World TeamTennis 2020 Semifinals Set After July 30 Results

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 30, 2020

United States' Christina McHale hits a forehand return to Croatia's Petra Martic during their first round singles match the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Andy Brownbill/Associated Press

The 2020 World TeamTennis playoffs are set, with the final day of the regular season serving as a tuneup for Saturday's semifinals.

The New York Empire claimed the final postseason berth on Wednesday following their 21-19 win over the Orange County Breakers and the Washington Kastles' 19-16 loss to the Vegas Rollers.

Here's where things stood entering Thursday:

  • No. 1 Philadelphia Freedoms (11-2)
  • No. 2 Orlando Storm (9-4)
  • No. 3 Chicago Smash (9-4)
  • No. 4 New York Empire (7-6)

The Empire's encounter with the Freedoms to close out Thursday will serve as a semifinal preview.

           

2020 World TeamTennis Results: July 30

San Diego Aviators def. Chicago Smash, 23-22

Springfield Lasers def. Orange County Breakers, 21-19

Orlando Storm def. Washington Kastles, 25-15

Philadelphia Freedoms def. New York Empire, 23-17

            

Springfield Lasers 21, Orange County Breakers 19

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In the only match pitting non-playoff teams against one another, the Springfield Lasers wrapped up their season with a two-point win over the Breakers.

Steve Johnson could have pushed the match into extended play, and he nearly did in his five-set men's singles clash with Mitchell Krueger. On the final point, Johnson watched his backhand return sail long and immediately sank to his knees out of frustration.

Springfield also picked up wins in women's doubles (Catherine McNally, Olga Govortsova and Hayley Carter) and mixed doubles (McNally and Robert Lindstedt).

             

San Diego Aviators 23, Chicago Smash 22

The Smash are going in the wrong direction as they prepare for the postseason. Chicago suffered its third loss in a row after a one-point defeat to the last-place Aviators.

Christina McHale and Kveta Peschke forced extended play after taking the women's doubles set and immediately tied the overall score to set up a supertiebreaker.

To secure the victory, McHale and Peschke needed to best Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Eugenie Bouchard for a third time. On match point, Peschke easily put away a forehand volley to complete their comeback.

The first three frames—all of which were determined by 5-4 scores—set the tone for what proved to be a dramatic match. Ryan Harrison helped San Diego avoid what would've been an 0-3 hole to get things started. Given the outcome, his set win over Brandon Nakashima proved to be pivotal. 

Orlando Storm 25, Washington Kastles 15

The Kastles' postseason hopes were dashed in a disappointing 25-15 blowout loss to the Storm on Thursday.

Orlando swept all five sets, with Washington winning four points only once. Jessica Pegula twice got the better of Venus Williams, first in a 5-3 win in their singles set and then in mixed doubles alongside Darija Jurak. 

Tennys Sandgren finished things off for Orlando with a 5-2 win in men's singles over Tommy Paul. The Storm have reeled off seven straight victories heading into the playoffs.

The Kastles lost their last two matchups to end the regular season a game out of the postseason.

Philadelphia Freedoms 23, New York Empire 17

The Freedoms got a good look at their first-round playoff opponent, earning an impressive 23-17 win to close the regular season at a league-best 12-2.

Taylor Fritz scored a 5-1 win over Ulises Blanche in men's singles and teamed with Fabrice Martin for a 5-3 victory over Blanche and Neal Skupski in doubles action.

CoCo Vandeweghe did help push the Empire to victories in the women's side, defeating Sofia Kenin in singles action and playing alongside Nicole Melichar in a doubles win over Kenin and Caroline Dolehide. Those wins came only by a 5-4 margin, however, so New York could not close the gap.

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