Domijan seals Buzz’s overtime victory

The New York Buzz and Kansas City Explorers met on the biggest stage of World TeamTennis almost one

The New York Buzz and Kansas City Explorers met on the biggest stage of World TeamTennis almost one year ago — the WTT Finals.

Although the stakes weren’t as high Thursday night when the two teams battled it out at SEFCU Arena, there were signs of championship-caliber play.

Alex Domijan edged out Mike Russell, 4-3 in overtime, as the Buzz knocked off the Explorers, 20-18.

First-year head coach Roger Smith said his choice to have Dom­ijan anchor the match was crucial.

“He said, ‘I live for this.’ and I told him to bring it home,” said Smith. “He came through, and I’m just happy for him.”

Russell forced overtime with a 5-3 victory over Domijan in men’s singles, which proved to be the marquee event of the night. Russell used an all-around attack to build an early lead, but Domijon battled back using a pair of aces to make it 4-3. Russell forced overtime when he smashed a shot up the line, and Domijan buried it into the net.

The falter down the stretch for the Buzz did not deter Domijan, who came out firing on all cylinders to seal the match in overtime.

“I was serving, and that makes it a lot different,” he said. “I was pretty confident.”

The Buzz (4-5) went into the intermission with a 15-8 lead, but saw that quickly dwindle, as Dusan Vemic and Russell dominated Domijan and Ryan Lipman in men’s doubles, 5-1.

The Buzz couldn’t do anything with Vemic’s hard serve except block it back, leaving several golden opportunities for Kansas City. The Explorers ran off eight straight points during the second and third games, and proceeded to break both Domijan and Lipman to seal the event.

Smith was proud of the way his young players responded on the court.

“That’s what it’s all about, playing under pressure situations,” he said. “That’s how these kids are going to grow. A situation like this you have to overcome.

Domijan seemed to have stolen the show from Sloane Stephens, who knocked off tennis legends Venus Williams in singles and Martina Navratilova in doubles this past week, with his own dramatic overtime victory.

“I didn’t know what to expect with all this [World TeamTennis],” said the 6-foot-7 Domijan. “It’s really different. You have to play quick; you can’t work your way into it.”

Stephens continued her torrid play with a 5-3 victory over Eugenie Bouchard in women’s singles.

Domijan and Stephens started the night out with a thrilling victory in a tiebreaker over the duo of Vemic and Lindsay Lee-Waters in mixed doubles. Both teams held serve during eight back-and-forth games, forcing a nine-point tiebreaker.

The Buzz host the Springfield Lasers tonight in their final home game at 7:30 p.m.

Mixed doubles — Alex Domijan-Sloane Stephens def. Duasn Vemic-Lindsay Lee-Waters, 5-4. Women’s doubles — Stephens-Mallory Burdette def. Eugenie Bouchard -Lee-Waters, 5-1. Women’s singles — Stephens def. Bouchard, 5-3. Men’s doubles — Vemic-Mike Russell def. Domijan/Ryan Lipman, 5-1. Men’s singles — Russell def. Domijan, 5-3.

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