Breakers fall to Wild

IRVINE — With eight professional tennis players in the house, eight children still put on one of the best performances Monday night at Bren Events Center.

Children from the Center Stage Studio of Aliso Viejo, ages 8 to 10, performed at halftime of the Orange County Breakers' match against the Texas Wild. The kids, dressed in all black, captivated the crowd as they performed to music from Gwen Stefani and Justin Timberlake.

The kids stole the show, but the Wild stole the Mylan World Team Tennis match.

Alex Bogomolov, Jr. defeated Orange County's Steve Johnson in a men's singles tiebreaker to end the match that Texas won, 20-18.

The Breakers (1-1) would have liked to have headed on the road with two wins under their collective belt. Instead, they will begin their trip to play the other three Western Conference teams with a .500 record. They play at Sacramento on Wednesday (Mardy Fish playing for Sacramento), at Texas on Thursday and at Springfield (Andy Roddick) on Friday.

"It's going to be defining, there's no question," Breakers Coach Trevor Kronemann said. "We've got three [Western Conference] teams. We've got Springfield, and we've got Sacramento, who beat [Texas] on [Sunday] night … This is going to be the defining road trip, I think. [They're] matches we need to win and take care of."

Orange County returns home to the Bren on Saturday to play Springfield. That match will also feature Roddick playing for the Lasers, and Billie Jean King will make a special appearance.

Monday's match appeared there for the taking. The Breakers beat Texas in the opening set of the match, men's doubles, as Johnson and Treat Huey topped Bogomolov and Aisam Qureshi, 5-2.

Texas (1-1) won the next two sets. Eugenie Bouchard and Darija Jurak topped Coco Vandeweghe and Maria Elena Camerin, 5-3, in mixed doubles. Then Qureshi and Jurak won in mixed doubles, 5-1.

Behind 12-9, the Breakers and Vandeweghe rallied with a big victory. Vandeweghe, the Newport Beach resident, defeated Bouchard in women's singles, 5-3. Bouchard, a Canadian, is ranked No. 56 on the WTA Tour – 66 spots higher than Vandeweghe.

But Vandeweghe had a chance to win the set even more dominantly. She was a point away, serving at 4-1, before a failed serve-and-volley attempt and a double fault brought the game to 3-3. Bouchard then won the next point, narrowing her deficit to 4-2. She then held for 4-3.

Vandeweghe then served out the next game, winning the set, but the Breakers went into the final men's singles set down, 15-14, instead of up. That proved large at the end of the match.

"I've beaten a lot of good players," Vandeweghe said. "That's the first time I've ever played Eugenie. A win's a win, so it was good playing, especially to win that handily.

"I just played a sloppy game to serve it out. Up [3-1] there's no reason for me to lose that service game. That was a bit unfortunate on my part … but I still served it out. It worked, but I wish I could have given Stevie more of a cushion. "

Vandeweghe said she is enjoying playing for her hometown team. She also enjoys pumping up the crowd, either while on the court or on the bench.

"I grew up in an arena family," said Vandeweghe, whose uncle Kiki and grandfather Ernie both played in the NBA. "When I'm out here, it's funny, because I'm more used to [sports] being with music and noise, and people cheering and heckling. For me, being in a normal tennis environment is a little bit strange. Inside my head, I'm doing all of the same things. But in World Team Tennis, I get to express it a little bit more. I think it's more fun for everybody, including myself."

Vandeweghe definitely rooted on Johnson in that last set. He had chances to break Bogomolov, and even earned a match point. With Bogomolov serving at 3-4 and an 18-18 match score, the game went to game point. But Bogomolov hit a forehand winner to send the set into a tiebreaker.

Bogomolov opened up a 3-0 lead in the nine-point tiebreaker. He eventually won it, 5-2, to clinch the match for the visiting Wild.

" I think Stevie had his chances," Kronemann said. "He had two or three three-all games to break him, and Bogomolov came up with the goods. If you're going to lose a match, that's probably the way you want to lose, if losing is ever fun … It was a great match. They've got a great team. We'll see them three more times, twice in Texas and once here."

Monday also was the Breakers' high school night. Members of the Newport Harbor High girls' tennis team were recognized at halftime and took a picture with the Breakers.

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