On the day they visited the White House to celebrate their 2012 World Team Tennis title with President Obama, the Washington Kastles extended their win streak to 34 matches with a 25-12 win over the Boston Lobsters in Southwest.
Billie Jean King, who founded Team Tennis in 1973, was on hand to see the Kastles’ 34th straight win, which made for a symbolic milestone — the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers own the longest winning streak of the four major American pro sports at 33.
“You never think about it like that. You play the first year, you go undefeated. You play the second year, you go undefeated and you think ‘Okay, we’ve still got a whole other year [until approaching 33],’ ” said Bobby Reynolds, who along with captain Leander Paes has been a part of all 34 wins. “It just kind of crept up. . . . I’m glad we finished it up tonight.”
Coincidentally, it was the Lobsters who handed the Kastles their last loss on July 22, 2010.
Kevin Anderson came out firing to start the evening. He blasted aces on three of the first four points and cruised to a 5-2 men’s singles victory over Amir Weintraub.
Anastasia Rodionova and Martina Hingis paired for women’s doubles and dropped a sloppy first game to Boston’s Katalin Morosi and Jill Craybas. But Hingis, once ranked No. 1 in singles and doubles simultaneously, loomed large at the net and allowed Washington to absorb a handful of unforced errors from Rodionova to tie the set at one.
It was Hingis’s big shot from the baseline that broke the Lobsters in the second game, and when she held serve, the Kastles had a 3-1 lead. She later served out the set with an ace for a 5-3 win.
Washington’s mixed doubles pairing was Hingis and Anderson, who was subbed out after serving a first-game win. Paes replaced him, reuniting a partnership wth Hingis that is emerging as a fan favorite. The pair’s chemistry was obvious as they battled through a back-and-forth match for a 5-3 victory.
Kastles Coach Murphy Jensen called on Hingis again for women’s singles, where Jill Craybas gave the five-time Grand Slam singles champion all she could handle early. The two ran the baseline through several long rallies, but Hingis was too much for Craybas, crafting several pinpoint baseline winners on her way to a 5-2 win.
The Kastles led 20-10, their 34th straight win long sealed by the time Paes and Reynolds took the court for men’s doubles. But the Kastles’ veterans made sure the evening ended in style, besting Weintraub and Eric Butorac, 5-2.
“I’ve been really lucky to have a great Olympic and a great Davis Cup career, and this is exactly like that,” Paes said. “I’m here playing for the community of Washington. . . . I’ve been really blessed to be able to do that.”