|Anabel Medina Garrigues, shown earlier this season,|
of the California Dream was named the World Team-
Tennis Co-Female MVP. Photo by Darryl Henick
Travel problems didn't help.
After encountering flight delays and weather issues, California lost to the Austin Aces 25-14 tonight in the Western Conference Championship. The match began almost three hours late at 9:43 p.m. Central time and ended at 12:15 a.m.
Austin, led by Teymuraz Gabashvili and Elina Svitolina, swept the five sets.
Gabashvili received the WTT Male MVP award as a 30-year-old rookie at intermission. A native of Georgia in Asia who plays for Russia, he reached the fourth round of the French Open for the second time this year.
Svitolina, from Ukraine, is ranked 20th in the world at only 20 years old. She advanced to the French Open quarterfinals this year.
Two California players earned WTT awards. Anabel Medina Garrigues was named the Co-Female MVP with Anastasia Rodionova of the Washington Kastles, and Neal Skupski, a late substitute this season, was honored as the Male Rookie of the Year.
The other two awards went to Austin's Alla Kudryavtseva (Female Rookie of the Year) and Rick Leach (Coach of the Year).
The Dream, which had lost its two regular-season matches in Austin by one game and two games, ended its inaugural season at 9-6.
Austin (13-2), in its second year in the league, will meet Washington (11-4) on Sunday in Washington, D.C., in the WTT Finals. The host Kastles demolished the Philadelphia Freedoms 25-9 in the Eastern Conference Championship.
Washington seeks its fifth straight WTT title, which would break the now-defunct Sacramento Capitals' record (1997-2000), and sixth in seven years. A sixth overall title for the Kastles would tie the mark of the Capitals, who also won the crown in 2002 and 2007.
AUSTIN ACES 25, CALIFORNIA DREAM 14
In Austin, TexasMixed doubles -- Teymuraz Gabashvili and Alla Kudryavtseva (Aces) def. Neal Skupski and Anabel Medina Garrigues 5-2.
Women's doubles -- Kudryavtseva and Elina Svitolina (Aces) def. Jarmila Gajdosova and Medina Garrigues 5-3.
Men's doubles -- Gabashvili and Jarmere Jenkins (Aces) def. Tennys Sandgren and Skupski 5-4.
Women's singles -- Svitolina (Aces) def. Gajdosova 5-1.
Men's singles -- Gabashvili (Aces) def. Sandgren 5-4.