WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS — World TeamTennis’ stay The Greenbrier came to an exciting conclusion.
New York trailed 20-18 after five sets but won two straight games in extended play to force a best-of-13 super tiebreaker with the Chicago Smash. The extra period went the distance, with the Empire winning the women’s doubles set 7-6 for a 21-20 win and the World TeamTennis championship Sunday on Center Court at Creekside at The Greenbrier.
A forehand winner on service return by Coco Vandeweghe — acquired via trade with the San Diego Aviators last Sunday — was the final point. The ball barely caught the line and had to be confirmed by technological reviewed.
Vandeweghe, who was teaming with Nicole Melichar against Chicago’s Sloane Stephens and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, was named the finals Women’s Most Valuable Player.
“I never had this opportunity in World TeamTennis to do Extended Play, to the Super Tiebreaker to the super buster to the Super Breaker (last deciding point),” Vandeweghe said. “I mean I’ve never been under that kind of pressure, ever. It was so much fun to be on my racquet to control the situation. Luckily I controlled it in the right way. It really accentuated what World TeamTennis is; the team vibe, team energy, people picking each other up when they’re down. I had so much fun out there.”
New York took early control with a pair of doubles wins. Jack Sock and Neal Skupski defeated Chicago’s Rajeev Ram and Brandon Nakashima 5-2, the Sock and Vandeweghe teamed to take down Mattek-Sands and Ram 5-4 for a 10-6 Empire lead.
The match took a dramatic swing with singles competition. Nakashima blanked Sock 5-0 and Stephens took care of Vandeweghe 5-3 to put the Smash ahead 16-13.
Doubles is ultimately where New York won the title.
Melichar and Vandeweghe edged Genie Bouchard and Mattek-Sands 5-4 to make it 20-18 Chicago.
The Smash then had a chance to tie it in extended play and did just that, with Melichar and Vandeweghe taking two straight games to force the super tiebreaker.
Stephens subbed for Bouchard and the teams battled to the end. The final set was tied 3-3 and 6-6 before Vandeweghe’s nailbiter winner.
It is the third WTT title for the New York franchise, winning as the Sportimes in 2005 and as the Buzz in 2008.
Chicago played for the championship in its first year in existence.