His face dripping with sweat, Bobby Reynolds compared his playing style to a boxer as he described how he helped the short-handed Washington Kastles keep their World Team Tennis winning streak alive with a 21-16 win over the visiting Philadelphia Freedoms on Tuesday night.
Reynolds’s 5-0 men’s singles win wasn’t as easy as the score indicated, he said. He won a few break points and felt his serve was the difference.
The Kastles entered the night’s final match tied at 16 before Reynolds sealed their 27th consecutive win.
Always an agile player, Reynolds kept his opponent, Luka Gregorc, off balance as he powered from side to side and stretched the court. Reynolds controlled the pace, luring Gregorc into long volleys until Gregorc’s tired returns would hit the net.
“That’s what I rely on,” Reynolds said. “. . . I rely on my serve and making them play balls over, over and over again. Kind of like the counterpuncher back there.”
In order to finish undefeated in consecutive seasons, the Kastles (11-0) will need to win three straight games on the road before traveling in September to Charleston, S.C., for the World Team Tennis finals.
The Kastles played on Tuesday without three-fourths of their usual four-player rotation. Doubles player Arina Rodionova was sidelined with a wrist injury while Leander Paes and Anastasia Rodionova are in London preparing for the Summer Olympics.
Reynolds said Paes, who will compete for India at the Summer Games, was texting during the match with team owner Mark Ein as he watched the match over the Internet.
“He’s just as excited over there as he would’ve been here,” Reynolds said. “It’s tough that we lost him, but it’s an unbelievable accomplishment to make six Olympics.”
Edina Gallovits-Hall, playing in just her third game, rallied at women’s singles for a 5-3 win over Kristyna Pliskova. She landed 68 percent of her first serves for 11 points.
In women’s doubles, however Gallovits-Hall and Raquel Hops-Jones fell, 5-2, to Philadelphia’s Karolina and Kristyna Pliskova.
Kops-Jones and Treat Huey made their season debuts for Washington in the night’s opening match with a 5-3 win in mixed doubles over Jordan Kerr and Kristyna Pliskova.
Huey graduated in 2004 from Alexandria’s St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes School, where he was a three-time All-Met Player of the Year. He spent four seasons at the University of Virginia and finished as the Cavaliers’ all-time doubles wins leader.
Later, Huey teamed with Reynolds at men’s doubles as the Kastles fell, 5-4.
“It’s tough coming out here first match,” Reynolds said. “You never played in front of a crowd like this anywhere else.”