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Jul 5th, 2005, 02:55 PM
Lasers doused in WTT opener
Five-time league champion Sacramento wins key points in close games to pull away.
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The Lasers' Rick Leach feathers a touch volley over the net Monday during his doubles match.
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Kaysie Smashey, making her Springfield Lasers debut, unleashes a forehand return during the mixed doubles match against the Sacramento Capitals. Smashey and Rick Leach lost 5-1 to Sacramento's team of Mark Knowles and Elena Likhovtseva.
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Kelly McCain of the Lasers cuts loose on a service return Monday night during her women's doubles match with Kaysie Smashey at Cooper Tennis Complex.
Joe Cress (jcress@news-leader.com)
Welcome to World TeamTennis.

If the intricacies of the league's format or the crazy travel schedule don't get you, the Sacramento Capitals usually will.

The Springfield Lasers opened their 10th WTT season Monday night on a frustrating note, falling 25-12 to the five-time league- champion Capitals in front of a paid attendance of 1,200 at the Cooper Tennis Complex.

Sacramento, which boasts the No. 5 men's doubles player (Mark Knowles) and No. 16 women's singles player (Elena Likhovtseva) in the world, never trailed. The Capitals cruised to relatively easy wins in mixed and women's doubles and never looked back.

The score may have been deceptively one-sided, though, as Sacramento won 12 of 15 crucial game points — 3-all points that give the game to the point winner.

"If we had been able to get some more of those (3-all) points, it really could have made it closer," said new Laser Rik De Voest, who picked up the only Springfield win of the night with a 5-4 (5-1) victory over Sam Warburg in men's singles. "We play them again (Wednesday), so we'll see what happens."

Knowles and Likhovtseva took advantage of three 3-all wins to defeat Springfield's Rick Leach and Kaysie Smashey 5-1 in the opening mixed doubles match.

Likhovtseva and Ruxandra Dragomir Ilie defeated Smashey and Kelly McCain 5-2 in women's doubles, but the Lasers rallied in men's doubles, as Leach and De Voest took Knowles and Warburg to the final point, falling 5-4 (5-4 tiebreak).

In women's singles, McCain was no match for Likhovtseva, who played in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon last week, falling 5-0.

In the final set, De Voest and Warburg held serve through 4-4, but De Voest outlasted the former NCAA doubles champion from Stanford in the tiebreaker. WTT rules say a match cannot end if the team that trails wins the final set, forcing overtime. Needing just one game to end OT, Warburg won on serve to close the match.

With an all-new Lasers team that includes two rookies, the introduction to WTT was an eye-opener.

"It was a learning experience," Smashey said. "There were a lot of unkowns before the match, and it took me a little time to get into it. But now we know what to expect, and we'll be ready next time."

That next time comes tonight, when the Lasers face the defending league champion Newport Beach Breakers in Newport Beach, Calif.

"The schedule is tough, but it's fun to be out here playing," Leach said. "But we want to be competitive. ... I think the match was closer than the score showed tonight. We're better than that."

The Lasers face the Houston Wranglers at 7:05 p.m. Friday at Cooper.

<LI>Who's that guy? De Voest's purple Lasers uniform sported the name "Devorst" on its back. Instead of being upset, the easy-going De Voest saw it as a chance to change history.

"I'm undefeated, I guess," said De Voest, who won in singles and lost in doubles. "The other guy lost."

De Voest said Lasers officials assured him he'd have a new uniform in time for Friday's match.

Sacramento 25, Springfield 12 (OT)

Mixed doubles — Mark Knowles-Elena Likhovtseva (Sacramento) def. Rick Leach-Kaysie Smashey, 5-1; Women's doubles — Likhovtseva-Ruxandra Dragomir Ilie (Sacramento) def. Smashey-Kelly McCain, 5-2; Men's doubles — Knowles-Sam Warburg (Sacramento) def. Leach-Rik De Voest, 5-4 (5-4); Women's singles — Likhovtseva (Sacramento) def. McCain, 5-0; Men's singles — De Voest (Springfield) def. Warburg, 5-4 (5-1). Overtime — Sacramento 1, Springfield 0

Jul 5th, 2005, 02:56 PM
Martina Hingis Talks About Upcoming 2005 WTT Season http://westchester.com/images/M_images/pdf_button.png (http://javascript<b></b>:void%20window.open('http://westchester.com/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=5413', 'win2', 'status=no,toolbar=no,scrollbars=yes,titlebar=no,m enubar=no,resizable=yes,width=640,height=480,direc tories=no,location=no');)http://westchester.com/images/M_images/printButton.png (http://javascript<b></b>:void%20window.open('http://westchester.com/index2.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5413&Itemid=74&pop=1&page=0', 'win2', 'status=no,toolbar=no,scrollbars=yes,titlebar=no,m enubar=no,resizable=yes,width=640,height=480,direc tories=no,location=no');)http://westchester.com/images/M_images/emailButton.png (http://javascript<b></b>:void%20window.open('http://westchester.com/index2.php?option=com_content&task=emailform&id=5413', 'win2', 'status=no,toolbar=no,scrollbars=yes,titlebar=no,m enubar=no,resizable=yes,width=400,height=250,direc tories=no,location=no');)Westchester.com Saturday, 02 July 2005 http://westchester.com/images/stories/tennis.jpgNew York (http://westchester.com/#), NY - Former world #1 Martina Hingis, winner of five Grand Slam singles titles and nine Grand Slam doubles titles, talked about her inaugural season in the 2005 World TeamTennis (WTT) Pro League presented by Advanta, July 4-24, as she joins the New York Sportimes in the Eastern Conference.

Her first-ever WTT match will be at Cabrini College in Radnor, Pa., on Tues., July 5, as her NY Sportimes take on the Philadelphia Freedoms.

Next, in her only home match of the season, she travels (http://westchester.com/#) to the friendly confines of Sportime Stadium at Harbor Island in Mamaroneck, N.Y. , to host the FoxForce of Hartford on Wed., July 6.

It’s the battle of the Martinas when Hingis travels to the campus of Harvard to face Martina Navratilova and her Boston (http://westchester.com/#) Lobsters at Bright Arena in Cambridge, Mass., on Thurs., July 7. Hingis will be in St. Louis on Sat., July 9, as the Sportimes visit the Dwight Davis Tennis Center to take on the Aces. Next she travels to MVP Tennis Stadium in Central Park, Schenectady, N.Y. , on Mon., July 11, to play the N.Y. Buzz. Her final match will be at the Westside Tennis Club in Houston against the Wranglers on Sat., July 16. For tickets: N.Y. Sportimes - (914) 777-5050 or www.ticketweb.com (http://www.ticketweb.com/)

- On how preparing for World TeamTennis compares to her training when she was on tour: “Well now it lasts like two weeks, it used to last a whole year. I’m trying to give myself the best possible chance to do well in World TeamTennis, this is my first appearance and I don’t want to disappoint my team…That’s why I hope I do well in my matches."

- On what it means for her to play Martina Navratilova: “Well we’ve never played an official match before, well doubles, but that is different. She had retired the year I had started my professional career (http://westchester.com/#). It will be interesting, I’m looking forward to it.”

- On her thoughts about instant replay in WTT: “As a coach you need to be very decisive on what you want to call and what not to call. I think it is used in other sports so why not in tennis? There can be a lot of bad calls sometimes and the replay may change some of the matches. When it’s a crucial point we should do that…we’ll only find out how it works once we test it so I’m looking forward to it. There’s going to be a lot more screaming and yelling I believe.”

- On what she expects out of this World TeamTennis season: “My goal was to play more . . . and this was a great opportunity to play some more matches and to play for a great team of New York.”

- On the WTT format being suited more to her personality: “It could be, we’ll still have to see…you still have to keep your focus with the crowd noises. That will be the hardest task, but I’ve always done well in team competition. That’s something I’m looking forward to and I hope that it will be at least similar to other experiences I’ve had. Really the team spirit, that’s what is important to me.”

- On watching Wimbledon and who she likes there: “Well they just started playing right now Venus against Maria Sharapova so I’m going to go back and watch them finish…I really admire Lindsay (Davenport) and Venus has done better lately, it’s great to see her in the semis…I don’t know what the out-come will be, it will be interesting to see.”

- On being ranked #1 in both singles and doubles and if we’ll see another player accomplish that: “Someone would have to be really dedicated to the sport and really wanting to spend a lot of time on the tennis court…Probably more on the women’s side I could probably see that happening but on the men’s that’s very rare that the guys’ would play singles and doubles.”

- On what advice she would give to rising stars: “The younger you are the more time you have to play tennis…starting at 16 is when you can learn the most so if she loses a few matches she learns what she needs to work on to get better…keep your head up and follow your track.”

Jul 5th, 2005, 02:59 PM
1,200 people paid money to see Elena L :eek:

Jul 5th, 2005, 05:52 PM
Sam Warburg? :shrug:

Go Mark Knowles :rocker2: