The Washington Kastles claimed their fourth consecutive World Team Tennis (WTT) Eastern Conference Championship on Thursday, defeating the Philadelphia Freedoms 21-16. Washington now seeks a record-tying fourth straight King Trophy and travels to the winner of the WTT Western Conference Championship between the San Diego Aviators and Springfield Lasers for Sunday’s WTT Finals. Coming into the clash, the Kastles and Freedoms had split their season series 2-2, with the Freedoms prevailing just 24 hours ago in Philadelphia after saving six match points.
The match-up lived up to its billing until an unfortunate incident changed the course of the encounter. Bobby Reynolds led off for the Kastles in the men’s singles, winning the first 10 points before Frank Dancevic dug in for the Freedoms. It was a fierce battle, but Reynolds drew on his home fans to push ahead for a 5-3 win.
In the women’s singles, Martina Hingis looked to continue her dominance over Taylor Townsend, having won all three of their meetings during the regular season by a combined 15-3 margin. Townsend had other ideas, executing an aggressive game plan to secure a 5-2 victory and move the Freedoms ahead 8-7. Hingis remained on the court to play mixed doubles with Leander Paes.
The two were eager to wipe away the disappointment of blowing a five-game lead and six match points a night earlier and it showed, as they came out firing against Liezel Huber and Marcelo Melo. Hingis and Paes broke Huber’s serve and closed out a 5-2 win to give the Kastles a 12-10 lead at half-time. Huber and Townsend hoped to keep the Freedoms close in women’s doubles versus Hingis and Anastasia Rodionova.
In the first game, Huber was struck in the back of the head by a Townsend forehand. The Freedoms would win the game, but a few points later, Huber was unable to continue. Townsend continued to play one-on-two and held a game point on her serve, but Hingis and Rodionova finished off a 5-1 win.
Dancevic and Melo gave the Freedoms a glimmer of hope by defeating Reynolds and Paes 5-3 in men’s doubles to force Overtime. Reynolds, who announced he was retiring from professional tennis after the WTT season, fittingly sealed the victory for Washington. The WTT Finals are scheduled for Sunday, July 27 at 5:00pm ET on the home court of the Western Conference champion.