In what can only be described as a miraculous weekend of tennis, the Washington Kastles pulled off two huge wins against the New York Sportimes and the Springfield Lasers to become the 2009 World TeamTennis Champions. Both matches were no easy feat for the Kastles with the match point coming down to the very end. Just when things could easily go in the other team’s favor, the Kastles stepped up their game and pulled through. Both matches were a blast for Kastles fans and made for some amazing tennis.
On Friday night, Scott Oudsema battled in overtime against New York’s Robert Kendrick and held serve to lock up Washington’s place in the championship match on Sunday. A group of New York fans came down to support the Sportimes which got a little ugly. In true high school fashion, their fans would chant, “New! York!” followed by our fans shouting, “Sucks!” After the Kastles won the match, New York packed up and headed home with their tails between their legs.
Yesterday’s championship finals match was unbelievably even more exciting. Being the final show for the entire league, they pulled out all of the stops. On hand were of course Billie Jean King (founder of World TeamTennis), Teddy the Nationals mascot, and even the GEICO caveman. Where would WTT be without corporate sponsorship right? Between sets the crowd witnessed a marriage proposal for one of the Kastles cheerleaders and a performance of “Let Me Clear My Throat” by DC’s very own DJ Cool. Oh and the tennis? It came down to the very end with a Olga Puchkova’s huge 5-4 upset of the league’s female MVP and #1 ranked Vania King. After Puchkova and Rennae Stubbs lost the previous set of women’s doubles, the crowd was less than optimistic that “Puchy” could snap out of her funk and beat King. In the end it was King who beat herself, hitting many errors in some marathon vollies with Puchkova. “It was amazing, it was awesome,” said Puchkova about the crowd chanting her name. “The win boosted my confidence a lot. Hopefully this year I can build on this experience.” Kastles won, 23-20 and celebration ensued including a Gatorade bath for Puchkova.
Congratulations to owner Mark Ein, coach Murphy Jensen, and to the rest of the team for an amazing season. It was great to witness a team, who started out 0-4, come back to win their very first championship title in only their second year in the league. And on that note, we’ll leave you with some photos from both matches.
Eastern Conference Final
WTT Championship Final