on Monday, July 24th, when the Freedoms hosted Venus Williams, Sam Querrey, and the Washington Kastles, and Tuesday, July 25th when the New York Empire came to town (with Andy Roddick playing for Philadelphia). Game scoring is no-ad ( the first team to win four points wins the game). If the game reaches deuce (3 points each), the receiver chooses the side from which he/she will receive serve. In mixed doubles, the serve is always gender to gender at deuce. Each game counts as one point in the team’s cumulative match score. Players change sides after every four games. Lets are played and either partner may return the let serve.
The match opened with Men’s Doubles with Philadelphia’s Fabrice Martin and Darian King defeating Sam Querrey and Bruno Soares 5-4. Up next was Women’s Singles and Venus Williams shined for Washington, defeating Sloane Stephens 5-2.
In the Men’s Singles game, Sam Querrey got some revenge on Darian King, defeating him 5-3. The Women’s Doubles game again featured Venus Williams, who, along with partner Anastasia Rodionova, defeated Sloane Stephens and Taylor Townsend 5-0. This was the first loss for Stephens and Townsend this season.
In the final game of the match, Mixed Doubles, Fabrice Martin and Taylor Townsend defeated Bruno Soares and Venus Williams 5-0 to force Extended Play. Venus and Bruno won the first game in Extended Play to secure the win for the Washington Kastles.
The Philadelphia Freedoms looked to bounce back the next night when they hosted the New York Empire in front of a crowd that included Sixer’s star Joel Embiid and tennis legend Billie Jean King.
Any hope that Andy Roddick could give the team a needed boost was dashed in the opening Men’s Doubles game when New York’s Mardy Fish and Neil Skupksi defeated Andy Roddick and Fabrice Martin 5-3. The Philadelphia Freedom’s women did not fair much better in the Women’s Doubles game as Sloane Stephens and Taylor Townsend lost 5-3 to the Empire’s Kirsten Flipkens and Maria Sanchez.
Looking for redemption in the third game, Men’s Singles, Roddick fell short. He was defeated 5-4 by Mardy Fish. New York’s dominance continued in the Women’s Singles game as Kirsten Flipkens defeated Taylor Townsend 5-4. The night wrapped up with the Mixed Doubles game which had the same result as the previous four: Philadelphia dropped by New York as Neil Skupski and Kirsten Flipkens defeated Fabrice Martin and Taylor Townsend 5-4.
On July 26th, Philadelphia lost its third match in a row when the Springfield Lasers came to town. Philadelphia still has two home matches remaining, tonight against Orange County (7 PM, Hagan Arena) and tomorrow night against San Diego (7 PM, Hagan Arena). You can snag tickets to the remaining home games here.
[Washington game photos by Michael Green. New York game photos by Rick Pettine]
[Article by David Miller]
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