July 10, 2009

Serena / Washington Kastles defeat Boston

Fresh off of her Wimbledon wins (singles and doubles), Serena helped her Washington Kastles (World Tennis Team) defeat the Boston Lobsters, 24-17, at Middleton's Ferncroft Country Club on July 9. "I think the level is very intense. Last year I was more nervous at Team Tennis than I was at Wimbledon," said Serena, just five days after defeating Venus at Wimbledon's ladies singles final. "I feel a little pressure. You're not just playing for yourself, you're playing for your team and your teammates and every game counts. It's not the easiest thing, that's for sure."

Regular Lobsters player Jan-Michael Gambill beat the Kastles' Scott Oudsema, 5-4 (games are scored to four points, and each "set" is won by five games) to kick off the match. Then, it was Serena time.

She went up against returning Lobster player Raquel Kops-Jones and gave up just 13 total points while winning 5-2. It was the first time Serena had played Kops-Jones and she had high praise for the 2008 U.S. Open doubles quarterfinalist. "I think she's good - she's a fighter, she runs well and she has a great return," said Serena. "Never played her before," added Kops-Jones, of Williams. "I didn't know what to expect, but I knew she'd be tough and she was - she played hard and fast. I think I had a few chances and I didn't execute, but overall I'm happy with how I performed."

Williams joined up with 2009 French Open doubles champion (with Lukas Dlouhy) Leander Paes in the mixed doubles match for the night. They faced Kops-Jones and first-year Lobster James Auckland and came up with a 5-3 victory. During the break Williams danced a little to the young duo of Topsfield's Michael and Marisa, with Michael playing guitar and singing and Marisa on drums and she also sang. Following the break, Serena had her last match of the night, joining Rennae Stubbs, who won four Grand Slam doubles titles in the early 2000s. They faced Kops-Jones and another first-year Lobster, Stephanie Foretz, and came up with the 5-1 victory.

Serena was glad to have the chance to play in such a small venue. "I look at the stadium and see how intimate it is," said Serena, of the Ferncroft facility. "It's so small, your fans are so close to you, they get to know a sense of how you play, who you are - it's awesome, i love it." This time, the 22-time Grand Slam champion and two-time Olympic Gold medalist wasn't nervous, either. "I wasn't nervous after all, I felt good," said Serena, just before meeting and signing autographs for fans after the match. "It was a good day, a really good day."

No comments: