The San Diego Aviators’ season concluded this weekend in Las Vegas with a semi-final loss to the eventual champions, the Springfield Lasers.
No. 3 seed San Diego had closed the season with five straight victories, until facing Springfield, which defended their title. The Aviators finished the season 9-6.
San Diego had shown positive signs Friday in the race for World Team Tennis’ King Trophy, as Arina Rodionova led 4-2 against Springfield’s Olga Govortsova.
But Govortsova rallied to force a tiebreak and take the set, 5-4, handing the Lasers the 21-19 victory.
The Lasers went on to edge the New York Empire, 20-19, in Saturday’s championship.
The final set opened with five consecutive service breaks before Rodionova, the 2011 female Rookie of the Year and team tennis Finals MVP, held serve. Govortsova, who is playing in her second season in the league, won the final two games and scored four of the final five points in the tiebreak.
The Lasers opened the match with a 5-3 win in men’s doubles as Robert Lindstedt and Evan Song outlasted James Ward and Jonny O’Mara.
The Aviators returned the favor in the second set, which saw Rodionova and Anna-Lena Groenefeld win the final three games to top Springfield. After falling behind 3-2, Rodionova and Groenefeld broke serve twice to close out the set and tie the match 8-8.
The Lasers appeared to take the momentum by winning the last four games of their mixed doubles match against Groenefeld and O’Mara. They took the third set, 5-2, to give Springfield a 13-10 lead.
Ward and Song held serve over the first seven games in men’s singles. But Ward overpowered Song for a service break and brought the Aviators within one point.
“It was a tremendous fight, we came back so well in the last two sets,” San Diego coach John Lloyd said. “Today though, if you analyze the match, it was really a case of the Lasers playing the big points better than we did.”
The Aviators last won the championship trophy for three years ago. The team made it to the semi-final after completing its home games in Carlsbad Wednesday.
– Staff reports
>> Subscribe to Times of San Diego’s free daily email newsletter! Click hereFollow Us: