Coco has advantage at home

World Team Tennis

Newport Beach resident plays big part as Boston makes playoffs by beating Breakers in Newport's season finale.

July 21, 2011|By Matt Szabo,

NEWPORT BEACH — Coco Vandeweghe lives just down the street from The Tennis Club Newport Beach.

The professional tennis player said for the past year and a half she's lived full-time in the Big Canyon community of Newport Beach. So Thursday night was like a home match for the 19-year-old, even though she was playing for the visiting Boston Lobsters.

Vandeweghe made sure she didn't disappoint her large contingent of friends and family in attendance. She played mixed doubles, women's doubles and women's singles.


The Lobsters won all three sets, part of a 22-14 victory that secured their spot in Friday night's Eastern Conference Finals in Charleston, S.C. They'll play undefeated Washington.

Newport Beach finished a tough World Team Tennis season with a 4-10 record.

Vandeweghe's mother, Tauna, was one of her loudest supporters Thursday. Tauna won Olympic silver medals in swimming (1976) and volleyball (1984). Coco's uncle, Kiki, and grandfather, Ernie, both played in the NBA.

"[I had] family members, friends, and Jan-Michael [Gambill] also had a big group with him," Coco Vandeweghe said. "We made it kind of a Boston crowd even though we were at home in Newport Beach. I live just down the street, and I have a big family. They're loud and noisy, because they grew up in basketball and in arenas. They come out full-force."

The Lobsters' Gambill has family that lives in Tustin. It added up to a large amount of Boston supporters. They saw the Lobsters rally after Newport Beach's Lester Cook defeated Gambill, 5-2, in men's singles in the opening set of the night.

Gambill and Eric Butorac came back to defeat Cook and Travis Rettenmaier by the same 5-2 score in men's doubles. Then Vandeweghe, who is coached by Palisades Tennis Club pro Robert Van't Hof, did her part.

Vandeweghe and Butorac defeated Rettenmaier and Marie-Eve Pelletier, 5-3, in mixed doubles. Then Boston (7-7) poured it on, as Vandeweghe and Mashona Washington defeated Pelletier and Anne Keothavong, 5-1, in women's doubles.

Vandeweghe had the spotlight in the final set, and she defeated Keothavong, 5-1, in women's singles.

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