It would take more than Sam Querrey’s presence with the Sacramento Capitals to slow the Lasers momentum a night after Springfield captured a spot in the Western Conference Final. With home court advantage on the line and the top-ranked American men’s tennis player on the opposite side of the net – the Lasers played inspired tennis at Mediacom Tennis Stadium last night.
Throwing down solid first serves, Rik DeVoest pulled-off one of the biggest upsets of the season, dispatching Sam Querrey in the first set (5-2). After two solid Mens Singles wins over Steve Johnson of Orange County (5-3) and (5-2), Querrey was completely off his game starting the night in Springfield. With two double faults and inconsistent ground-strokes, DeVoest allowed Sam to completely self-destruct and Rik took an early 3-0 lead. Sam was able to hold his serve through the rest of the event, but with Rik’s early break, the damage was done.
In Mixed Doubles, Querrey started the match with Taylor Townsend, but was quickly replaced by Mark Knowles. Before the night’s match, Springfield Coach JL de Jager had intended to play Vania King, but wrote down Alisa Kleybanova’s name in the official order of play. So when Vania started the match, it was counted as a substitution. Halfway through the event, JL tried to substitute Kleybanova for King, but was denied by umpire Roger Pennington because Vania’s play already counted as the team’s one substitution in the event. Despite the argument and confusion, Rojer and King rallied to take the set in a tiebreak (5-4).
In Mens Doubles, Rojer and DeVoest improved their record to 7-0, defeating 4-time Grand Slam doubles champion Mark Knowles and Sam Querrey. Juls and Rik are easily the best mens doubles team in the league, not only at winning events, but also at keeping their opponents from putting games on the board. In the 55 doubles games Rik has played since Andy Roddick’s departure from the team, he and Rojer have won 35 and lost 20 – typically winning sets 5-2 or 5-3.
In the fourth event, Alisa Kleybanova took the court for the Lasers against Taylor Townsend – one of the talented future faces of American tennis. Last year, at 16-years-old, Taylor won the Junior Title at the Australian Open, then went on to win the Junior Doubles Titles at both Wimbledon and the US Open. Her left-handed hard serves and heavy ground strokes proved too much for Alisa, and Sacramento took the set 5-2 over the Lasers.
Up 17-13 going into the final event, Alisa Kleybanova and Vania King teamed-up again to achor the match for the Springfield Lasers. With a 9-3 event record, it was their 6th time this season as match closers. With the 5-3 win over Megan Moulton-Levy and Taylor Townsend, King and Kleybanova are now 4-2 when shouldering the match at the end of the night. (Final: 22-17 win for the Springfield Lasers)
With the win, the Lasers improved to 9-4 on the season and locked-in home court advantage for the Western Conference Final on Thursday. The Texas Wild will travel to Springfield after thier match with Sacramento tonight. The Lasers are in Orange County tonight for their final match of the World Team Tennis Season. The Lasers and Texas have only played once this season, in Springfield…and it was a close one. The Lasers were down 15-17 going into the final event (surprise – Womens Doubles!), where Vania King and Alisa Kleybanova won convincingly over Eugenie Bouchard and Darija Jurak 5-1, securing the win for Springfield 20-18.
Come out to Mediacom Tennis Stadium Thursday night to cheer on the Springfield Lasers as they battle for an opportunity to most-likely play the Washington Kastles for the World Team Tennis King Trophy. The match starts at 7:05 at the Copper Tennis Complex on Pythian in Springfield.
7/23 – WIN 22-17 over the Sacramento Capitals
MS (W) 5-2 DeVoest vs. Querrey
MXD (W) 5-4 Rojer/King vs. Querrey/Knowles/Townsend
MD (W) 5-3 Rojer/DeVoest vs. Knowles/Querrey
WS (L) 2-5 Kleybanova vs. Townsend
WD (W) 5-3 King/Kleybanova vs. Moulton-Levy/Townsend
2013 WORLD TEAM TENNIS STANDINGS
- Springfield Lasers 9-4
- Texas Wild 8-5
- Orange County Breakers 6-7
- Sacramento Capitals 5-8
- Washington Kastles 11-2
- Boston Lobsters 5-8
- New York Sportimes 4-9
- Philadelphia Freedoms 4-9