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Fish Debuts in Empire Home Loss to Kastles

Last night, Mardy Fish made his season debut for the New York Empire. The team has yet to win a game this season and the idea of a new player appeared to be a solution for turning things around.

Before the match, Empire’s Neal Skupski, spoke of his excitement to have Mardy because it is “good to have new energy.” Despite the addition of Fish, Empire still lost handily to the Washington Kastles.

Fish started the evening, playing against fellow American Tennys Sandgren. For those unfamiliar, Tennys (pronounced as the sport he plays), came out of nowhere at the Australian Open, making it to the quarterfinals. The first four game the players traded holds. At 2-2, with Fish serving, Tennys broke Fish in a game that went to a deciding point, for a 2-3 lead.   Tennys then consolidated the break, going up 2-4. Fish came right back and held to make the score 3-4. It appeared that Tennys was posed to serve out the set but Mardy played tough, forced the game to a deciding point, then hit a passing shot to break serve and force a tiebreak. Fish then went on to win the tiebreaker easily 5-1. Giving the Empire the first set 5-4

Next up was women’s singles. Empire’s Tatjana Maria faced off against the Kastles Madison Brengle. It was clear that Madison was looking motivated to getting the set for the Kastles. Brengle dominated from start to finish. Though the players traded many entertaining long rallies, that include, many finesse volleys, Brengle shut out Maria winning the set 5-0.

Fish and Skupski teamed up to face Tennys Sandgren and Robert Lindstedt. Both teams displayed some clutch serving, getting themselves out of dangerous moments. Kastles were the first to draw blood, getting the break to go up 2-3. Like the men’s singles, the Kastles had the opportunity to serve out the set at 3-4 but gave away the game on a double fault.  It was a close tiebreaker that saw both teams execute critical volleys. But a great return by Sandgren gave the Kastles the mini-breaking allowing them to come through and win the set 4-5.

Women’s doubles were just as competitive as the men’s doubles. Tatjana Maria and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez battled against Madison Brengle and Nicole Melichar. Both teams were strong in their serving and groundstrokes, avoiding breaks. The set came down to a tiebreaker. The Kastles got the edge getting a 1-3 start. With only two points from the set, it appeared Empire was out for the count. But then they fought back with defensive tenacity to level it at 3-3. In the end, the Kastles were too solid. Melichar was clutch for the Kastles, hitting a deft drop volley to give the Kastles a 4-3 lead and then hitting a return ace. The Kastles won the set 4-5.

By that point, the Kastles had all the momentum and went on to win the last event of the evening, mixed doubles, handily. The team of Lindstedt and Melichar dominated Skupski Martinez Sanchez jumping to a 4-0 lead. Empire did manage to hold and even got to a deciding point on the Kastles serve but came up short. Kastles closed out the set 1-5.

The final score was 14-24, in favor of the Washington Kastles.

Empire’s next home match is Wednesday, July 25 against the Springfield Lasers.

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