Archive for July, 2013

Kastles Three-Peat and Krush the Lasers 25-12
WTT Champions for 2013!!!

Well, I’ve had a day to reflect on it and it was a hell of a season.  For the Kastles to come into the WTT Championship match against the Springfield Lasers and win all five events of the evening was mind boggling.

And it all starts with our beloved Kastle’s owner, Mark D. Ein.  I have said it many times before and I’ve said to Mark a number of times.  I wish all sports team owners would look at what he does as an owner for his staff, his players, his season ticket holders, his sponsers, the VIPs that visit and every other single fan that comes through the gates to our stadium.  If other DC sports team owners had the same pride in their team, the same expectations of excellence from their staff and players and the same appreciation of their paying customers they would a lot more competitive and dare I say successful.

The fact that the Kastles have only been in existence for 6 years and have 4 championships to show for it is remarkable.  Add to that two back-to-back undefeated seasons, 34 wins in a row (the all time record for number of wins in a row by a major professional sport team), a Kastles Stadium at The Wharf home record of 22-1 and an overall record for the three-peat seasons of 46-2 and it becomes mind-boggling that it’s happened over a short six year period.

For about a month every year, the Washington area has a top-tier tennis team playing for them.  Even in 2010 when the Kastles missed the playoffs they had a winning record of 8-6 and barely missed the second place finish they would have needed to be in the Eastern Championship match.  That’s still a highly competitive team.  Even in their inaugural season of 2008 they finished with a record of 6-8 with two of the losses by a margin of a single game in the overall score.  They could have easily finished 8-6 in their first year.

I say that the Kastles are a top-tier tennis team because they have had players such as Justin Gimblestob, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Nadia Petrova, Victoria Azarenka, Kevin Anderson, Rennae Stubbs, Leander Paes and Martina Hingis on their roster.  And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Bobby Reynolds, Anastasia Rodionova and Arina Rodionova who contributed so much to the success of this team.

The 2013 WTT Championships started out with a 2 hour rain delay.  I must honestly say that I had a sinking feeling when the skies opened at around 4:00 PM that we might be at Kastles Stadium at The Wharf until 1:30 AM like the 2011 WTT Championship in Charleston, SC.  Thank goodness that was not the case.

Play started at around 7:00 PM and the first event was Men’s Singles.  Bobby Reynolds got the Kastles off to a roaring start winning the event 5-1.

Next up was Women’s Doubles with Martina Hingis and Anastasia Rodionova taking that event 5-3.

In the final event before “halftime”, Men’s Doubles, Bobby Reynolds and Leander Paes took down Springfield by a score of 5-2.

After the “halftime” show, Martina Hingis took the court and won Women’s Singles by a score of 5-2.

With a score of 20-8 going into the final event of Mixed Doubles I felt the championship was ours.  Even if Springfield won Mixed Doubles 5-0 and took the match into overtime, they would have had to win 7 games in a row in overtime to force a Super Tiebreaker.  It was not to be as the Kastles took the Mixed Doubles in a tie breaker for an overall score of 25-12.

After the King Trophy presentation, the team, a lot of the Kastles staff and a lot of the Kastles fans went to Cantina Marina for a jubilant post championship match celebration.

And then the reality struck – we would have to wait 11 months for another World Team Tennis match in Washington.

Thank you to the Washington Kastles players, volunteers, staff and, of course, Mark Ein for a memorable sixth season of fantastic tennis and fantastic experiences.

11 Months and counting…

King Trophy 2013

Men's Doubles - Leander and Bobby

Women's Singles - Martina Hingis

Women's Doubles - Martina and Anastasia

Kastles' Bench

ThreePeat - Kastles 2013

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Kastles vs. Lasers Tomorrow at 5:00 PM
Go Kastles – Take Out Roddick!!!

Well the 2013 WTT Finals are tomorrow at Kastles Stadium at The Wharf, Sunday, July 28, 2013 at 5:00 PM.  It’s hard to believe that the season is almost over and we’ll have to wait another 11 months for World Team Tennis to be back in DC.

After the Kastles decisively took out the Lobsters in the WTT Eastern Conference Championship for Washington’s 4th Eastern Conference Championship title, the Springfield Lasers took the WTT Western Conference Championship over the Texas Wild.

Springfield announced that Andy Roddick will be making the trip with the team for the Finals in DC.  I used to be a big Andy Roddick fan but my opinion of him soured with all of the trash talk he was doing before Springfield came to DC.  He was anxious to take out the Kastles and end the winning streak.  The Texas Wild did that the night before and Springfield handed us our second loss of the season.  Of course, Andy Roddick lost Men’s Singles to Kevin Anderson so his trash talking was someone empty anyway.  He also was pretty abusive to the chair umpire and he showed a pretty lousy personality.  Of course, the Kastles were without Martina Hingis due to the Hall of Fame induction and Anastasia Rodionova is playing much better this half of the season than the beginning.

Also, I would like to avenge the loss the Lasers a second time since they are the only team we have lost to at The Wharf – and I don’t want it to be twice.

Go Kastles – take that 2013 WTT Championship – Martina, Frederick, Rajeev, Raquel and Kevin need those Championship rings.

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Kastles Krush the Lobsters, Again – 25-12

Well, it happened again but not by as wide a margin tonight.  The Kastles defeated the Boston Lobsters to claim the Eastern Conference Championship.

Leander Paes and Martina Hingis took Mixed Doubles 5-2, Martina Hingis and Anastasia Rodionova took Women’s Doubles 5-1, Bobby Reynolds and Leander Paes took Men’s Doubles 5-2 and Martina Hingis took Women’s Singles 5-2.  Bobby Reynolds lost the tiebreak in Men’s Singles and the match went into overtime.  Bobby won the first game of overtime and the match.  Final score was Kastles 25, Lobsters 12.

Murphy Jensen was named 2013 Coach of the Year and Martina Hingis was named the 2013 Female MVP.

Next up, the WTT Finals at Kastles Stadium at The Wharf, Sunday, July 28, 2013 at 5:00 PM.  The Western Division Champion Springfield Lasers will be in town Sunday.

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Kastles Krush The Boston Lobsters 25-9

All cylinders were firing at Kastles Stadium at The Wharf on Wednesday evening, the last regular season match of the 2013 WTT season.

First on the court were Martina Hingis and Leander Paes (back in the lineup) against Katalin Marosi and Eric Butorac.  The Kastles won the event in a mere 18 minutes taking the set 5-1 breaking Boston twice.

Next to the court was Anastasia Rodionova (not Martina Hingis) against Jill Craybas in Women’s Singles.  Anastasia took the set 5-2 breaking Craybas once with one ace and no double faults.  Anastasia got 70% of her first serves in and only lost 7 points on her serve for the entire set.  Her first serve winning percentage was 81% which is pretty impressive.  After two events, Washington 10, Boston 3.

Next up was Leander Paes and Bobby Reynolds against Amir Weintraub and Eric Butorac in Men’s Doubles.  Despite Leander only get 36% of his first serves in, he only lost 4 points on serve and Bobby also only lost 4 points on serve.  The Kastles broke the Lobsters, the Lobsters broke the Kastles and the Kastles broke the Lobsters a second time.  Bobby and Leander took Men’s Doubles 5-2 for a halftime score of Washington 15, Boston 5.

After the intermission, Martina Hingis and Anastasia Rodionova took on Katalin Marosi and Jill Craybas in Women’s Doubles.  The Kastles kept on rolling and took Women’s Doubles 5-3 for an overall score of 20-8.

The last event of the evening was Men’s Doubles with Bobby Reynolds taking on Amir Weintraub, the only player this year that has defeated Bobby.  Bobby didn’t let that happen tonight.  Bobby broke Amir twice and took Men’s Singles 5-1.  Final score: Washington 25, Boston 9.

Washington will take the court against Boston again on Thursday night in the Eastern Conference Championship match.  If the Kastles defeat Boston yet again this season, the Kastles will face the winner of the Western Conference Championship at Kastles Statium at The Wharf on Sunday, July 28 at 5;00 PM as the home team.

GO KASTLES!!! REFUSE TO LOSE!!!

 

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Kastles Keep Rolling – Rolling Over the Sportimes 23-15

The Kastles have now extended their new winning streak to 9 in a row by soundly defeating the New York Sportimes at Randall’s Island by a scroe of 23-15.

The evening started out with Bobby Reynolds and Frederik Nielsen taking Men’s Doubles over Jessie Whitten and Robert Kendrick 5-3.  The in Women’s Singles Anastasia Rodionova took the court to play Anna-Lena Groenefeld.  Groenefeld had defeated Martina Hingis on Saturday in DC.  But Anastasia took out Groenefeld by a score of 5-1 putting the Kastles up 10-4.  Bobby Reynolds then took on Jessie Witten in Men’s Singles and defeated Witten by a score of 5-3 making the score Kastles 15, Sportimes 7 at intermission.

Martina Hingis and Frederick Nielsen took to the DecoTurf against Kveta Peschke and Jessie Witten.  Hingis and Nielsen have really started to click and took the Mixed Doubles 5-3 for an overall score of Kastles 20, Sportimes 10.

Next up was Women’s Doubles with Martina Hingis and Anastasia Rodionova taking on Kveta Peschke and Anna-Lena Groenefeld.  The Sportimes won the set 5-2 forcing overtime.  Martina Hingis served the first game of Overtime and held serve to end the match with the Kastles 11th win of the season by a score of 23-15.

Next up Boston on Wednesday at Kastles Stadium at The Wharf for a tune-up before Thursday’s Eastern Conference Championship Match.

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Kastles Krush the Philadelphia Freedoms 23-13

The Kastles were not “Kardiac” tonight – anything but.  And one of the original Kastles was watching from one of the VIP Dinner Tables with owner Mark Ein.  Serena Williams won the Swedish Open on Sunday and was at Kastles Stadium to watch the Freedoms and Kastles “Duke it Out”.

Frederik Nielsen and Anastasia Rodionova took the court for the first match of the evening.  It was a little surprising to not see Martina Hingis playing Mixed Doubles.  But Arina and Frederik evidently clicked more than Frederik and Martina – the Kastles took Mixed Doubles 5-3.

Then Martina Hingis took the court and played Sachia Vickery.  This match was never in doubt.  Martina took the set 5-0 in 12 minutes for an overall lead for the Kastles of 10-3.

The third set was Men’s Doubles and Frederik Nielsen and Bobby Reynolds took the court.  The Freedoms took the set 5-3 for an overall score of 13-8 for the Kastles at intermission.

Martina Hingis and Anastasia Rodionova took the court for Women’s Doubles versus Liezel Huber and Sachia Vickery.  The score was 4-3 Kastles and Liezel Huber was unable to take the court for the 8th game of the set.  The WTT rules are very strange to me – if a player in Doubles can’t return to the court, the remaining player plays the game by themselves.  Serves to the player that cannot play automatically go to the opposing team.  So since Liezel Huber was supposed to receive serve first, the point was awarded to the Kastles.  Since Liezel was to receive serve first, there is no way the Freedoms could have won the game.  So the Kastles took that game and won the Women’s Doubles 5-3 for an overall score of 18-11.

Next up was “The Closer” Bobby Reynolds versus Samuel Groth in Men’s Singles.  Bobby took the set and the match 5-2 and the match ended up with an overall score of 23-13.

Next up – the Kastles go to New York to play the Sportimes on Tuesday, July 23.  Then they return to Kastles Stadium at The Wharf on July 24 for the final match of the regular season against the Boston Lobsters.

Thursday will be the Eastern Conference Championship at Kastles Stadium at the Wharf against Boston, Philadelphia or New York – we still don’t know who we will play.

The Kastles were not “Kardiac” tonight – anything but.  And one of the original Kastles was watching from one of the VIP Dinner Tables with owner Mark Ein.  Serena Williams won the Swedish Open on Sunday and was at Kastles Stadium to watch the Freedoms and Kastles “Duke it Out”.

Frederik Nielsen and Anastasia Rodionova took the court for the first match of the evening.  It was a little surprising to not see Martina Hingis playing Mixed Doubles.  But Arina and Frederik evidently clicked more than Frederik and Martina – the Kastles took Mixed Doubles 5-3.

Then Martina Hingis took the court and played Sachia Vickery.  This match was never in doubt.  Martina took the set 5-0 in 12 minutes for an overall lead for the Kastles of 10-3.

The third set was Men’s Doubles and Frederik Nielsen and Bobby Reynolds took the court.  The Freedoms took the set 5-3 for an overall score of 13-8 for the Kastles at intermission.

Martina Hingis and Anastasia Rodionova took the court for Women’s Doubles versus Liezel Huber and Sachia Vickery.  The score was 4-3 Kastles and Liezel Huber was unable to take the court for the 8th game of the set.  The WTT rules are very strange to me – if a player in Doubles can’t return to the court, the remaining player plays the game by themselves.  Serves to the player that cannot play automatically go to the opposing team.  So since Liezel Huber was supposed to receive serve first, the point was awarded to the Kastles.  Since Liezel was to receive serve first, there is no way the Freedoms could have won the game.  So the Kastles took that game and won the Women’s Doubles 5-3 for an overall score of 18-11.

Next up was “The Closer” Bobby Reynolds versus Samuel Groth in Men’s Singles.  Bobby took the set and the match 5-2 and the match ended up with an overall score of 23-13.

Next up – the Kastles go to New York to play the Sportimes on Tuesday, July 23.  Then they return to Kastles Stadium at The Wharf on July 24 for the final match of the regular season against the Boston Lobsters.

Thursday will be the Eastern Conference Championship at Kastles Stadium at the Wharf against Boston, Philadelphia or New York – we still don’t know who we will play.

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“Kardiac Kastles” Bring Heart Palpitations to DC
Win In Super Tiebreak Over Lobsters

Well, the Kardiac Kare Unit has been open the entire weekend.  Okay, the Kastles go into the last event on Saturday evening down by two games with a score of 18-16 and win the Men’s Doubles by a score of 5-2 to win the match 21-20.  All the Kastles need is one more win to guarantee not only a spot in the playoffs but the best record in the Eastern Conference to gain home court advantage for the Eastern Conference title match.

Boston had basically been a pushover for the Kastles this year.  The Kastles defeated the Lobsters on July 9 25-12 for their record setting 34th straight win.  On July 15 Martina Hingis returned to the team after the International Tennis Hall of Fame Induction Weekend to lift the Kastles to a 23-18 win over the Lobsters.  The Kastles won 4 out of the 5 events including Bobby Reynolds taking down Mark Philippoussis 5-4 in Men’s Singles.

The Kastles went to Boston tonight to play the Lobsters to hopefully clinch both a playoff spot and the top seed designation.

Surprisingly, Amir Weintraub defeated Bobby Reynolds in a tiebreak for Bobby’s first Men’s Singles loss of the year.  Next up was Martina Hingis who had an off night on Saturday.  That “off night” was evidently a transient thing because Martina soundly defeated Jill Craybas by a score of 5-2.  Then Bobby Reynolds took the court with the newest member of the Kastles, Frederik Nielson who one of the pair of men that won the Men’s Doubles title at Wimbledon in 2012.  Eric Butorac and Amir Weintraub took Men’s Doubles 5-2 for a score of 12-11 Lobsters at intermission.

Coming out of intermission, Anastasia Rodionova and Martina Hingis took the court against Jill Craybas and Katalin Marosi for Women’s Doubles.  Anastasia served first and held serve.  The Kastles then broke the Lobsters and went up 2-0.  Martina served and only lost one point on  a second serve and the Kastles went up 3-0.  The Kastles broke the Lobster again for a 4-0 advantage.  Anastasia then served out the set for a 5-0 victory in Women’s Doubles.  The Lobsters only won 7 points in the set and 4 of them were on their own serve.  After 4 events the Kastles were up 16-12.

Martina stayed on court to play Mixed Doubles with Frederik Nielson with the intent of closing out the Lobsters and cementing the top seed in the Eastern Conference and the best record of the 2013 WTT season.  The Kastles went up 2-0 in the last event but then the Lobsters pair of Katali Marosi and Eric Butorac fired off 5 games in a row to force overtime, taking the Mixed Doubles event 5-2.  Then the Lobsters broke the Kastles in the overtime game to tie the overall score 18-18 and force a Super Tiebreaker.  Hingis and Nielsen took the first 6 points of the Super Tiebreaker only needing a single point to take the match.  “Kardiac” palpitations started when the Lobsters took the next 3 points of the Super Tiebreak to make the overall score 6-3.  Fortunately the Kastles took the next point to win the Super Tiebreak by a score of 7-3 and the match by a score of 19-18.

So the Kastles have “Klinched” the top seed spot in the Eastern Conference, the best regular season record in the WTT for 2013 and have given then fans at least one more night of tennis on Thursday, July 25 when the Kastles host the Eastern Conference Championship at Kastles Stadium at The Wharf.

Who will the Kastles face in the Eastern Conference Championship?  That’s a hard one to pick.  Philadelphia lost to Texas tonight, Boston lost to the Kastles tonight and as I write this New York is tied with the Springfield Lasers 8-8.

The Kastles are now 9-2 on the season.  Boston is 4-7, Philadelpha is 4-7 and New York is currently 4-6.  Who will the Kastles face in the Championship match?  Only time will tell.  The Kastles face Philadelphia on Monday, New York on Tuesday and Boston on Wednesday.

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The “Kardiac Kastles” are Back!!!
Kastles Send Fans Into Kardiac Arrest By Defeating the Sportimes 21-20 in the Final Event

The “Kardiac Kastles” have returned to Kastles Stadium at The Wharf.  Throughout this season, all of the Kastles wins and losses have been by scores and margins that would not cause heart palpitations.  However, that was evident tonight at Kastles Stadium at The Wharf.

Bobby Reynolds started out the evening by serving 6 aces to Jesse Witten’s 2 aces and winning the Men’s Singles 5-4 in a tiebreak. Bobby has won all of his Men’s Singles matches this season.  I personally think that right now, Bobby is once again the Male MVP in all of WTT.

Next up was Women’s Singles with Martina Hingis versus Anna-Lena Groenefeld.  Automatic, right?  Not this evening.  In one of the biggest shockers of the season, Martina lost Women’s Singles by a score of 5-2.  That put the Sportimes up by a score of 9-7.

Next up was Mixed Doubles with Martina Hingis and Rajeev Ram versus Robert Kendrick and Kveta Peschke.  Martina’s game wasn’t the typical Martina Hingis game tonight and the Kastles fell 5-4 in a Mixed Doubles Tiebreak.  At intermission, the Sportimes were up 14-11.

After intermission Martina Hingis and Anastasia Rodionova took the court to play Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Kveta Peschke in Women’s Doubles.  Martina and Anastasia took Women’s Doubles in a Tiebreak to bring the overall score to 18-16.

Bobby Reynolds and Rajeev Ram took the court to play Men’s Doubles against Jesse Witten and Robert Kendrick.  Fortunately the Kastles broke serve once and held serve and ended up winning the Men’s Doubles 5-2 and a match win overall score of 21-20.  Thank goodness the lead was only 2 games for the Sportimes going into the Men’s Doubles event.

The Kastles now have the best record in the WTT at 8-2.  Boston, New York and Philadelpha all have records of 4-6.  The Kastles have 4 matches to go and only need to win one of them to be assured a spot in the playoffs and to be the #1 seed.  But Kastles fans are greedy – we want the Kastles to win the remaining matches of the season and end up 12-2.

The last 4 matches for the Kastles are at Boston on July 21, Philadelphia at home on July 22, at New York (Randall’s Island) on July 23 and Boston at home on July 24.

It is still mind boggling to me that the other three teams in the Eastern Conference are 4-6.  It makes 34 match wins in a row even more impressive.

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Kastles Get Revenge – Defeat Texas Wild 23-16

Well, we got revenge on the Texas Wild, the team that ended the 34 match winning streak.

The Kastles took Mixed Doubles 5-3 teaming Rajeev Ram and Martina Hingis.  Leander Paes is out with an injury and Rajeev stepped in to substitute.  Next up was Martina Hingis in Women’s Singles and Martina continued her winning ways by taking the event with a 5-1 effort.  Bobby Reynolds then took the court and took out Alex Bogomolov Jr. by a score of 5-3.

After the intermission, Martina Hingis and Anastasia Rodionova took Women’s Doubles in a tiebreak, 5-4.  The final set was Rajeev Ram and Bobby Reynolds taking on the Bryan Brothers in Men’s Doubles.  Even though the Bryan Brothers took Men’s Doubles 5-2 forcing overtime, the Kastles won the first game of overtime 4-1 ad took the match.

The Kastles are now 7-2 and lead the Eastern Conference.  The Sportimes are in second place with a record of 4-5, the Boston Lobsters in third place with a record of 4-6 and the Philadelphia Freedoms are in last place with a record of 3-6.

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Kastles on a Roll – Take out Springfield Lasers 21-15

Well, the Kastles just keep rolling on.  Leander, Bobby, Martina and Anastasia took out the Springfield Lasers in a revenge match by the score of 21-15 and claimed the best record in the WTT at 6-2.

The evening started in spectacular fashion with “Birthday Boy” Bobby Reynolds take Men’s Singles over Rik De Voest by a score of 5-1.  Then Martina Hingis took the court in Women’s Singles and took that event with an impressive 5-2 performance.

In uncharacteristic fashion, Bobby and Leander took the court in Men’s Doubles against Rik De Voest and Jean-Julien Rojer and were bested by a score of 5-3.  That made it 13-8 at halftime.

The halftime was special this evening.  Christopher Clouser, Chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame honored Martina Hingis after her induction last weekend.  The Kastles also donated several items from their 34 match winning streak to the Hall of Fame and it also included one of the “34” commemorative jerseys autographed by the entire team.

Then play resumed and Martina Hingis and Anastasia Rodionova took the court in Women’s Doubles against Vania King and Alisa Kleybanova of the Lasers.  The Lasers won the event by a score of 5-3 making the overall score 16-13 with one event remaining.

Martina Hingis and Leander Paes took the court against Jean-Julien Rojer and Alisa Kleybanova.  Fortunately the Kastles took the final event 5-2 to win the match with an overall score of 21-15.

The Kastles improve to 6-2 and have the best record in the WTT.  Next up are the Texas Wild with the Bryan Brothers in Dallas on Friday night and then the New York Sportimes return to Kastles Stadium at The Wharf on Saturday.

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