Breakers show fight, but fall to Capitals

NEWPORT BEACH — Lester Cook has been a rock at men's singles for the Newport Beach Breakers.

Heading into the Breakers' match Monday night, he had won the event in the Breakers' last four World Team Tennis matches. And there was no shame in the first match, when he was edged, 5-4, by former star Michael Chang.

But sometimes even the Breakers' new fan favorite can only do so much.

Sacramento's Dusan Vemic took the set Monday night at The Tennis Club Newport Beach in a tiebreaker. It was one of three tiebreakers the Breakers lost as they competed but lost all five sets in falling to their rivals, 25-18.

The six-game deficit headed into the men's singles set proved too much to overcome and Breakers Coach Trevor Kronemann said he thought fatigue showed a bit for his team.

"We had beat Sacramento seven or eight times in a row," Kronemann said. "I'm not going to duck it. I think we were a little tired, a little beat up tonight. We had to travel back from the Midwest and we got in about 2:30 [this afternoon]. But my hat's off to Sacramento. They played good, solid tennis and they want to stay in the hunt, stay in the race. They did what they had to do tonight."

The Breakers (3-3) missed a chance to be alone in first place in the Western Conference. They are a half-game behind both Kansas City and St. Louis.

Newport Beach has been behind heading into Cook's men's singles set in all three of its home matches. Cook was only able to rally the team in the home opener win against the Capitals (3-3), when he beat Vemic, 5-2. This time the Serbian exacted some revenge.

For the second straight home match, the Breakers lost their first four sets, although all were close. But they lost the first tiebreaker in men's doubles, where Cook and David Martin fell to Vemic and Brett Joelson, 5-4 (5-2 in the tiebreaker).

Vania King beat the Breakers' Julie Ditty, 5-3, in women's singles. And then the Breakers lost another tiebreaker in mixed doubles, as Cook and Marie-Eve Pelletier fell to Vemic and King despite several highlight-reel shots by Pelletier.

King and Riza Zalameda were too much for Pelletier and Ditty, 5-3, in women's doubles. Pelletier and Ditty had defeated them, 5-1, the first time they played in Newport Beach, but Pelletier said the Capitals duo switched sides this time.

"I think they were prepared for that match," Pelletier said of King, one half of the 2010 Wimbledon women's doubles champions, and her partner. "They changed sides and they had a very specific game style."

The Capitals (3-3), who had fallen to the Breakers in the teams' two previous meetings, took a 20-14 lead into the final set.

"We had a chance to win every set but we didn't win any," Pelletier said. "The good thing is that we have a chance to play them again [tonight] and get revenge. I think today we were maybe a little tired from the traveling. We had a tough weekend."

The Breakers are at Sacramento tonight and return home Thursday for their first marquee player match of the season, against the St. Louis Aces on Susan G. Komen for the Cure Ladies Night. Former world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport will be playing for the Aces and will also be present in a pre-match women's tennis clinic, also featuring Billie Jean King. The Aces are coached by former Breaker Rick Leach.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Komen Orange County chapter.

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