WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV (WOAY) – One of the mottos for World TeamTennis has been that “every game matters. Every point matters.”
Sunday’s championship proved to be a textbook definition of that saying, with the New York Empire winning a super tiebreaker 7-6 over the Chicago Smash to win the match 21-20 and clinch the 2020 WTT title at the Greenbrier.
The Empire, who upset the top-seeded Philadelphia Freedoms in Saturday’s semifinal, started the match brightly, with Jack Sock & Neal Skupski winning the men’s doubles set 5-2. Sock would continue that momentum with Coco Vandeweghe in mixed doubles, extending New York’s lead to 10-6.
If there were any thoughts from those in the crowd that New York would run away with the match, they quickly went away as Brandon Nakashima defeated Sock 5-0 in men’s singles. That was followed by Sloane Stephens edging Vandeweghe 5-3 in women’s singles to put Chicago in front 16-13.
While Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Eugenie Bouchard started the women’s doubles set in strong fashion for the Smash, Vandeweghe and Nicole Melichar rallied to force extended play, and ultimately a super tiebreaker. The 13-point tiebreaker required one team to reach seven points, and with no rule that it must be won by a two-point margin, it seemed perhaps appropriate that the tiebreaker reached 6-6 before one point to decide the match, and the champion.
With Stephens serving (having been subbed on for Bouchard), Vandeweghe’s return clipped the baseline, and while Chicago would challenge, a review would show the return was in play, sealing the win for the Empire.
Vandeweghe and Sock shared MVP honors, as the league crowned a new champion following a three-week marathon of matches in White Sulphur Springs.