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Capitals defeat Lasers 23-17 to capture WTT Western Conference Title

Capitals advance to World TeamTennis Final on Sunday

Roseville, Calif. – (July 27, 2007) -- Minutes before tonight’s Western Conference Championship match, Mark Knowles of the Sacramento Capitals was announced as the WTT Male MVP of the Year. The WTT veteran lived up to the title by leading his Sacramento Capitals to a 23-17 victory over the Springfield Lasers in front of 3,287 fans at the Caps’ home stadium in Roseville, Calif.

With the win, the Caps advance to Sunday’s WTT Finals where they will face off against the winner of the New York Buzz-Philadelphia Freedoms Eastern Conference Championship match on Saturday evening at Allstate Stadium at the Westfield Galleria at Roseville. The Caps are making a record 17th playoff appearance and will have the opportunity to win a record sixth WTT Championship on Sunday. playoff appearance and will have the opportunity to win a record sixth WTT Championship on Sunday.

“Playing at home was great, especially against the best team in the League,” said Knowles. “We had a great crowd and they really pushed us through it. Men’s doubles got us off to a good start and Sam backed it up in men’s singles. It was a great night for the Caps.”

Springfield faced off against the strength of the Capitals’ lineup in the opening set, taking on one of the League’s top doubles teams in Mark Knowles and Sam Warburg. Back-to-back aces from Warburg put the Caps up 4-2 before a lob winner by Knowles closed out the first set 5-2.

An energized Warburg was too strong in men’s singles, outgunning Martin Verkerk 5-3. Knowles continued the winning streak in mixed doubles teaming with Elena Likhovtseva for a 5-3 victory over Glenn Weiner and Andreea Vanc.

Trailing 15-8 at halftime, Springfield went to the heart of their lineup for two matches with two of the strongest women in the League – Tamarine Tanasugarn and Andreea Vanc. Tanasugarn, who was named WTT Female MVP prior to the match, started strong by breaking Likhovtseva’s serve in the first game. Likhovtseva rallied to jump out to an early 2-1 lead before Tanasugarn broke back to go up 3-2. The seesaw battle continued until Tanasugarn broke Likhovtseva’s serve to go up 4-3 and close out the set 5-3 for the Lasers only win of the night.

Down by five points going into the final set, the Lasers fielded the top doubles team in the League but it was Sacramento that broke serve in the first game. The 14-year-old Michelle Larcher de Brito of Sacramento may be the youngest player in WTT history, but she showed poise during the women’s doubles set to get out to a 2-0 lead. Tanasugarn and Vanc rallied to a 3-2 lead before the momentum swung back to the Caps. Two volley winners from Likhovtseva in the tiebreaker propelled the Caps to a 5-4 victory and the Western Conference title.

Action continues at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday when the defending champion Philadelphia Freedoms and the New York Buzz face off for the Eastern Conference Championship. The winner plays the Capitals at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday evening for the WTT title and the King Trophy.

Final Results:

Western Conference Championship: Sacramento Capitals def. Springfield Lasers 23-17

Men's Doubles - Mark Knowles\Sam Warburg (Capitals) def. Martin Verkerk\Glenn Weiner (Lasers) 5-2

Men's Singles - Sam Warburg (Capitals) def. Martin Verkerk (Lasers) 5-3

Mixed Doubles - Elena Likhovtseva\Mark Knowles (Capitals) def. Andreea Vanc\Glenn Weiner (Lasers) 5-3

Women's Singles - Tamarine Tanasugarn (Lasers) def. Elena Likhovtseva (Capitals) 5-3

Women's Doubles - Michelle Larcher de Brito\Elena Likhovtseva (Capitals) def. Tamarine Tanasugarn\Andreea Vanc (Lasers) 5-4

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