Credit all photos to Pat Mosquera
The San Diego Aviators defeated the Orange County Breakers 25-14 to win their first Mylan World TeamTennis championshipon Friday in the Mylan WTT Finals presented by Citi at historic Forest Hills Stadium at The West Side Tennis Club.
Darija Jurak (doubles, mixed doubles), Shelby Rogers (women’s singles, doubles) and Raven Klaasen (doubles, mixed doubles) each won two events to lead the top-seeded Aviators.
However it may have been Ryan Harrison who had the most impressive feat of the day. For Harrison, the league’s Male MVP, it was a double victory, as he also qualified for the US Open earlier in the day, dismissing Henri Laaksonen to earn a spot in the main draw. He then made the short drive across the borough of Queens to contribute to Coach John Lloyd’s team in winning the King Trophy.
"You're trying not to get ahead of yourself," said Harrison of his unique morning-afternoon twin-bill. "You're focusing completely on your match, but in the back of your mind you'd like to win quickly. I tried to focus in on my service games, get ahead and put them away."
Klaasen, ranked No. 10 in doubles on the ATP World Tour, was named the Mylan WTT Finals MVP presented by Forevermark for his performance. Klaasen, who was presented with a Forevermark diamond after the match, teamed up with Jurak and Harrison to post a pair of 5-2 wins in mixed doubles and men’s doubles.
“It feels really nice to get the MVP award but it feels a bit undeserving because our whole team played very well,” said Klaasen who credited team chemistry with their success. “We were apart for four days and when we saw each other again last night, it felt like we had been apart for a year. Our team chemistry has been great. We will friends for the rest of our lives.”
Jurak and Klaasen began the afternoon with a 5-2 mixed doubles triumph over the Breakers’ Alla Kudryavtseva and Scott Lipsky. Then Rogers and Nicole Gibbs battled it out in women’s singles, with Rogers upending Gibbs, 5-2, for a 10-4 Aviators advantage.
“It’s different playing for your team than just singles for myself,” said Rogers after the singles win, in which she rallied from down 1-2 and facing a game point in what may have been the turning point of the match.
Next was men’s doubles, with the duo of Harrison and Klaasen extending the Aviators’ advantage to a commanding 15-6 with another 5-2 set triumph, over Scott Lipsky and Dennis Novikov. Women’s doubles was next, with Rogers and Jurak teaming to topple Gibbs and Kudryavtseva by that same 5-2 score.
Men's singles completed the day, as the Breakers’ Dennis Novikov salvaged the only set win, 5-4, to keep Orange County alive, Harrison then closed out the championship by winning the second Extended Play game. League co-founder Billie Jean King and Mylan WTT CEO/Commissioner Ilana Kloss presented the Aviators, including team owners Fred Luddy and Jack McGrory, with the their first King Trophy.
Winning the title at Forest Hills Stadium was also special for Lloyd who was named as the 2016 Mylan WTT Coach of the Year earlier this month.
"It brings a lot of memories back; I played back in the US Open when it was on grass and clay," added Lloyd, in his second year at the helm of the new champions. "In fact on this court I lost to the great Bjorn Borg. It was nice to play on this beautiful court. To come back and win this title was great."
Mylan World TeamTennis Finals presented by Citi
SAN DIEGO AVIATORS def. Orange County Breakers 25-14 (EP)
Mixed Doubles - Darija Jurak\Raven Klaasen (Aviators) def. Alla Kudryavtseva\Scott Lipsky (Breakers) 5-2
Women's Singles - Shelby Rogers (Aviators) def. Nicole Gibbs (Breakers) 5-2
Men's Doubles - Ryan Harrison\Raven Klaasen (Aviators) def. Scott Lipsky\Dennis Novikov (Breakers) 5-2
Women's Doubles - Darija Jurak\Shelby Rogers (Aviators) def. Nicole Gibbs\Alla Kudryavtseva (Breakers) 5-2
Men's Singles - Dennis Novikov (Breakers) def. Ryan Harrison (Aviators) 5-4
Extended Play - Men's Singles - Ryan Harrison (Aviators) tied Dennis Novikov (Breakers) 1-1