Sacramento Capitals Capture WTT Championship With 24-20 Win Over New York Buzz
ROSEVILLE, Calif. (July 29, 2007) – The Sacramento Capitals defeated the New York Buzz 24-20 in overtime to win a record sixth World TeamTennis Championship in Roseville, Calif. The Caps last won the WTT title in 2002. This was New York’s third appearance in the WTT Championship match, only to lose to Sacramento each time.
After opening the 2007 season with two losses, the Caps won 11 of their final 12 matches to advance to the WTT Championship on their home court in Roseville. Home court was an advantage for the Caps with boisterous support from most of the 4,112 fans who packed the stands for the finals and brought their air horns, Caps signs and cow bells. The festive atmosphere even included a pre-match photo with an Elvis impersonator and WTT co-founder Billie Jean King. Competitive tennis took center stage once the teams took the court.
“The crowd was unbelievable,” said Sam Warburg. “Playing at home really helped us, the support was great.” With confetti filling the court during the post-match celebration, Mark Knowles thanked the crowd for being the team’s “sixth man”. Warburg closed out the celebration by drenching Caps coach Wayne Bryan with a Gatorade cooler.
The Capitals started the night in mixed doubles much the same way they started the season – slowly. The Buzz broke Elena Likhovtseva’s serve to go up 2-1 in the opening set, but the Capitals returned the favor in the next game when they broke Greta Arn’s serve to get even at 2-2. New York then broke Mark Knowles’ serve to go up 3-2. A few games later, Arn double-faulted to bring the score even at 4-4 and take the teams to a tiebreaker. Arn’s serving problems continued as she double faulted at 4-4 in the tiebreaker to give the Caps a narrow 5-4 win in mixed doubles.
Likhovtseva kept the momentum in the Caps’ court in women’s singles. The 8-year Caps veteran aced Arn then followed up with a backhand winner on game point to go up 3-2. Likhovtseva closed out the set 5-3. “Today was my best match so far,” said Likhovtseva. “I wasn’t nervous and I had great support from my teammates and the crowd. It was a great night.”
Rik de Voest carried the Buzz into the WTT Finals with his singles performance in the Eastern Conference Championship match on Saturday, but it was the big-serving Sam Warburg who stole the show in men’s singles during the Finals. Warburg hit two aces and connected on 81% of his first serves to overpower De Voest 5-4 (1). “I knew playing Rik would be a tough challenge but I was focused on my game plan and it worked,” said Warburg.
Michelle Larcher de Brito and Likhovtseva won the opening game of women’s doubles. New York’s woes continued with miscommunication between Arn and Navratilova as Larcher de Brito’s shot dropped untouched between the two to give Sacramento a quick 2-0 lead. Larcher de Brito, the youngest player in WTT history at 14 years, six months, encouraged the crowd to make more noise as she tried to serve out the set. It wasn’t enough as the Buzz broke Larcher de Brito’s serve to send the set into a tiebreaker. Likhovtseva closed out the tiebreaker 5-0 with a volley winner to give Sacramento a 5-4 win and a 20-15 lead going into the final set of the 2007 WTT season.
The League’s top two men’s doubles teams faced off in the fifth set and the action lived up to their billing. The teams traded service breaks in the first two games before 2007 League MVP Knowles held serve to put the Caps up 2-1. De Voest and Ashley Fisher posted a 5-3 win to send the match into overtime. The Caps rebounded quickly as Warburg held serve in the first game of overtime to give the Caps their sixth WTT title.
De Voest’s performance throughout the WTT Championship Weekend earned him WTT Finals MVP honors. De Voest posted a .593 winning percentage for his two matches.
World TeamTennis Finals: SACRAMENTO CAPITALS def. New York Buzz 24-20 (OT)
Mixed Doubles - Mark Knowles\Elena Likhovtseva (Capitals) def. Greta Arn\Rik de Voest (Buzz) 5-4
Women’s Singles - Elena Likhovtseva (Capitals) def. Greta Arn (Buzz) 5-3
Men’s Singles - Sam Warburg (Capitals) def. Rik de Voest (Buzz) 5-4
Women’s Doubles - Elena Likhovtseva\Michelle Larcher de Brito (Capitals) def. Greta Arn\Gabriela Navratilova (Buzz) 5-4
Men’s Doubles - Rik de Voest\Ashley Fisher (Buzz) def. Mark Knowles\Sam Warburg (Capitals) 5-3
Overtime - Men’s Doubles - Mark Knowles\Sam Warburg (Capitals) def. Rik de Voest\Ashley Fisher (Buzz) 1-0
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