Empire vs. Smash Set for World TeamTennis 2020 Final After Semi Results

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistAugust 2, 2020

Jack Sock, of the United States, follows through on a return to Radu Albot, of Moldova, during the Delray Beach Open tennis tournament, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, in Delray Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

The 2020 World TeamTennis final is set, with the New York Empire challenging the Chicago Smash following Saturday's semifinal results. 

The Empire came into the semis looking for revenge against the Philadelphia Freedoms. The two teams met in the final match of the regular season Thursday, with the Freedoms cruising to a 23-17 victory. 

New York took control early and held on for the 22-18 win. Chicago entered the playoffs having lost three straight games, but it had no problems Saturday in a 24-13 win over the Orlando Storm. 

           

2020 World TeamTennis Final Schedule

Date: Sunday, Aug. 2

Start Time: Noon ET

Watch: CBS

            

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2020 World TeamTennis Semifinal Results

New York Empire def. Philadelphia Freedoms 22-18

Chicago Smash def. Orlando Storm 24-13

       

New York Empire 22, Philadelphia Freedoms 18

Jack Sock and Neal Skupski set the pace for New York right out of the gate with a 5-3 win over Taylor Fritz and Fabrice Martin in the men's doubles match. 

Philadelphia put the pressure right back on the Empire in the next match. Sofia Kenin knocked off CoCo Vandeweghe 5-4 in a tiebreaker. Neither player was at her best with three double-faults each, though Kenin did close out the match with a terrific backhand winner:

Leading by one heading into the third match, the Empire gave themselves plenty of cushion thanks to the dynamic duo of Sock and Vandeweghe in mixed doubles. They took five of six games against Fritz and Taylor Townsend. 

After the Freedoms got another match win in women's doubles (5-3), the focus turned to Sock and Fritz in men's singles to determine the winner. 

Trailing 4-3, Sock sent the match into a tiebreak with one of his three aces:

Sock closed out the match and sent New York into the final with a 5-3 win in the tiebreaker thanks to a forehand winner that Fritz couldn't return. 

This marks the second consecutive year that New York has reached the World TeamTennis final. It fell 20-19 to the Springfield Lasers in 2019.  

                                      

Chicago Smash 24, Orlando Storm 13

The Storm's seven-game winning streak ended thanks in large part to a dazzling doubles display by Chicago's Rajeev Ram and Brandon Nakashima. The pair knocked off Ken Skupski and Tennys Sandgren 5-1 in just 27 minutes. 

Jessica Pegula gave the Storm their only victory in the match when she knocked off Sloane Stephens 5-4 in a tiebreak. 

The Smash quickly turned things around thanks to Bethanie Mattek-Sands' two doubles victories. The four-time Grand Slam doubles champion secured a 5-3 win in mixed doubles with Ram as her partner. She followed that with another 5-3 win alongside Eugenie Bouchard over Pegula and Darija Jurak. 

Heading into the men's singles match with a 19-12 lead, Brandon Nakashima could have taken his foot off the gas for the Storm against Sandgren. The California native instead left no doubt that this was going to be his team's day with an ace on match point:

Sunday's final will mark the third time the Smash and Empire have met in this year's tournament. Chicago won each of the first two matches. Their first meeting went to a supertiebreaker before the Smash prevailed 22-21 on July 17. 

Chicago had an easier go of things with a 21-16 victory July 25. One more win will give the Smash their first title in tournament history. 

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