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Breakers make playoffs

World Team Tennis

With one regular-season match to go, Orange County clinches top spot in West after defeating Boston.

July 27, 2012|By Matt Szabo

IRVINE — The Orange County Breakers have a fascinating mix of talent this season.

Consider that during their current four-match winning streak, they have had two World Team Tennis rookies – John-Patrick Smith and Jana Juricova – playing men's and women's singles for them.

They have a men's doubles player, Travis Parrott, who Coach Trevor Kronemann said plans to retire at the end of this year. And of course they have the former world No. 1, Lindsay Davenport, who is in her 10th season playing in the league.

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Most of all, they appear to be having tons of fun.

This is his most bonded and gelled team in 23 years associated with WTT, Kronemann said after Friday night's 21-13 victory over Boston at UC Irvine's Bren Events Center. The 2012 Breakers also have a chance to be one of his best.

Friday's victory was huge. With one regular-season match left, Orange County (7-6) clinched the top spot in the Western Conference playoffs. The Breakers, making their first playoff appearance since 2009, will play Sacramento in the WTT Western Conference Championship on Sept. 15 in Charleston, S.C.

"Everybody's loose and getting their jobs done, which is great," Kronemann said. "It makes it a lot easier. Not that we had issues in the past with team chemistry, but for some reason this team feels like everybody's out to win and do their part. We don't really have a hole. I mean, we're going to get Anna-Lena [Groenefeld] back [for the playoffs], and what are we going to do? We have a lot of options, which is going to be good to have come South Carolina.

"The good news is that we've peaked at the right time."

The Breakers won four of five sets Friday night. Smith started it off in men's singles with his sixth straight victory, defeatingJan-Michael Gambill, 5-3. Smith rallied from a 3-1 deficit.

"He's got the game," Kronemann said. "He's the real deal. It will not surprise me to see him in theU.S. Openand through [qualifiers]. He's tough, he serves well, returns well. His ball is nasty enough to just make everything interesting for the other players."

Juricova then continued her recent strong play with a 5-2 women's singles victory over Irina Falconi. Juricova, the 2011 NCAA women's singles champ at UC Berkeley, has settled into her current role as the team's women's singles player nicely.

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