2013 Mylan WTT Conference Championships: Western Preview

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Springfield's Jean-Julien Rojer and Alisa Kleybanova have been two of the best doubles players in the league; can they bring it when it counts against Texas Wild? (Photo: CameraWorkUSA).

presented by GEICO
#2 Texas Wild (9-5) vs. #1 SPRINGFIELD LASERS (9-5)
July 25, 7:05 p.m CDT --Mediacom Stadium at Cooper Tennis Complex

Tune in to the live stream at http://www.wtt.com/LiveStream

How they fared in the regular season:
The top two teams in the Western Conference only faced off once in the regular season, with the Springfield Lasers narrowly edging Texas Wild 20-18 on July 15 in Springfield. In that match, it came down to the doubles, as Springfield swept men’s, women’s and mixed doubles in decisive fashion. Texas’ singles players Alex Bogomolov Jr. and Eugenie Bouchard were equally authoritative in their singles sets, but will have to be on target in the doubles if they hope to pull off the upset.

The winner of the Mylan WTT Western Conference Championship presented by GEICO will take on either the Washington Kastles or the Boston Lobsters in the Championship match on July 28 at 5:00 p.m.


TEAM RANKINGS (regular season):

Men’s Singles: Wild – 3rd, Lasers – 7th                              
Women’s Singles: Wild – 2nd, Lasers – 6th
Men’s Doubles: Wild – 5th, Lasers – 1st                 
Women’s Doubles: Wild – 5th, Lasers – 2nd
Mixed Doubles: Wild – 3rd, Lasers – 2nd



Texas Wild: 1 – 2010 (as Kansas City Explorers - team relocated to Irving, Texas in 2013)
Springfield Lasers: 0 – (1999, 2001 and 2009 Finalists)


Men’s Singles – Alex Bogomolov Jr. (Wild) vs. Rik de Voest (Lasers)
In their only match of the 2013 season, Russia’s Bogomolov Jr. began the night emphatically for Texas Wild with a 5-1 victory over the South African de Voest in men’s singles. On the ATP and ITF Tours, the two have played a total of six times, with Bogomolov leading the head-to-head 4-2 (winning their last two matches). Bogomolov has been the No. 3 men’s singles player this season of Mylan WTT, compiling a steady .550 winning percentage. De Voest trails the Russian three spots at No. 6, and comes into the Western Conference Championships below .500 in men’s singles. Bogomolov helped lead Texas to an improbable upset over the then-undefeated Washington Kastles, and believes he can compete with the best teams in the league. Against the No. 1 team in the West, the Russian will have his chance.

Women’s Singles – Eugenie Bouchard (Wild) vs. Alisa Kleybanova (Lasers)
When last the Wild took on the Lasers, Bouchard took a tight 5-4 decision over Kleybanova’s teammate, Vania King. With Russia’s Kleybanova transitioning into women’s singles for the Lasers, the young Canadian may have a different look heading into the Western Conference Championships. Kleybanova, a former top 20 player, hits the ball hard off both sides and moves well around the back of the court. Bouchard has a steadier game, but could be overpowered if Kleybanova is hitting her spots.  King, who was the 2009 Female MVP while playing for Springfield, could also be in the mix in women's singles.

Men’s Doubles – Alex Bogomolov Jr./Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi (Wild) vs. Rik de Voest/Jean-Julien Rojer (Lasers)
This set of men’s doubles has an interesting dynamic; on the ATP World Tour, Qureshi and Rojer are doubles partners, winning the Masters Series event in Miami earlier this year. For Mylan WTT, the two have become rivals, each bringing a tremendous amount of doubles experience to his team. Accordingly, their last encounter was a battle, with Springfield eeking out the win in a tiebreaker. Rojer and de Voest have established themselves as the best men’s doubles team in the league, earning a .595 and .694 winning percentage, respectively. However, if the Wild are feeling confident, they might be able to turn the tide.

Women’s Doubles – Eugenie Bouchard/Tara Snyder (Wild) vs. Vania King/Alisa Kleybanova (Lasers)
The Wild have a slightly revised line-up ahead of the Western Conference Championships. Doubles specialist Darija Jurak played most of the season with Bouchard, but with the Croatian out of the lineup tonight, former US Open girl’s singles champion Tara Snyder has arrived as a late-season substitute. Bouchard and Snyder played their first set together last night against the Sacramento Capitals, falling 5-4 in a tiebreaker. Kleybanova and King have been the No. 2 women’s doubles team in the league, winning .618 percent of their games played. The two ended their previous match with Texas Wild 5-1 to secure the match, and may prove even more important for the Lasers tonight.

Mixed Doubles – Eugenie Bouchard/Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi (Wild) vs. Alisa Kleybanova/Jean-Julien Rojer (Lasers)
As potent as Rojer and Kleybanova have been in men’s and women’s doubles, the two have been equally tremendous when they pair up for mixed. Rojer and Kleybanova are the No. 4 and No. 5 mixed doubles players in the league, and both come into tonight’s Conference Championship above .500 for the season. Qureshi has been slightly below that during the 2013 season, but played with Eugenie Bouchard last night to end their match against the Sacramento Capitals with a decisive 5-2 win. Kleybanova and Rojer have been the steadier doubles players all season, but the Wild’s chemistry (and new mixed doubles formation) may make the Lasers uneasy heading into the mixed doubles set.

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