Seven matches remain before the conclusion of the 2020 World TeamTennis season.
There's no time for complacency since only two victories separate the fourth-place Orlando Storm from the last-place Orange County Breakers, and all of the four playoff bids remain up for grabs.
The Breakers are in action against the Philadelphia Freedoms in Friday's second match at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. The New York Empire and Vegas Rollers got play underway, and the Washington Kastles and Chicago Smash will bring the night to a close.
2020 World TeamTennis Results: July 24
New York Empire def. Vegas Rollers 25-17
Philadelphia Freedoms def. Orange County Breakers 22-21
Chicago Smash def. Washington Kastles, 21-15
Chicago Smash 21, Washington Kastles 15
Rajeev Ram and Brandon Nakashima got the Smash off to a fast start that they never looked back from with a 5-0 win over Nick Monroe and Marcelo Arevalo in men's doubles action.
Chicago won each of the first three events, with Nakashima's win over Tommy Paul in men's singles play putting his squad up 10-1.
Venus Williams did her best to help Washington close the gap in the fourth set. The five-time Wimbledon champion knocked off Sloane Stephens 5-4 in a tiebreaker during the women's singles competition.
The Kastles had to call on Williams to take Bernarda Pera's spot during the first set of women's doubles. The combination of Williams, Pera and Arina Rodionova gave Washington its best performance of the match with a 5-1 victory over Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Eugenie Bouchard.
That setback did briefly delay Chicago's celebration, but it needed just one point in extended play to reach 21 points total and secure the victory.
The Smash (7-2) remain within one game of Washington for the top seed in the tournament. Washington's loss was significant, as its record fell to 4-5 and dropped the team one game behind the New York Empire and Orlando Storm into fifth place overall.
Philadelphia Freedoms 22, Orange County Breakers 21
The Freedoms dug themselves out of an early hole to earn a 22-21 win over the Breakers, who have sole possession of eighth and last place (3-7) for the time being.
Orange County looked prime to break a two-match losing skid after Steve Johnson beat Taylor Fritz in men's singles and Jennifer Brady followed up by defeating Sofia Kenin.
The turning point came in the third set as Steve Johnson and Austin Krajicek attempted to make it three straight sets against Fabrice Martin and Donald Young. A tiebreaker was necessary to separate the two men's doubles teams, and a power forehand from Martin eluded Krajicek at the net on set point.
Taylor Townsend and Caroline Dolehide kept Philadelphia alive in women's doubles, and the team of Townsend and Martin sealed the deal in mixed doubles.
In a match with the slimmest of margins determining the outcome, Townsend and Martin's work on serve was the difference. Townsend won nine of her 11 first-service points, while Martin was a perfect 9-of-9.
On match point, Martin's return found Johnson, who dumped his backhand volley into the net.
The Freedoms improved their record to 8-1, building a 1.5-match gap on the second-place Chicago Smash. Their comeback over the final three sets showed why they sit atop the standings.
New York Empire 25, Vegas Rollers 17
The Empire made a clean sweep of the Rollers, winning all five sets en route to an eight-point victory.
Jack Sock got New York started off on the right foot by taking down Sam Querrey, 5-3, in men's singles, and the team of Kim Clijsters and Kveta Peschke defeated Monica Puig and Ajla Tomljanovic, 5-2, in women's doubles.
The other three sets were decided by slim 5-4 margins.
The Rollers were poised to pick up a much-needed set win in women's singles after Puig built a 3-1 lead on Sabine Lisicki. Clijsters replaced Lisicki, at which point the set turned. The four-time Grand Slam champion won 10 of her 12 first-service points to take the next three games to force a tiebreaker.
World TeamTennis @WorldTeamTennis
#WTT2020: @Clijsterskim got subbed in during women's singles down 1-3 against @MonicaAce93, but in true Hall of Famer style, she brings it back 4-4 to send this set to a tiebreaker! Watch @NYEmpireTennis battle the @VegasRollersWTT LIVE on @ESPN +! #NYvsLAS #EveryPointCounts https://t.co/dt0wnfqE9n
World TeamTennis @WorldTeamTennis
#WTT2020: @Clijsterskim is on 🔥! Subbed in down 3-1 against @MonicaAce93 she drops one game, but claims the next 3⃣ to send the set to a tiebreaker, which she wins. NY leads 20-13. Watch @NYEmpiretennis battle the @VegasRollersWTT LIVE on @ESPN +! #NYvsLAS #EveryPointCounts https://t.co/w063xNrvOM
The Bryan brothers might be a legendary doubles team, but twins Bob and Mike were no match for Sock and Neal Skupski in men's doubles. Sock and Skupski claimed 20 of their 25 service points, with Sock earning four aces.