Washington Kastles clinch World Team Tennis title and first 16-0 season in history


Left to right (pictured at an event in D.C.): Bobby Reynolds, Arina Rodionova, Leander Paes, owner Mark Ein, Coach Murphy Jensen, Rennae Stubbs and the Kastles are WTT champions. (Rebecca D'Angelo/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)
July 25, 2011

It took more than eight hours from the scheduled start, but the Washington Kastles hung on to win their second King Trophy in three years, beating the St. Louis Aces, 23-19, on Sunday night to become the first team since World Team Tennis was founded in 1974 to finish 16-0.

Held on a neutral court in Charleston, S.C., the Eastern Conference champion Kastles battled intermittent rain that led to three delays and the Aces. The Kastles led 22-15, but the Aces fought off match point several times during Roman Borvanov’s 5-4 men’s singles victory over Washington’s Bobby Reynolds.

The match, which began at 5 p.m., ended when Reynolds hit the winning shot at 1:03 a.m. to end overtime.

Western Conference champion St. Louis (9-7) surged to a 5-3 lead after Jean-Julien Rojer and Liezel Huber got the best of Leander Paes and Rennae Stubbs in mixed doubles, but Washington's women's doubles duo of Stubbs and Arina Rodionova swept Huber and Tamira Paszek in five straight games to give the Kastles an 8-5 advantage.

Rodionova was named Finals MVP.

Paes, the league men’s MVP during the regular season, and Reynolds then teamed in men’s doubles to beat the St. Louis pairing of Rojer and Borvanov, 5-2, to give the Kastles a 13-7 lead at halftime. Rodionova’s narrow 5-4 win over Paszek in women’s singles gave Washington an 18-11 advantage.
Washington and WTT Coach of the Year Murphy Jensen advanced to the final with a 23-15 win over the Boston Lobsters on Friday for the Eastern Conference title. The Aces and coach Rick Leach beat the Sacramento Capitals, 20-19, on Saturday to win the West.

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