NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. - Prepared to duel against marquee players in four of their last five home matches of the season entering Sunday, the Newport Beach Breakers put up a brave fight before being edged by World No. 5 and eight-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams and the Washington Kastles, 18-16, at Breakers Stadium at Newport Beach Country Club.
Just over a week removed from Centre Court at Wimbledon, Williams, the Compton, Calif. native, made her only appearance at Newport Beach Country Club. She won the first set (mixed doubles) and the fourth set (women's singles) but was upended in women's doubles by the Breakers' duo of Michaela Pastikova and Lilia Osterloh. "Any time you put someone out there that puts up a plus-6 (in games), that's big. Serena was too good in the singles. We all know what kind of player she is," said Breakers coach Trevor Kronemann.
The Breakers Stadium crowd received instant gratification as Williams took the court for the opening set, partnering with Kevin Kim in mixed doubles. Williams, arguably the hardest hitting, most physical presence on the WTA Tour, had Breakers' rookie Kaes Van't Hof breathing a sigh of relief as she smoked a swinging volley past him in the third game. The Kastles (4-3) went on to win the set over Van't Hof and Osterloh, 5-2. Williams' 5-0 set victory in women's singles, the fourth set of the night, put the Kastles up 13-12 heading into the decisive set.