Venus and Kastles Win Another WTT Title
Charles E. Sutton | 9/19/2012, 4 p.m.
Venus Williams helped Washington even the score, then defeated Coco Vandeweghe in a last-game tiebreaker as the Kastles finished their second consecutive undefeated championship World Team Tennis season with a 20-19 win over Sacramento on Sunday.
The victory capped a long, difficult season for Williams, who has learned to play while living with the auto-immune disease, Sjrogren's syndrome, that kept her sidelined from September 2011 through last March.
Williams felt confident, fit, and ready to do whatever was necessary to succeed.
"I really felt like I came out on fire in all my matches," said Williams, who was named the WTT finals MVP.
Williams was able to get lots of work at the Family Circle Tennis Center to wrap up the Kastles second straight 16-0 season and third championship in four years.
She and teammate Anastasia Rodionova won the women's doubles match to give Washington an 8-6 lead. After Sacramento won the men's doubles match to go ahead 11-10, Williams and Leander Paes won the mixed doubles competition in a last-game tiebreaker and sent the championship into a final women's singles match tied at 15.
Vandeweghe broke Williams' serve to go ahead 3-2, but Williams broke right back, and the match ultimately went to the WTT's best-of-9, super tiebreaker. Vandeweghe got off to a quick 2-0 lead, and Washington called timeout. Paes trotted over and chatted with the seven-time Grand Slam champion.
"I just told her she's one of the greatest of all time," Paes said. "Go have fun and hit your shots."
That's exactly what Williams did, winning the next five points, which included an ace down the middle to set up match point. When Vandeweghe's final forehand went long, Washington's celebration began. Williams was swarmed by teammates before doing her happy dance, much to the delight of the fans.
Don't confuse Williams' moves with the "Crip Walk" steps sister Serena did at the London Olympics.
"I have my own little combo," Venus Williams said. "The Venus combo."
The 32-year-old Williams has struggled to regain the singles form that won her two U.S. Open and five Wimbledon titles. But she's taken satisfaction, she said, in winning group ventures, like teaming with Serena to capture a gold medal in Olympic doubles in London and helping the Kastles to grab another WTT title.
"It's my first World Team Tennis title in 12 years," she said. "It's amazing."