PHILADELPHIA FREEDOMS OUTLAST NEW YORK EMPIRE, 21-17
NEW YORK (July 18, 2018) – The first-place Philadelphia Freedoms showed no signs of slowing down, outlasting the New York Empire presented by Citi, 21-17, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Wednesday night.
New York Empire head coach Gigi Fernandez set the tone of the match by choosing to have her men’s doubles team take the court for the first set. The two teams exchanged points and games like heavyweight boxers exchange blows. The Freedoms duo of Kevin King and Fabrice Martin snuck past New York’s Dennis Novikov and Neal Skupski in a first-set tiebreaker, scoring a 5-4 set win.
Taylor Townsend kept the momentum moving for the Freedoms coasting to a 5-0 women’s singles set win. Down 4-0, Fernandez substituted Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez for Tatjana Maria in hopes of slowing down Townsend, but it was not in the books.
Martinez Sanchez and Skupski seemed to turn things around for the Empire in the mixed-doubles set winning, 5-2, and bringing the score to 12-9. The Empire’s women’s doubles team fought to claim the fourth set, 5-4, after forcing the second tiebreaker of the evening and narrowing the score to 16-14.
Novikov returned to the court for the men’s singles and final set against the Freedoms’ King needing to win at least two more games than King to force extended play. King broke Novikov’s serve in the seventh game paving the way for the Freedoms to claim the set and match for their third straight victory, 21-17. The Empire falls to 0-3 on the season.
|Philadelphia Freedoms at New York Empire Box Score|
|New York Empire||4||0||5||5||3||17|
Men’s Doubles: King/Martin (PHL) def. Novikov/Skupski (NYE), 5-4
Women’s Singles: Townsend (PHL) def. Maria/Martinez Sanchez (NYE), 5-0
Mixed Doubles: Martinez Sanchez/Skupski (NYE) def. Martin/Townsend (PHL), 5-2
Women’s Doubles: Maria/Martinez Sanchez (NYE) def. Raquel Atawo/Townsend (PHL), 5-4
Men’s Singles: King (PHL) def. Novikov (NYE), 5-3
A special ceremony was held at halftime of the match honoring women who have and continue to inspire young women. Honorees included:
- Kym Hampton – Former member of the WNBA’s New York Liberty
- Gigi Fernandez – International Tennis Hall of Famer and New York Empire Head Coach
- Karen Finerman – CEO at Metropolitan Capital Advisors
- Jenny Johnson – President and COO at Franklin Templeton Investments
- Billie Jean King – Co-Founder, World TeamTennis; Founder, Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative; Champion for equality and social justice
- Ilana Kloss – Commissioner of World TeamTennis
- Joanna Lohman – Midfielder for the NWSL’s Washington Spirit and former member of the U.S. Women’s National Team
- Elana Meyers Taylor – Three-time Olympic Bobsled Medalist and Women’s Sports Foundation President-Elect
- Michelle Yu – Sportscaster at SportsNet New York
The New York Empire visit the Springfield (Mo.) Lasers on Thursday and host the San Diego Aviators on Friday, July 20 at 7:00 p.m. on Court 17 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.