Strings Beat Raleigh for TeamTennis Title

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Los Angeles Strings ended the first decade of TeamTennis the same way they began it--by winning the league championship.

The Strings, winners of the 1981 title, won four of five sets and defeated the Raleigh Edge, 27-16, Sunday night before an announced crowd of 1,163 at the Forum.

And though no one has announced plans to hang player-coach John Lloyd's shirt on the wall with the jerseys of Forum legends such as Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain, the Strings can lay claim to being the only Forum tenant to win a championship in 1990.

The Strings, in fact, were 9-0 this season at the Forum, despite playing before sparse audiences in the cavernous arena.

"We basically dominated the season, but there's always that nagging doubt when it's only one match," said Lloyd, who is in his fourth season with the Strings and was recently voted coach of the year. "To go out there and basically play the best we've played all season is a great performance."

Raleigh was trying to become the first franchise since the Strings to win the TeamTennis title in their first season.

Robin White, the league's most valuable female player this season, teamed with Anne White to defeat Raleigh's Beth Herr and Shaun Stafford, 6-3. White also defeated Stafford, 6-4, in women's singles.

Nick Brown rebounded from a horrible performance in Thursday night's Western Division final against San Antonio's Sammy Giammalva to defeat Raleigh's Tim Wilkison, 6-2.

Against San Antonio, Brown lost four consecutive games to Giammalva before he was replaced by Lloyd. But against Wilkison, Brown lost the first game then won six of the next seven for a 6-2 victory. Brown then teamed with Lloyd to roll past Wilkison and Shelby Cannon, 6-1, increasing the Strings lead to 18-6. It was the 12th consecutive doubles victory for the pair this season.

"The other night, the guy (Giammalva) played top 20 tennis," Brown said. "I wasn't on top of my game and I felt I let the team down.

"Tonight, I was determined to come out and have a good performance. I just went for it."

Raleigh won its only set of the night in mixed doubles, when Wilkison and Stafford beat Lloyd and Robin White, 6-2. Because it was the final set, the match went into overtime, but ended when Lloyd held serve in the first game to give the Strings there final point.

The Strings' victory avenged a 28-18 loss to the Edge July 21 at Raleigh, one of only two losses for the Strings, who finished the regular season with 12 victories.

The Strings earned $4,000 each for the championship. Raleigh players earned $3,000.

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