Contact: Toby Zwikel/Damian Secore/Steve Pratt Jessica Roswell
MARIA SHARAPOVA WINS IN WOMEN’S DOUBLES FOR NEWPORT BEACH BREAKERS IN 19-18 SUPERTIEBREAKER WIN OVER KANSAS CITY AT THE TENNIS CLUB NEWPORT BEACH
Breakers Improve to 3-2 at Home; Breakers Win on Last Point of the Match After Doubles Duo of Lester Cook and David Martin Win Last Set of Regulation to Force Supertiebreaker
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., July 20, 2010 – Three-time Grand Slam singles champion, former World No. 1 and 22-time WTA Tour singles champ Maria Sharapova was the headlining act as she returned to play for the Newport Beach Breakers in the World TeamTennis Pro League presented by GEICO for the only time this season at The Tennis Club Newport Beach. However, the Breakers’ last act stole the show.
Marina del Rey resident Lester Cook and Huntington Beach’s David Martin fended off three match points against and rescued a 19-18 supertiebreaker win over the Kansas City Explorers on Tuesday while rallying the team to win on the last point of the match.
Cook and Martin evened the match at 18-18 after regulation and put the Breakers (5-7) into their first supertiebreaker of the season. Kansas City (7-5) lost two match points on two unforced errors by Ricardo Mello to even the tiebreak at 6-6. That meant the winner of the next point would win the match, and the Breakers triumphed when Samuel Groth’s volley went long. In WTT, tiebreakers can be decided by a point.
“We knew what had to be done. Lester and I were hoping all year that we’d have one come down to a supertiebreaker because it’s so exciting and we get along so well,” Martin said. “That was fun. Definitely, a great thing about World TeamTennis is that it can come down to the last point and you don’t see that on the regular tour. It’s nice to beat one of the best teams in the league. We owed them.”
Added Breakers coach Trevor Kronemann: “We’ve been waiting all season for something to come out of men’s doubles. We’ve been ahead in so many matches there. Luckily, we got away with one at the end.”
Sharapova, in her sixth season with the Breakers and a member of the Breakers’ last WTT championship team in 2004, played her first competitive match since she was at Wimbledon a month ago. With her trademark force in her serving and groundstrokes and grunting, she had the attention of the crowd, which included Los Angeles Lakers guard and two-time NBA champion Sasha Vujacic, sitting courtside.
“This is a great part of the year for me, and I love starting off the year coming and playing a match at World TeamTennis to get the summer rolling and the hardcourt season,” said Sharapova, who lives in Manhattan Beach. “It's so close to my house. It's just a drive away. I get to come here, and, you know, have a great warmup before I start playing tournaments. The format is fun. You're part of a team.
“I've had a friendship with (WTT co-founder and Breakers co-owner) Billie Jean King for many years. This is something that she started and something that's so close to her heart. So to be part of this, and also something that I've been part of for many years, you know, to support Billie Jean King, it's always great.”
The Explorers’ husband-wife tandem of Samuel and Jarmila Groth proved to be too powerful for the Breakers to handle for much of the match. The couple opened the match with a 5-3 mixed doubles win. The Groths won all three mixed doubles sets they played against the Breakers this season.
The Breakers rebounded through Sharapova, ranked No. 15 in the world, and Marie-Eve Pelletier to even the match at 8-8 with their 5-3 women’s doubles victory. Then, the Breakers took their first lead of the night at 13-10 as Cook won his third men’s singles set in four meetings against Ricardo Mello by a 5-2 count.
Sharapova then took the court in singles and looked to extend the Breakers’ lead, but Jarmila Groth was powerful and precise in a 5-0 set win. Groth took three of four singles sets against the Breakers this season.
Mixed Doubles – Samuel Groth/Jarmila Groth (KC) def. David Martin/Maria Sharapova (NB), 5-3
Women’s Doubles – Maria Sharapova/Marie-Eve Pelletier (NB) def. Jarmila Groth/Kveta Peschke (KC), 5-3
Men’s Singles – Lester Cook (NB) def. Ricardo Mello (KC), 5-2
Women’s Singles – Jarmila Groth (KC) def. Maria Sharapova (NB), 5-0
Men’s Doubles – David Martin/Lester Cook (NB) def. Samuel Groth/Ricardo Mello (KC), 5-3
Supertiebreaker – David Martin/Lester Cook (NB) def. Samuel Groth/Ricardo Mello (KC), 7-6
Final: Newport Beach Breakers 19, Kansas City Explorers 18
The Breakers continue their season-ending homestand at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday against the Springfield Lasers and at 7:15 p.m. Thursday against the John McEnroe and the New York Sportimes. Wednesday is Junior Charity Night in which several Orange County children’s charities are invited to see the Breakers live.
Tickets for Wednesday’s match can be purchased for a $5 donation to Hoag Hospital at the match or by calling the ticket sales office at 714-352-6301. All tickets will be open general admission seating. Tickets for the Breakers’ season finale on Thursday against New York and team information can be obtained online at www.NewportBeachBreakers.com or by calling 714-352-6301.
Breakers fans can also congregate online and expand the team’s fan base through the team’s official fan pages on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/pages/Newport-Beach-CA/Newport-Beach-Breakers/73887254402?ref=ts) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/nbbreakers). Register to become a fan or follower of the Breakers at each fan page and stay up to date on all team and player information.
About Newport Beach Breakers
The Newport Beach Breakers are one of 10 nationwide teams that make up the World TeamTennis (WTT) Pro League presented by GEICO and are co-owned by WTT founder Billie Jean King. In July 2010, the Breakers will play seven home matches and will be managed by Newport Beach-based Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian. Profits from the team’s operations for the season will go towards Hoag Hospital Foundation, the Breakers’ primary beneficiary. Hoag Hospital's expert involvement with professional sports also extends to its organization of the PGA Champions Tour's Toshiba Classic held annually in March. For tickets, sponsorship and more information, visit www.NewportBeachBreakers.com or call 714/352-6301.
About World TeamTennis (WTT) Pro League
The World Team Tennis (WTT) Pro League presented by GEICO showcases the best in professional team tennis with the innovative coed team format co-founded by Billie Jean King in the 1970s. The WTT Pro League, which celebrates its 35th season in July 2010, is a showcase for three generations of tennis standouts, including legends, current tour players and future champions. Since the League's debut, virtually every major champion of the Open era has played World TeamTennis. WTT is well known for showcasing and introducing innovative elements to tennis including instant replay, coed format, cumulative and no-ad scoring, on-court coaching, Overtime and Supertiebreakers, multi-colored courts and player names on the back of shirts.
Official WTT Pro League sponsors for the 2010 season include Acura, DecoTurf, GEICO, Novo Nordisk, Solfire and Wilson Racquet Sports. The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is a minority owner and promotional partner of World TeamTennis. WTT and the USTA are teaming up on number of initiatives, including development of the youth market through junior team tennis programs.
For more information on the WTT Pro League, visit www.WTT.com.