Breakers in need of rest

NEWPORT BEACH — The Washington Kastles came into town and showed why they have the best record in World Team Tennis.

The Newport Beach Breakers came back into town and looked like a team that was playing its seventh match in seven nights.

Washington controlled from the outset Monday night despite the presence of the Breakers' homegrown marquee player, Taylor Dent, a former Corona del Mar High standout. The Kastles won the first four sets of the night and cruised to a 21-13 overtime victory at The Tennis Club Newport Beach.

The Breakers (3-4), who have lost three straight matches, remain in second place in the Western Conference halfway through their season. The top two teams in each conference make the playoffs.

Another positive is that Newport Beach finally gets a day off Tuesday, its first since the season began.

"It's the end of the brutal part of our season, and we've got a very good team," Coach Trevor Kronemann said. "I think we've still got a shot. We've hit a little bit of a slide here at 3-4, but I think we'll end stronger than we've started."

Monday's loss was easily the most lopsided of the season. Washington (6-0) jumped on the Breakers early even as Dent played in the first two sets. Dent, a former pro who won the CIF Individuals singles title as a freshman at CdM in 1996, has been at The Tennis Club often lately running his tennis academy he started in January.

But he fell to the Kastles' Bobby Reynolds, 5-2, in the first set of the night before he and Lester Cook were blanked by Reynolds and Leander Paes, 5-0, in men's doubles.

"Bobby played great, and I helped him play great at times," Dent said. "You lose it fast. My first competitive sets were [Sunday], since I retired eight months ago. It's tough. I felt like I was hitting the ball OK when I didn't have to move. If he pulled me out of the center, I was really struggling … But, you know, I'm retired now. It's only going to be frustrating for tonight."

Washington continued dominating in mixed doubles, as Rennae Stubbs and Leander Paes defeated Cook and Marie-Eve Pelletier, 5-3. Not that there was any shame in that; Paes and Stubbs have combined to win 18 Grand Slam doubles titles.

The domination continued in women's doubles, where the Breakers' Anne Keothavong and Pelletier lost to Stubbs and Arina Rodionova, 5-2. As women's singles started, the Breakers trailed 20-7.

Keothavong, who is No. 2 in the league in women's singles, defeated Rodionova, 5-0, to send the match into overtime. But she still would have had to win eight straight games to send it to a super-tiebreaker.

Keothavong won the first game of overtime but her serve was broken in the second, ending the match.

After the day off Tuesday, the Breakers play host to Kansas City on Wednesday.

That match will feature Bob and Mike Bryan, the world No. 1 doubles team fresh off a victory at Wimbledon, playing for the Explorers.

The Breakers are also off Thursday. Kronemann said they'll get four straight nights in their own beds, which should rejuvenate them for the home stretch.

"I think we've got a playoff team," Kronemann said.

"Now we're just going to have to take advantage of our days off in between [matches]. We've got one last stretch at the end that's four nights in a row, and that's going to be very important … It's all doable."

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