Breakers surge into playoffs

World Team Tennis

Orange County wins fifth straight match, will play Sacramento for Western Conference title in September.

July 28, 2012|By Matt Szabo
  • Orange County Breakers' Travis Parrott, left, and doubles partner John-Patrick Smith, second from left, celebrate with teammates, including Lindsay Davenport, after defeating the Philadelphia Freedoms at the Bren Events Center Saturday.
Orange County Breakers' Travis Parrott, left,… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

IRVINE — Former world No. 1 women's tennis player Lindsay Davenport couldn't be sure what she had going into her 10th season of World Team Tennis.

What the Orange County Breakers have is one of their best teams in years.

They had already clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference Finals before Saturday's regular-season finale against visiting Philadelphia. But, they still wanted to finish on a strong note.

The Breakers did that, defeating the Freedoms 21-15 for their fifth straight victory. Orange County (8-6) will play Sacramento (7-7) in the Western Conference Finals on Sept. 14 in Charleston, S.C. Washington (14-0) plays New York (9-5) in the Eastern Conference Finals the following day, and the winners meet for the WTT title on Sept. 16.

After Saturday's match, Davenport, a Laguna Beach resident who now has three children, talked about the fun she's had this year.

"These guys have been so great," said Davenport, the marquee player who played in all seven home matches for Orange County and three on the road. "I really feel like I've been so lucky in my Team Tennis teams over the years, because you never know what you're going to get with the draft. I'd never known, never heard of John-Patrick [Smith] before. I knew a little bit of Travis [Parrott], I never knew Jana [Juricova] and I knew Anna-Lena [Groenefeld], but that was it.


"At one point during the season we knew were going to lose Anna-Lena [for the Olympics] … [but] the team wins. You can't buy players; team chemistry will win. It certainly was true for us."

Smith continued his very strong play Saturday by beating Philadelphia marquee player Mark Philippoussis, a former top-10 player, 5-3, to open the match. Smith finished the regular season with seven straight men's singles wins. The Breakers finished the year second in the league in men's singles, only behind unbeaten Washington.

Juricova then was edged by Philadelphia's Karolina Pliskova, 5-4 in women's singles. Pliskova's sister, Kristyna, and Jordan Kerr then won in mixed doubles, 5-2. Davenport said she was feeling a bit of back pain in that set, and was subbed out for Juricova midway through.

The Freedoms led 12-11 after three sets, but Davenport and Juricova came back for a 5-3 women's doubles win over the Pliskova sisters. That gave Orange County a tenuous 16-15 lead headed into the final set.

Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles