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Big win for Breakers

World Team Tennis

Orange County beats Sacramento for second straight night, moving into first all alone with two matches left in regular season.

July 25, 2012|By Matt Szabo
  • Orange County Breakers' Travis Parrott, left, and doubles partner John-Patrick Smith celebrate after defeating the Sacramento Capitals at the Bren Events Center Wednesday.
Orange County Breakers' Travis Parrott, left,… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

IRVINE — John-Patrick Smith does not think about his ATP Tour ranking when he steps onto the court for the Orange County Breakers.

Some might think Smith would get blown off the court by the Sacramento Capitals' 6-foot-8 South African player, Kevin Anderson. Anderson is ranked No. 33 on the ATP Tour; Smith is ranked just 217.

In World Team Tennis, numbers like that can get thrown out the window. All the Orange County Breakers know is that Smith, the Australian, has helped them to the verge of the playoffs.

Smith defeated Anderson in men's singles for the second straight night, opening the match strong for the Breakers Wednesday night at UC Irvine's Bren Events Center. The Breakers went on to beat the Capitals as well for the second straight night, 21-18, moving into first place by themselves in the Western Conference.

The Breakers (6-6) moved past the Capitals (5-7), also ahead of Kansas City and Springfield (both 4-8). The top two teams in each conference advance to the WTT playoffs.

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Orange County now controls its own destiny and can clinch a playoff berth by defeating Boston at home on Friday night.

Smith helped Orange County start big as he beat Anderson, 5-2, to open the match on Billie Jean King night.

"J.P. has a lot of energy, he's young and he's got a lot of upside," Breakers Coach Trevor Kronemann said. "You can see that he can play with those guys … the last two nights he's played really well with his forehand. He's doing a lot more with it than he did in the beginning of the season. I think he's seeing he's going to have to get a lot more depth on the ball."

Smith also teamed up with Travis Parrott in doubles to defeat Anderson and Mark Knowles, 5-3, to end the night and clinch the match for the hosts.

"I think I've been serving well and just relaxing," Smith said. "I'm just trying to stay as relaxed as I can and just enjoy it, like tonight … I feel like we're just staying positive. We've got a great group of people. We're all very down to earth and very aware of what we have to do to win, and I think that's the biggest thing going forward."

Jana Juricova also started women's singles off well, taking a 3-1 lead on Sacramento's Vania King. Sacramento Coach Wayne Bryan subbed in Newport Beach resident Coco Vandeweghe, who had a sizable cheering audience of friends and family present.

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