Now at the halfway point of the 2013 World Team Tennis season, the Springfield Lasers find themselves with the best record in the league at 5-2. Their only losses came in New York on July 9th and in Orange County last Saturday.
Last night’s match with Texas was crucial for both teams – and the only time they’ll meet this season. The Lasers and Wild came into Springfield each with 4-2 records, each with a specific event-advantage over their opponent; the order of events would prove to be critical toward the outcome. With the Wild’s Alex Bogomolov, Jr. ranked as the top current Mens Singles player in the league, and Springfield’s Rik De Voest coming-in cold off the bench after Andy Roddick’s departure, Coach JL de Jaeger made the decision to get that set out of the way first. A wise decision, as Alex dominated the event 5-1.
Then in Mixed Doubles, Jean-Julien Rojer and Alisa Kleybanova managed a break on Asaim Ul-Haq Qureshi and Darija Jurak, winning the set 5-3 – keeping the Lasers within 2-points in the overall score.
Though the Wild only had a 1-5 record in Mens Doubles, the sets Qureshi and Bogomolov lost this year were all close, and de Jaeger knew he couldn’t finish the night with the Wild’s statistical weakness. So Mens Doubles went third, and proved to be a tiebreak thriller. Rojer and DeVoest, their first time playing together for the Springfield Lasers, won it on the final point pulling the Lasers within one-game of the Wild (11-12) at halftime.
Canada’s young Eugenie Bouchard cracked the top-100 for the first time back in April, and is currently the 56th ranked player on the WTA tour. Needless to say – a tough opponent for veteran Vania King in the Womens Singles event – but Vania held her own, elevating her play and placement through the set to force a tiebreak. Though Vania lost the set, she still managed to pick up 4-games for the Lasers to keep it close.
Finally it came down to JL de Jaeger’s strongest event, Women’s Doubles, featuring the top team in the league, Vania King and Alisa Kleybanova. Down 15-17, the Springfield Lasers needed a dominating performance to win it outright, or a close performance to force overtime and a potential Supertiebreak. Vania and Alisa (celebrating her 24th birthday) opted for domination. They took out the talented pair of Eugenie Bouchard and Darija Jurak 5-1 to win the match for the Springfield Lasers 20-18.
The league-leading Lasers now head back to Washington D.C. Wednesday night to play Martina Hingis, Bobby Reynolds, Leander Paes, and Anastasia Rodionova. During their last match, the Lasers managed a 22-15 win, despite Roddick’s 2-5 loss in Mens Singles to Kevin Anderson; however, the Kastles didn’t have Hingis that night. With Martina potentially playing Womens Singles, Doubles and Mixed, Wednesday night will be a huge test for the Lasers as they start the second half of the season on the road. The next home match will be Thursday in Springfield vs. Sacramento.
7/15 – WIN 20-18 over the Texas Wild
MS (L) 1-5 De Voest vs. Bogomolov
MXD (W) 5-3 Rojer/Kleybanova vs. Qureshi/Jurak
MD (W) 5-4 Rojer/DeVoest vs. Qureshi/Bogomolov
WS (L) 4-5 King vs. Bouchard
WD (W) 5-1 King/Kleybanova vs. Bouchard/Jurak
2013 WORLD TEAM TENNIS STANDINGS
- Springfield Lasers 5-2
- Orange County Breakers 4-3
- Texas Wild 4-3
- Sacramento Capitals 3-4
- Washington Kastles 4-2
- New York Sportimes 3-3
- Boston Lobsters 3-5
- Philadelphia Freedoms 1-5