World TeamTennis was back in action Friday night, July 13, as the New York Sportimes hosted the Philadelphia Freedoms at Sportime Stadium at Randall’s Island. The Sportimes put forth a solid roster with the trio of Robert Kendrick, Jesse Witten and Ashley Harkleroad in action with former world number one Martina Hingis leading the way. It was much anticipated that American rising star, Ryan Harrison, would make an appearance for Friday night's matchup playing for the Freedoms, however, Harrison will be joining the U.S. Olympic team in London later this month and was unable to play.
As fans took their seats, men’s doubles play began with Jesse Witten & Robert Kendrick taking on Luka Gregorc & Jordan Kerr of the Freedoms. Witten & Kendrick both served remarkably well, allowing them to defeat the Freedoms duo 5-3 in just over 20 minutes.
The next match of the night was the women’s singles, as Martina Hingis squared off against Kristyna Pliskova of the Freedoms. Hingis displayed great anticipation and versatility with a few nifty drop shots that left Pliskova scrambling. Both players were able to hold serve until the last game, when Hingis broke serve with a backhand passing shot winner up the line in a sudden death point to win 5-3.
After Hingis won her singles event, she was back on the court with mixed-doubles partner Kendrick. They faced Karolina Pliskova (Kristyna’s twin sister) and Jordan Kerr from the Freedoms. After a bit of a shaky start with a few missed overheads and volleys, Hingis & Kendrick were able to stay on serve throughout the match. In the last game with Pliskova serving, a fan called out “second one” just before her second serve. The Sportime fan must have gotten into the head of Pliskova because her second serve went straight to the bottom of the net allowing Hingis & Kendrick to walk away with a 5-3 win.
Next up was women’s doubles as again, Hingis took to the court for her third consecutive match, this time with doubles partner Ashley Harkleroad. The Sportime duo took on the twins, Kristyna & Karolina Pliskova. Harkleroad seemed to have difficulty in the beginning of the match as she committed a few unforced errors. After a couple of easy putaway volleys missed by Hingis, the Sportimes duo fell behind and lost 2-5 to the Freedoms.
As the raindrops began to fall, the men’s singles got underway as the last event of the night. Jesse Witten of the Sportimes took on Luka Gregorc. Gregorc came out firing with some impressive inside out forehands, however Witten hung in the rally’s and amped up his serve, gaining the break and early lead. Witten was able defeat Gregorc 5-2 in just less than 20 minutes, guaranteeing the Sportimes the overall win before the rain could cause any play suspensions.
On another nice night out at Sportime Stadium at Randall’s Island, the NY Sportimes defeated the Philadelphia Freedoms by an overall score of 22-16. July 13 was also a very exciting night for Long Island junior player Noah Rubin (who trains at Sportime), who sat on the bench in uniform throughout the match. While Noah never did get to play, it was still a great experience to be part of the professional action.
Credit all photos to Kenneth B. Goldberg
The New York Sportimes gather after a successful night against the Philadelphia Freedoms
Robert Kendrick & Jesse Witten of the Sportimes were 5-3 winners over Luka Gregorc & Jordan Kerr of the Freedoms
Martina Hingis & Robert Kendrick were 5-3 winners over Karolina Pliskova & Jordan Kerr of the Freedoms in mixed-doubles action
Kristyna & Karolina Pliskova of the Freedoms in women's doubles action at Sportime Stadium
Jessica Stiles is an intern for New York Tennis Magazine and is a player for the University of Kentucky Women's Tennis Team.