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Breakers dance party

Newport Beach finishes match strong, despite being out of the playoff picture Tuesday night.

July 20, 2010|By Matt Szabo
(Kent Treptow / Daily…)

NEWPORT BEACH — The first super tiebreaker of the year came suddenly for the Newport Beach Breakers Tuesday night at The Tennis Club Newport Beach.

Eventually, it went to 6-6. The first team to seven wins the match.

Lester Cook and David Martin made it one to remember, winning that 6-6 point after two solid volleys by Martin as the Breakers escaped with a 19-18 win over the Kansas City Explorers.

Maria Sharapova almost packed the seats; the Breakers' marquee player was the star. But, in the end, it was Cook and Martin who took center stage against Kansas City's Samuel Groth and Ricardo Mello.

The Breakers' duo won the final set of the match, 5-3, tying the score and forcing that super tiebreaker. And, while Newport Beach won't make the World Team Tennis playoffs, the excitement rippled through the stadium after Martin's second volley forced a mishit long by Groth. Cook and Martin were down 6-4 in the super tiebreaker after two huge serves by Groth, but found a way back.

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"Lester and I actually were looking forward to it the whole year," said Martin, a Huntington Beach resident. "We were hoping it was going to come down to a super 'breaker with us playing doubles. We've played a few tournaments, we get along so well. It was fun to get an opportunity to do it, and to do it on the last point was really exciting. I just wish I put that first volley away, instead of having to hit two balls, but we'll take it.

"…That's definitely the great thing about Team Tennis, that excitement and it coming down to the final point."

Newport Beach (5-7), which lost three of four matches to Kansas City (7-5) this year, is officially eliminated from the playoffs with two matches to go. Two teams make the playoffs out of the Western Conference. The Breakers can't catch first-place Springfield and second-place Kansas City owns a head-to-head tiebreaker should the Breakers and Explorers both finish 7-7.

This is the third time in four years that the Breakers have missed the playoffs, not helped by a tough three-match road trip over the weekend where they lost all three against conference foes.

Sacramento's Jarmila Groth was supposed to be the victim Tuesday in women's singles, one of three sets Sharapova was playing. Instead, Groth flipped the match on its head. She beat Sharapova, 5-0, in the shocking fourth set, giving the visiting Explorers a lead they held until the Breakers' late rally.

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