Nathan Healey of the New York Buzz stepped to the baseline, bounced the tennis ball twice, then tossed it high overhead. His knees bent, his racket cocked and then he sprang, driving the ball into the service box.
Christina Fusano of the Delaware Smash reached out and blocked the ball as best she could, but her return dropped weakly into the net, and the last home match of the World TeamTennis season ended with the Buzz winning, 25-9, Wednesday night at the Washington
“It’s been quite a ride, these last few matches,” said Healey. “It’s
really been a great experience and a lot of fun, and of course, I’m playing with such great people.”
Up next are the WTT playoffs in Roseville, Calif., which begin tonight with Sacramento playing Boston. The winner meets Kansas City in one semifinal on Friday night, and the Buzz play the New York Sportimes in the other Saturday at 10 p.m. The final is Sunday at 4 p.m.
The team was loose, having fun at its last home match. The Buzz have already clinched a playoff spot, but their play didn’t show it. Gabriela Navratilova and Yaroslava
Shvedova opened the match with an impressive 5-0 women’s doubles win.
“We opened up with an early lead, so we were just trying to have some fun after that,” said Patrick Briaud. “It’s just been a great season, even the indoor [venue] is nice. The sound kind of reverberates off the ceiling, and it makes for a good atmosphere.”
Shvedova had a tough time in the following set of women’s singles. After two double faults, she hit a backhand wide and lost her serve. Down, 1-4, She drove a backhand down the line, which Madison Brengle popped up, setting
Shvedova up for an overhead smash crosscourt for a break to get back on serve.
“I was a little bit sleepy. I don’t know, something was wrong,” said Shvedova. “I was again down, but I just come back.”
Shvedova battled to a tiebreak, where the two women traded points until one final point was left to decide the set. Brengle served, Shvedova returned hard crosscourt and they rallied. Finally, Shvedova overpowered Brengle with a hard backhand crosscourt to win the set, 5-4.
“Everything has been great, the fans stuck with us the whole season,” said Healey. “Its nice to end the season on a high note.”
Healey took care of men’s singles with an overpowering serve. He beat Smash player Chris Haggard, 5-2, and racked up four aces.
In mixed doubles, coach Jay Udwadia cycled through all four of his players in sort of a showcase for the home crowd. The set was an entire team effort and the Buzz were able to put away the Smash, 5-3.
“We’re focusing on the playoffs now,” said Udwadia. “We’re just going to have to play with a lot of energy and stay healthy.”
In the last set, men’s doubles, the Smash traded out Haggard and brought in Fusano, and the Buzz rolled through the match, winning, 5-0.