Sacramento season Cap’d by loss

McEnroe plays for NY Sportimes during semifinal against Buzz
By: Scott Johnston Special to Gold Country News Service
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Needing a fast start against a high-powered opponent, the Sacramento Capitals received just that Friday night in the semifinals of the World Team Tennis Championships at Allstate Stadium at the Galleria at Roseville. However, the No. 1 seeded Kansas City Explorers’ depth proved too much for defending champion Sacramento, which fell 21-10. Sam Warburg opened the match by making short work of Dusan Vermic in men’s singles, giving the Capitals (9-7) an early 5-1 advantage while continuing the momentum from the July 24 wildcard win over the Boston Lobsters. With the win the Capitals became the first team in WTT history to reach Championship Weekend for seven consecutive years. However, the Explorers (14-1) quickly proved to be a buzz kill for the announced crowd of 2,233 mostly Capital fans in attendance. “Sam gave us such a big lift to start out,” said Capitals coach Wayne Bryan. “But from there we just did not play well, we didn’t volley well all night and we didn’t get a lot of first serves in. But you have to give Kansas City credit they’ve played consistently well all season.” The Explorers, who feature two of the top five women’s doubles players in the world in Kveta Peschke and Rennae Stubbs, ran off eight straight victories and 12 of 13 to win the women’s singles (5-1 with Elena Likhovtseva substituting at 0-3), men’s doubles (5-1) and mixed doubles (5-3) matches. Peschke, who is ranked third in the world in women’s doubles and Stubbs No. 5, ended the Capitals’ season with a 5-0 victory over Tammy Handler and Likhovtseva. And while WTT rookies Eric Butorac and Handler helped fuel Sacramento’s wildcard win, both players struggled to get on track Friday. “We knew we’d have to start well,” Butorac said. “Because they’re the best in women’s doubles and men’s doubles. Going into men’s doubles tied I thought we were going to be fine. “Sam and I had been playing great, but we just came out awful. We didn’t really do anything well and we carried that onto the mixed (doubles) a little bit. We played some good tennis after that, but we just couldn’t put anything together and their women’s doubles team is just awesome as they showed. KC is a great team and we knew that coming in. Sam got us off on the right track, but unfortunately we couldn’t carry it on.” This year has been a learning experience for Hendler. One of the top-ranked junior women’s singles players in the world; she has struggled against WTT players, many of whom have been playing tennis for as long as she has been alive. Butorac to admits struggling at times with the alternant format that is the WWT. “The sets go so fast,” Butorac said. “There’s no time to recover in World Team Tennis. Whereas on another tour you can lose a set 6-1 and still have time to come back. “Out here you come out and play like garbage four games and look what happens. But this is really exciting tennis and the coolest part about it is the whole team aspect. “On the tour we play just for ourselves, so we never get this sort of atmosphere with an owner and a coach and a whole community behind you. And that’s what makes the wins so special, but the losses that much harder.”