Cook delivers 'super' victory

Newport Beach Breakers

He wins super tiebreaker, 7-4, to give the Breakers a dramatic 19-18 triumph in season opener against Aces, sans Davenport.

July 05, 2011|By Matt Szabo,
(Scott Smeltzer…)

NEWPORT BEACH — As the Newport Beach Breakers began their quest for a World Team Tennis title, the woman who put the "King" in King trophy was in the house Tuesday night at The Tennis Club.

It was Ladies Night, which meant a pre-match tennis clinic for women featuring WTT co-founder and Breakers co-owner Billie Jean King. Once the match actually began, King wasn't on the court, but she yelled encouragement to the Breakers players from the corner of the stadium.

The St. Louis Aces' scheduled marquee player, former world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, was missing. The Aces' women still didn't miss their opportunity, winning a key doubles set as St. Louis took control.

Lester Cook took it back. Big time.

The Breakers' men's singles player won the final set then a dramatic super tiebreaker, helping the Breakers come from behind to win, 19-18.

Davenport will not play in the league this summer. She is pregnant and was placed under travel and activity restrictions by her doctor, the WTT announced Tuesday.


The Breakers trailed, 17-13, after the Breakers' Marie-Eve Pelletier and Anne Keothavong fell, 5-1, in women's doubles. But Cook took a 5-1 victory over St. Louis' Roman Borvanov. He sent the match to a super tiebreaker on a blistering backhand passing shot down the line.

"I knew that was the play, and that's what I wanted it to come down to," Cook said. "I knew I was going to be steady, get the ball back, and if he had [a shot] he was going to come right to my backhand. I knew it was coming. I was just lucky enough to hit it perfectly. I just hit it clean.

"It felt good," Cook added, laughing. "It felt really good."

Breakers Coach Trevor Kronemann wasn't surprised Cook could come back. That's why he put Cook in the last of the night's five sets, just like last year.

"This is why I have the hairline that I have," Kronemann said, "but he's been in that situation before. I tell him, 'It's Cook time. Just go out and play your game and work at it.' Sure enough, he came back and got into that super tiebreaker. Then I felt comfortable he was going to pull it out.

"He's just so quick, makes a lot of returns, makes you play. I think Borvanov missed a couple key volleys and we held on."

The Breakers opened the match well. Pelletier and Travis Rettenmaier defeated Liezel Huber and Jean-Julien Rojer, 5-4, in mixed doubles. Then the Breakers' Anne Keothavong, making her WTT debut, defeated St. Louis' Maria Sanchez, 5-3, in women's singles.

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