After 34-match win streak, Washington Kastles drop second straight

Denied the chance to snap the Washington Kastles’ record 34-match winning streak following the team’s defeat Wednesday in Dallas, former world No. 1 Andy Roddick handed the squad its first loss at Kastles Stadium on the Wharf.

Competing for the Springfield Lasers, the 30-year-old Roddick, who retired at last year’s U.S. Open, lost his singles set, cheered his teammates through their rally and paired with Jean Julien-Rojer to clinch the 22-15 victory by winning the men’s doubles finale.

The Kastles (2-2) had scored many of their key victories over the years with a former No. 1 player in the lineup, whether Serena Williams, Venus Williams or Martina Hingis. But they didn’t have the services of such a star in Dallas, where their winning streak ended with a loss to the Texas Wild, 23-18.

Thursday in Washington, Roddick was the lone former world No. 1 on court.

The 6-foot-2 Roddick leaned heavily on his booming serve throughout his career. But 10 months into retirement, his serve wasn’t as potent as that of the Kastles’ Kevin Anderson of South Africa. The 6-8 Anderson, currently ranked No. 22, opened the men’s singles set with an ace, broke Roddick on a double-fault in the sixth game and won the set, 5-2.

Roddick hinted before the match that his serve was a bit of a question. He had played just three times since retiring, then started hitting only recently to prepare for the WTT season.

After claiming the opening set, the Kastles lost the next three. Anastasia Rodionova was broken early and fell to the Lasers’ Vania King, 3-5, in women’s singles.

Substituting Anderson for team captain Leander Paes in the opening game of mixed doubles, the Kastles led early but lost that set, 5-3, after Paes took over, paired with Rodionova.

The Kastles trailed 11-12 heading into women’s doubles.

When the Lasers broke on a controversial call to open the set, triggering jeers from the crowd, Roddick jumped up and told teammates King and Alisa Kleybanova: “You know what the best sound in the world is? Boos at an away match!”

The Lasers’ routed the Kastles in women’s doubles, 5-0, to extend their lead, 17-11, heading into the final set, which brought Roddick back to the court for men’s doubles.

Liz Clarke currently covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. She has also covered seven Olympic Games, two World Cups and written extensively about college sports, tennis and auto racing.

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