Venus Williams leads Washington Kastles to World TeamTennis title
CHARLESTON, S.C. (September 16, 2012) – Venus Williams led the Washington Kastles to their second consecutive World TeamTennis title today with a 20-19 victory over the Sacramento Capitals at the Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, S.C. Williams was also named the Finals MVP, winning her sets in women's doubles, mixed doubles and the decisive final set of women's singles.
The win gives the Kastles 32 consecutive match wins, the second longest streak in U.S. pro sports history. The top mark is 33, held by the NBA's 1971-72 Lakers.
With the overall score tied at 15-15 heading into the final set, Williams edged Coco Vandeweghe 5-4 in women's singles to give the Kastles their third title in the past four seasons. Although Williams was part of championship teams in Philadelphia and Washington, this was the first time she had played in the championship match. She credited her Kastles teammates for giving her the edge in a tight final set. "I had to come out on fire today," said Williams. "Knowing I had to play for my team was motivating."
"Coco played her heart out," said Sacramento coach Wayne Bryan. " I'm very proud of our team and congratulations to the Kastles."
Sacramento led early when Kevin Anderson defeated Bobby Reynolds in the opening set, winning men's singles 5-3. Anderson served up three aces and won 79 percent of his first serve points compared to 61 percent for Reynolds.
Washington broke Asia Muhammad's serve twice in women's doubles and closed out the set on Venus Williams' serve, 5-1.
Men's doubles was highlighted by brilliant shot-making by the Kastles' Leander Paes but it was the Caps that broke Paes serve for a 2-1 lead. Anderson pushed the lead to 4-2 on his serve and broke Paes serve for a second time to take the set 5-2 and lead 11-10 at halftime.
Coach Wayne Bryan started Anderson in mixed doubles to take advantage of his big serve and the strategy worked as Sacramento won the first game and broke Paes serve to lead 2-0. Washington broke back against Coco Vandeweghe's serve then Williams held to tie the set at 2-2. After a seesaw battle that evened the score at 4-all, Washington pulled out the set win in a 9-point tiebreak, 5-4 (1).