In World TeamTennis action in West Virginia, Kim Clijsters is playing for the New York Empires and, on Wednesday, the Belgian returned to brilliant form as she got past Sofia Kenin and helped her team hand the Philadelphia Freedoms their first loss of the season.
We watched the Freedoms play the past couple of days and realised how good they were. We knew we would be in for a tough battle and we would need to take a step upward. Kim Clijsters
New York won all 5 sets on a hot afternoon, the first 2 coming in tiebreaks, to come through, 25-17.
“We watched the Freedoms play the past couple of days and realised how good they were,” said Clijsters, who registered wins in singles and mixed doubles with Britain’s Neal Skupski.
“We knew we would be in for a tough battle and we would need to take a step upward.”
The afternoon started with mixed doubles and Freedoms’ Fabrice Martin & Taylor Townsend winning their first 2 service games without dropping a point to take a 2-1 lead.
Skupski & Clijsters showed their prowess as they held serve too, and the set needed to decided in the tiebreak, which was level-pegging to 3-3 before Clijsters came up with 2 big serves to hold and closed the set out.
The Freedoms bounced back in the women’s doubles set as Townsend & Caroline Dolehide kept things even against Sabine Lisicki & Kveta Peschke, and after Dolehide held serve to give Philadelphia a 4-3 lead in the set, it looked to be in the bag.
Peschke, however, held on for 4-4 to force a second tiebreak of the day in which each player held serve.
When Peschke held all 3 of her serves to give her team the come-from-behind 5-4 win of the set, it gave New York a 10-8 overall lead.
With the men’s doubles match evenly balanced at 2-2 following a Skupski hold, New York was able to gain some breathing room by breaking Martin’s serve to push the overall lead to 13-10.
New York would go on to win the set 5-3 and take extend that lead to 15-11 into half-time.
Following the break, a trip down memory lane was taken by the participants in the woman’s singles match with Clijsters taking on Sofia Kenin, the kid she famously chaperoned for the day at the Miami Open 15 years ago.
In a match between two Australian Open champions, it was the veteran who prevailed winning 5-3 and pushing the Empire lead to 20-14.
“Sofia was this cute, adorable girl who was intrigued by the game of tennis,” said Clijsters. “She was entertained and a star in the making. It was great to be able to pass that experience on.
“I’ve really enjoyed watching her, win the Australian Open but already before that.
“Just seeing her grow into being a Grand Slam Champion has been nice to see. She’s so young and has so much more to gain.”
Kenin added: “Unfortunately, I didn’t get the win, but she obviously played well.
“I’m really happy to see her back on the court healthy and playing well. I’m truly happy that she came back.
“It shows that it doesn’t matter what age you’re at, you always can come back and do what you do best.
She’s in great shape and playing really well.”
Facing a 6-game deficit when he took in the final discipline of men’s singles, Philadelphia’s Taylor Fritz knew he was in for a battle against Jack Sock.
With Fritz leading 3-2, Sock would go on to win the final 3 games to earn the 5-3 win and close out the New York victory.
Chicago Smash 23, Orange County Breakers 16
- Men’s Doubles – Luke Bambridge/Steve Johnson (Breakers) def. Brandon Nakashima/Rajeev Ram (Smash), 5-3
- Men’s Singles – Nakashima (Smash) def. Johnson (Breakers), 5-4
- Mixed Doubles – Ram/Bethanie Mattek-Sands (Smash) def. Gaby Dabrowski/Austin Krajicek (Breakers), 5-3
- Women’s Singles – Sloane Stephens (Smash) def. Jennifer Brady (Breakers), 5-2
- Women’s Doubles – Genie Bouchard/Mattek-Sands (Smash) def. Brady/Dabrowski (Breakers), 5-2
New York Empire 25, Philadelphia Freedoms 17
- Mixed Doubles – Neal Skupski/Kim Clijsters (Empire) def. Fabrice Martin/Taylor Townsend (Freedoms), 5-4
- Women’s Doubles – Sabine Lisicki/Kveta Peschke (Empire) def. Townsend/Caroline Dolehide (Freedoms), 5-4
- Men’s Doubles – Skupski/Jack Sock (Empire) def. Martin/Donald Young (Freedoms), 5-3
- Women’s Singles – Clijsters (Empire) def. Sofia Kenin (Freedoms), 5-3
- Men’s Singles – Sock (Empire) def. Taylor Fritz (Freedoms), 5-3
Washington Kastles 21, San Diego Aviators 19
- Men’s Singles – Ryan Harrison (Aviators) def. Tommy Paul (Kastles), 5-4
- Women’s Doubles – Coco Vandeweghe/Nicole Melichar (Aviators) def. Bernarda Pera/Arina Rodionova (Kastles), 5-3
- Men’s Doubles – Harrison/Jonny O’Mara (Aviators) def. Nick Monroe/Marcelo Arevalo (Kastles), 5-4
- Women’s Singles – Pera (Kastles) def. Christina McHale (Aviators), 5-3
- Mixed Doubles – Arevalo/Rodionova (Kastles) def. O’Mara/Melichar (Aviators), 5-1
Philadelphia Freedoms 24, Springfield Lasers 12
- Mixed Doubles – Fabrice Martin/Taylor Townsend (Freedoms) def. Robert Lindstedt/Caty McNally (Lasers) 5-0
- Women’s Doubles – Caroline Dolehide/Townsend (Freedoms) def. Hayley Carter/McNally (Lasers) 5-4
- Men’s Doubles – Jean-Julien Rojer/Lindstedt (Lasers) def. Martin/Donald Young (Freedoms) 5-4
- Women’s Singles – Sofia Kenin (Freedoms) def. McNally (Lasers) 5-1
- Men’s Singles – Taylor Fritz (Freedoms) def. Mitchell Krueger (Lasers) 5-2
Orlando Storm 21, Chicago Smash 16
- Men’s Singles – Tennys Sandgren (Storm) def. Brandon Nakashima (Smash) 5-4
- Women’s Singles – Danielle Collins (Storm) def. Sloane Stephens (Smash) 5-0
- Mixed Doubles – Ken Skupski/Jessica Pegula (Storm) vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Rajeev Ram (Smash) 5-3
- Women’s Doubles – Mattek-Sands/Genie Bouchard (Smash) def. Darija Jurak/Pegula (Storm) 5-1
- Men’s Doubles – Sandgren/Skupski (Storm) vs. Ram/Nakashima (Smash) 5-4
Vegas Rollers 23, San Diego Aviators 21 (EP)
- Men’s Singles – Sam Querrey (Rollers) def. Ryan Harrison (Aviators) 5-1
- Women’s Singles – Monica Puig (Rollers) def. Christina McHale (Aviators) 5-4
- Mixed Doubles – Jonny O’Mara/Nicole Melichar (Aviators) def. Asia Muhammad/Bob Bryan (Rollers) 5-4
- Women’s Doubles – Coco Vandeweghe/Melichar (Aviators) def. Muhammad/Kristie Ahn (Rollers) 5-4
- Men’s Doubles – O’Mara/Harrison (Aviators) def. B. Bryan/Mike Bryan (Rollers) 5-4
- EP: Men’s Doubles – B. Bryan/M. Bryan (Rollers) tied O’Mara/Harrison (Aviators) 1-1
[EP – Extended Play]
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