Thursday, July 30, 2015

Dream triumphs in tuneup for WTT playoffs

Tennys Sandgren, shown earlier this
season, preserved California's win on
Wednesday night by beating San Diego's
Daniel Nguyen 5-3 in men's singles.
Photo by Darryl Henick
   CITRUS HEIGHTS, Calif. -- The California Dream enters the World TeamTennis playoffs with momentum.
   The Dream will need it.
   California defeated the San Diego Aviators 20-15 on Wednesday night at Dream Stadium at Sunrise Mall to end the regular season with six victories in its last seven matches.
   San Diego's Chani Scheepers, who retired after the match at 31, didn't exactly go out on a high note. She lost 5-0 to Jarka Gajdosova in women's singles, dropping 20 of 24 points and all 12 on Gajdosova's serve, and fell 5-2 in women's doubles.
   California led the league in women's singles with Gajdosova (.566 winning percentage in games) and in mixed doubles with Anabel Medina Garrigues and primarily Neal Skupski (.587). Medina Garrigues played with Mike Bryan twice and Bob Bryan once. 
   It already had been determined that the Dream (9-5) would visit the Austin Aces, who finished with the league's best record (12-2), today in the Western Conference championships. The match will be streamed live on ESPN3 at 7:30 p.m. PDT.
   California is 0-3 against Austin this season, with all of the meetings taking place within four days in the first half of the season. The Aces won 20-19 and 20-18 in Austin, and 22-16 in the Sacramento area.
   "The close losses at Austin let our team know that if we play our best, if we bring our 'A' game, we can win," Dream coach David Macpherson, a former Sacramento Capital in WTT, said after Wednesday's victory over San Diego. "They're a very good team, and, of course, we have to travel and they're practicing on their home court.
   "Certainly, the advantage is with them, but we proved that we like their (indoor) court. It's a little bit slower than our (outdoor) court."
   California, meanwhile, will pray that the Philadelphia Freedoms (5-9) somehow upset the Washington Kastles (10-4), who have won the last four WTT titles and five of the last six, today in the Eastern Conference championships. The winner of that match will host the WTT Finals on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. PDT (live on ESPN3, with ESPN2 joining at 10 a.m.).
   The Kastles, with International Tennis Hall of Famer Martina Hingis and Sam Querrey, beat the Dream 19-17 in Washington, D.C., on Monday after trailing 10-4.
   Coming today: A profile of unlikely pair Skupski and Medina Garrigues.
In Citrus Heights, Calif.
   Men's doubles -- Raven Klaasen and Daniel Nguyen (Aviators) def. Tennys Sandgren and Neal Skupski 5-3.
   Women's singles -- Jarka Gajdosova (Dream) def. Chani Scheepers 5-0.
   Mixed doubles -- Darija Jurak and Klaasen (Aviators) def. Anabel Medina Garrigues and Neal Skupski 5-2 (Gajdosova substituted for Garrigues at 2-4).
   Women's doubles -- Gajdosova and Medina Garrigues (Dream) def. Jurak and Scheepers 5-2.
   Men's singles -- Sandgren (Dream) def. Nguyen 5-3.

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