Orange County Breakers Win Second Mylan World TeamTennis Title in Franchise History
(August 5th, 2017) OMNI LA COSTA RESORT & SPA, Carlsbad, CA – With legends such as Billie Jean King and Rod Laver in attendance, the visiting Orange County Breakers took out the defending champion San Diego Aviators to win their second Mylan World TeamTennis title, having also won back in 2004 as the Newport Beach Breakers. It was a sold out crowd of 1,450 Saturday night and the match was also being broadcast live on ESPN2 and ESPN3.
The Breakers finished ahead of the Aviators in the regular season standings, resulting in Breakers coach Rick Leach choosing the order of play for Saturday night’s final. The Breakers and Aviators have had a contrast in their order of plays this season, as the Breakers like to have men’s singles played out during the last set, while the Aviators have been starting nights off with men’s singles throughout the season. The home team also gets to serve first in sets one, two and five and the first place Breakers were also benefited with this advantage.
2009 Wimbledon semifinalist and former world No. 12 Yanina Wickmayer provided the Breakers with a nice cushion to start the final, beating Brit Naomi Broady 5-2 in a battle of 6-footers. The key stat in the set was Wickmayer winning all seven of her second serve points, as she didn’t let Broady put any pressure on her in her service games. Both ladies stayed on court following the set and were joined by their partners for women’s doubles, the second set of the evening.
The Aviators rebounded back in set number two, with the duo of Broady and Darija Jurak defeating Wickmayer and Andreja Klepač 5-3, although the Breakers duo won two of the three 3-3 deciding points. Halftime is usually after the third set, but tonight it was after the second set as the legendary Billie Jean King came on court for to be interviewed.
Following halftime, there was a relative upset in terms of ATP doubles rankings when Teymuraz Gabashvili and Ken Skupski took out the number seven doubles team in the world, Rajeev Ram and Raven Klaasen 5-2. Skupski and Gabashvili however have played phenomenal tennis recently, as the new duo have clicked instantly together on and off the court. Coach Leach was not expecting his guys to win as he stated after the match, “I wasn’t expecting it. They are one of the top teams in the world. On paper we had no business winning that set. Our guys rose to the occasion.”
Heading into mixed doubles, the Breakers held a 13-9 lead ahead of the fourth set of the final. After a recent string of losses, the mixed doubles duo of Klaasen and Jurak stepped up to defeat Skupski and Klepač 5-4(3), slightly trimming the lead the Breakers held.
Gabashvili was benefited with a 17-14 lead ahead of his set against Ram, and he did not have any let up, winning 5-4(2) without facing a single break point in the set. After falling in the finals as a member of the Austin Aces in 2015, Gabashvili was determined to lift the King Trophy as a champion this year.
ORANGE COUNTY BREAKERS def. San Diego Aviators 22-18
Women’s singles – Yanina Wickmayer (Breakers) def. Naomi Broady (Aviators) 5-2
Women’s Doubles – Darija Jurak/Naomi Broady (Aviators) def. Yanina Wickmayer/Andreja Klepač (Breakers) 5-3
Men’s Doubles – Ken Skupski/Teymuraz Gabashvili (Breakers) def. Rajeev Ram/Raven Klaasen (Aviators) 5-2
Mixed Doubles – Darija Jurak/Raven Klaasen (Aviators) def. Ken Skupski/Andreja Klepač (Breakers) 5-4(3)
Men’s Singles – Teymuraz Gabashvili (Breakers) def. Rajeev Ram (Aviators) 5-4(2)
— Mylan WTT (@WorldTeamTennis) August 6, 2017
On-court interview between Parsa Nemati and Yanina Wickmayer following the match:
Parsa Nemati: It was a perfect season for you, rookie of the year and a championship. What did you gain from this experience?
Yanina Wickmayer: Yeah well it’s been a lot of fun. It’s been a helluva ride, it was very exciting and a little confusing in the beginning but it’s been a great season and we all did really well, we all played really well and we stepped it up when we had to. It’s just a great team effort.
Parsa Nemati: You came in right after your wedding. A bit of a later start with the team. How does the confidence you gained from all the wins, as well as the team chemistry, how is that going to help you for the hardcourt season?
Yanina Wickmayer: Yeah we played a lot of tennis. So that’s always good for the confidence. I played singles and doubles which was great. Our team was just amazing. They help me a lot. Like I said it was my first year so they really helped me get through it. And they were very supportive and we really matched well, and we were a great team.
Parsa Nemati: Fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters was recently inducted into the Hall of Fame. How has she affected your career?
YaninaWickmayer: Yeah she’s a really good friend of mine and she’s an amazing person. She’s helped me through a lot of stuff on and off the court, so she’s been a true inspiration for me.
On-court interview between Parsa and Ken Skupski following the match:
Parsa Nemati: How do you feel, you’re a champion!
Ken Skupski: Yeah, world champ. Don’t think I was expecting to say that before. Great feeling. We played great today. Yanina played awesome in the first match, got us off to a great start. They played solid in doubles, and then we pulled it out in the men’s doubles. We were playing against a top top team, the guys are top-8 in the world and we’ve done well against them in the last two or three matches. I played a great point right in the end of that. We were solid in the mixed doubles, we maybe could have done a little bit better. And then Temo does his thing at the end. At the end of the day, I think we deserve it today.
Parsa Nemati: Different scoring format and you’re in a team environment, but you’re still playing world-class players. How will the confidence you gain from winning the title help you for your own doubles on tour?
Ken Skupski: Yeah winning tennis matches, at whatever level it is, you take confidence from it. To win at this level and with these group of guys, we didn’t know what to expect. We’ve never known each other that well beforehand and we came together and we all achieved a dream that we all set at the start of the three weeks.
Parsa Nemati: What does the support of your brother Neal mean to you? He came out here to support you.
Ken Skupski: Yeah we are close, even though we played against each other the last two or three weeks. He’s playing a tournament in California (challenger in Aptos) and I wanted him to get a bit of practice here. It was good for Temo to play against a righty, not just a lefty like me. So it benefitted him. It’s great to have the fans. The fans have been great today. We didn’t expect to have as many fans as we did, and they were awesome. They make a big difference. If you’re playing in front of 1,400 people who are against you, it’s not as easy but we had a couple hundred here today which was huge.