Archive for September, 2012

And the Nationals Follow in the Kastles Footsteps

Well, Washington finally has a baseball team that is in the playoffs.  The Nationals clinched at least a wild card berth in the 2012 MLB Playoffs by beating the Dodgers 4-1 tonight.

The last time a Washington baseball team was in the MLB playoffs was in the 1933 when the Washington Senators lost the World Series after finishing the season with a record of 99-53.

Here’s hoping the Nationals go far in the playoffs and dare I say maybe win the World Series.  It would be nice to see two World Championship professional sports teams in Washington at the same time.

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“Kardiac Kastles” Do It Again – WTT CHAMPIONS!!! – 32 and Counting

Well, the “Kardiac Kastles” did it again.  They faced the Sacramento Capitals for the WTT Championship and came away victorious, thanks to Venus Williams heroic performance in the last event, Womens Singles.

The entire championship match was a see-saw affair with 3-5, 5-1, 2-5 and 5-4  set scores through the first four sets with the Womens Singles remaining.  The Kastles were taken to overtime in 2011 in the final – but since the score was tied 15-15 after four events, there would be no overtime – whoever won the Womens Singles would take it all.

When Venus went down a break in Womens Singles it became tenuous.  But being the champion that she is, Venus broke right back and the Womens Singles ended up being tied 4-4 and the scene was set for a 9 point, first to 5 winner-take-all tiebreak.  Venus served first and Coco Vandeweghe went up 2-0 in the tiebreak, 3 points from the championship but Venus took both points of Coco’s serve to level the tiebreak 2-2.  Venus then had two serves and made the most of it – Venus took both points to make it 4-2 and giving Venus three championship points on Coco’s serve.  Coco had the last three serves but would have to sweep all three points to win the set and the match.  It was not meant to be for the Capitals and Venus took the next point to win the tiebreak 5-2 and the Kastles took the match and the championship 20-19.

The Kastles have now won 32 matches in a row and have accomplished a feat that is almost incomprehensible – two 16-0 undefeated seasons – BACK TO BACK!!!

After the awards ceremony and most of the media events were done, Mark Ein invited the diehard Kastles fans that had made the trek to South Carolina onto the court with the players and to get photos with the King trophy.  That makes 3 championships in the 5 years the franchise has been in existence.

And of course one of the big highlights of the trip for me was getting to meet Venus Williams and get a “photo op” with her.

 

Venus and Me at Family Circle Tennis Center after the Chapionship Match

Kastles 2012 Championship Logo

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Kastles win WTT Eastern Conference Title

Well I’m in Charleston, SC this weekend for WTT Finals Weekend.  The Kastles beat the NY Sportimes thanks to Venus Williams by a score of 19-15.  The match was a see saw event.

The first event was Mens Doubles and the Kastles won that event 5-2.  A good start.  But NY was not be denied there share of games and they stormed back and won Mixed Doubles 5-2 to even up the match.  Then the Kastles took Mens Singles 5-2 for a 12-9 intermission lead.  Then Womens Doubles was on the agenda and the Sportimes came storming back to win 5-2 and tie the match at an overall score of 14-14.  This meant no overtime, no super tiebreak – it was a winner take all situation.  Win the Womens Singles and you win the whole shootin’ match.

Venus started out by losing the first game on her own serve.  Then something changes – Venus then ran off the next 5 games breaking her Sportimes opponent three times in the process.

Game, set match – Kastles win the 2012 Eastern Conference Title by a score of 19-15.

That makes 31 wins a row and going for 32 against the Sacramento Capitals on Sunday.

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Way to go “My Serena”!!!

I don’t know how she did it (but I do know how she did it), but Serena Williams “pulled a rabbit out of her hat” and beat Victoria Azarenka in the Women’s Final at the U. S. Open in New York today in three sets.

Serena raced out to a 3-0 lead by breaking Vika in her first service game.  For the next 4 games, both held serve bringing the set to 5-2.  Serena then broke Vika at love to win the set 6-2.

In the second set, Vika came out on fire.  Serena served first and Vika immediately broke serve.  Vika stormed through the second set and equaled the score from the first set, winning 6-2.

For the first time since 1995, 17 years ago, the women’s final was headed for a third set.

Serena served first and held serve for a 1-0 lead.  Vika held serve with diffculty bring the third set to 1-1.

Vika broke Serena’s second service game for a 2-1 lead but Vika couldn’t consolidate the break and Serena broke right back to bring the set to 2-2.

Serena then held serve for a 3-2 lead.  Vika held serve to level the set at 3-3.

Vika then broke Serena at love for a 4-3 lead.  In the next game Serena had break point against Vika but Vika fought off that break point and won the next three points to take the 8th game and a 5-3 lead.

Serena then held serve to bring the set to 5-4.  Next, Vika would serve for the set and championship at 5-4.  Serena hunkered down and broke Vika to level the set at 5-5. 

Serena dominated the 11th game of the set and went up 6-5.  Vika would then serve to stay in the set (and match) and force a third set tiebreak.

In the 12th game of the set, Serena took the first point for 0-15.  At that point she had won 11 of the last 13 points.  Vika took the next two points to take a 30-15 lead.  Next Serena hit a screaming winner from behind the baseline to level the game at 30 all.  Vika took the next point for a 40-30 lead and game point.  Serena then won the next point to bring it to deuce.  Then Vika won the next point for AD Azarenka.  Serena fought off game point with a screaming return for deuce #2.  Serena took the next point for AD Williams and match point for Serena.  Vika faulted on her first serve, Serena hit a screaming cross court return and Vika’s shot was long and Serena took the third set 7-5.

Not only was this Serena’s fourth U.S. Open Women’s title to make 15 Slam titles but it was her 30th overall Slam title – 15 Women’s Singles titles, 13 Women’s Doubles titles and 2 Mixed Doubles titles.  Ironically, those two Mixed Doubles titles were with Max Mirnyi at the 1998 Wimbledon and 1998 US Open Championships and Max had parterned with Victoria Azarenka at the 2012 London Olympics to win the Gold medal.

To win her 15 Singles Slams she has beaten Venus Williams (6 times), Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport, Maria Sharapova, Jelena Jankovic, Dinara Safina, Justine Henin, Vera Zvonareva, Agnieszka Radwanska and Victoria Azarenka.  That’s an impressive list considering that she has beaten 10 players for those 15 titles.

What still amazes me about Serena is when she appears to be down and out she hunkers down and comes out of nowhere to end up winning – literally snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.  That is the mark of a true champion.  And with a 2012 consisting of winning Wimbledon (Singles and Doubles), the London Olympics (Singles and Doubles) and the US Open (Singles) she has had a pretty good year.  And it’s not over.  Serena is off to Beijing, China and has qualified for the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships in Istanbul on October 23-28, 2012.

Two majors and two gold medals in one year – NOT BAD SERENA, baby.

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