Buzz vs. Philadelphia: Venus back in area

Venus Williams trails her sister, Serena, 6-2, in Grand Slam finals against each other, but they’ll

Venus Williams trails her sister, Serena, 6-2, in Grand Slam finals against each other, but they’ll be tied in Capital Region appearances tonight when Venus and the Philadelphia Freedoms face the New York Buzz at UAlbany’s SEFCU Arena.

Williams will play a local match for the second time in the last four years, after playing in Central Park before a sold-out crowd in 2006.

Serena Williams played with the Washington Kastles at the Washington Avenue Armory in Albany last year, and sold out Central Park with Delaware in 2000.

“They love playing team tennis, pure and simple, and they’re an inspiration to the whole league,” Buzz general manager Nitty Singh said.

Venus, a seven-time Grand Slam singles champion, including five Wimbledons, is coming off a 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 loss to her sister in the Wimbledon final on Saturday.

She joined her Philadelphia team­mates in time to play three sets in a win over Washington on Tuesday, beating Olga Puchkova, 5-2, and winning mixed doubles with former Buzz player Nathan Healey and women’s doubles with Lisa Raymond.

Singh said she couldn’t bear to watch the Wimbledon final, because she’s so attached to both sisters.

“You love both of them,” she said. “I believe they’re carrying all of women’s tennis on their shoulders, right now, and they’re capable of doing it.”

There were still plenty of seats available as of Wednesday evening.

The Buzz are opening the SEFCU Arena to its fullest capacity, 3,500, for this match.

Of Williams’ seven Grand Slam singles titles, five came at Wimbledon. Since 2000, the sisters have won that tournament every year except 2004 and 2006.

“She played so well the whole tournament. So, fine, next year, Venus will win it,” Singh said.

The Buzz will have another new player, Tennys Sandgren, of Gallatin, Tenn., to replace Evan King, who was hit in the eye by a ball that glanced off his racket during warmups on Monday and was taken to the emergency room.

Doctors have told him he’ll be out for a month, so his Buzz season is over before it even got started.

His eyesight has returned to normal, Singh said, but he’ll be in town for a few more days because the doctors don’t want his eye to be subjected to air pressure changes during air travel.

In the Wimbledon junior tourn­ament, Sandgren defeated Adrien Puget of France, 6-3, 6-3, before losing to Filip Horansky of the Slovak Republic, 3-6, 7-6 (10), 6-4, in the round of 32.

“His weakest surface is grass, but on the other three, he’s very, very good,” Singh said.

The Buzz, 1-3 after losing to the New York Sportimes, 23-8, Wednesday night, are trying to hold their own in World TeamTennis despite fielding a team of juniors and having to scramble to put together a roster on a nightly basis.

Substitutes had to be found for drafted players who came back late from Wimbledon, and then the Buzz had to deal with King’s injury.

Sandgren is expected to be able to play most, if not all, of the Buzz’s remaining matches.

“As far as them being capable of being competitive, you can see it,” Singh said.

Sloane Stephens and Sandgren won the only set for the Buzz against the Sportimes, 5-3, over Christina Fusano and Jesse Witten, who were subsituted in for Abigail Spears and Robert Kendrick, respectively.

Kendrick and Spears gave the Sportimes a 10-1 lead in singles before the Buzz pulled within 13-6 in mixed doubles.

Kendrick and Witten closed out the match by blanking Alex Dom­ijan and Sandgren.

New York Sportimes 23, New York Buzz 8

Men’s singles: Robert Kendrick (NYS) def. Alex Domijan, 5-1. Women’s singles: Abigail Spears (NYS) def. Sloane Stephens, 5-0. Mixed doubles: Stephens/Tennys Sandgren (NYB) def. Christina Fusano/Jesse Witten, 5-3. Women’s doubles: Fusano-Spears (NYS) def. Stephens/Allie Will, 5-2. Men’s doubles: Kendrick/Witten (NYS) def. Domijan/Sandgren, 5-0.

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