Tursunov provides boost for Capitals vs. Springfield

By: Tom Kellar Gold Country News Service
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In recreational sports-speak, it was like bringing in a “ringer” when the Sacramento Capitals used Dmitry Tursunov during their 18-14 World Team Tennis win over the Springfield Lasers Friday night at Allstate Stadium at the Galleria in Roseville. Tursunov, a Folsom resident, was instrumental in helping the Caps to victory, as the team outscored Springfield 10-2 in his matches. The Caps came into the contest limping, having lost four of their first five matches this season – not good for a team trying to defend its 2007 league title. But Tursunov – who has been ranked in singles as high as No. 20 in the world – turned out to be just what the doctor ordered, crushing the Lasers' Izak Van der Merwe 5-0 during his one WTT appearance this season, helping the Caps to overcome a 13-14 deficit and gain a much-needed win. Afterward, Caps coach Wayne Bryan was all smiles. “He (Tursunov) played great tonight,” Bryan said. “He was great in the doubles and great in the singles. “It was a lot of pressure, but he went out and performed beautifully.” Sacramento’s Sam Warburg teamed with Tursunov in men’s doubles to carve out a 5-2 match win, while the mixed doubles team of Elena Likhovtseva and Eric Butorac also got into the win column, 5-2. Caps newcomer Tammy Hendler, 15 years old and one of the world’s top junior players, struggled. She lost her women’s doubles match with Likhovtseva, 5-0, then went up 3-0 in women’s singles against Springfield’s Chanelle Scheepers, only to lose five straight games and the match. Hendler appears to be quickly becoming a crowd favorite, however. During warm-ups she wore a sweat top with “Belgium Babe” spread across the back. “I really love it (WTT play), it was fun,” Hendler said. “The crowd was great and I really tried to get into it. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I’ll just keep working at it and hopefully the wins will come.” Sac-Cap Notes: The Caps made it two in a row on Saturday, squeaking past the visiting Newport Beach Breakers 21-20 with Warburg and Butorac able to win a match-ending Supertiebreaker for the victory. Lindsay Davenport was in the house, the former No. 1 ranked singles and doubles player competing for the Breakers and helping account for a nice turnout, announced at 3,342. Hendler got her first win with a 5-1 victory over Michaela Pastikova. Sacramento (4-5) also had a home match Tuesday and it hammered the St. Louis Aces 25-12. The Capitals will play three road matches before returning home at 7:30 p.m., July 22 against the Boston Lobsters.