Mike and Bob Bryan stole the show Thursday night at Smith Center, helping the Washington Kastles hold off the reigning World Team Tennis champion San Diego Aviators, 23-16, to win their third straight WTT match.
The Bryan brothers, 16-time doubles Grand Slam champions, sealed the Kastles’ win with a 5-2 victory over Ryan Harrison and Raven Klaasen. It was the Bryans’ only appearance for Washington this summer in their second season with the Kastles.
Last season, the Aviators snapped the Kastles’ streak of six straight WTT titles, and emotions were running high Thursday; the teams jawed at each other during matches.
“It gets you fired up right away,” Bob Bryan said. “After Wimbledon can be a letdown, you go back to your home and chill, and this kicks your [butt] right back into gear.”
In their 15th WTT season, the Bryans said they are hoping to carry their momentum into next month’s U.S. Open.
“The U.S. Open is very loud and vocal, and I feel like WTT is closest to that atmosphere,” Bob Bryan said. “Those night matches in New York, you have people talking and drinking, and they pick a player they like, and they carry him, and you can feel it in a house like this.”
The crowd was clearly involved in Foggy Bottom, backing hometown favorite Frances Tiafoe as he dueled Harrison in men’s singles. Tiafoe fell in a nine-point tiebreaker, putting the Kastles in an early 5-4 deficit.
The women’s doubles also was decided by a tiebreaker, with Washington’s Madison Brengle and Anastasia Rodionova falling to Darija Jurak and Shelby Rogers, 5-4. Washington was able to regroup in mixed doubles as Mike Bryan and Rodionova defeated Jurak and Klaasen, 5-2.
Brengle gave the home team some room with a 5-2 win over Rogers in women’s singles before the Bryan brothers capped off the night.