WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.V. (July 25, 2020) – A coaching decision by New York’s Luke Jensen saw him rework his Mixed Doubles roster, replacing Neal Skupski and Kveta Peschke with Jack Sock and Kim Clijsters. Clijsters and Sock took the third set, and the lead 13-11, but then Sloane Stephens and Chicago’s dangerous doubles duo of Genie Bouchard and Bethanie Mattek-Sands took over.
Putting her Chicago Smash teammates squarely on her shoulders, Stephens painted the corners, sending the Empire’s Hailey Baptiste all over the court on her way to a 5-1 Women’s Singles set win, giving the Smash a 16-14 lead heading into the match’s final frame.
The Smash’s Women’s Doubles tandem of Bouchard and Mattek-Sands are, statistically speaking, the best duo to step between the lines together this season. Winning just over 64% of their games, the two added another notch to their win column as they overpowered the Empire’s Baptiste and Peschke to go up 3-1, before Jensen brought Clijsters back into the match for Peschke.
Clijsters mojo helped but wasn’t enough to bring the Empire all the way back as they dropped the final set, 5-2, and the match 21-16.
Sloane Stephens on coming into the match down 13-11 and winning Women’s Singles: “Obviously tough being down two but to be able to get into (Women’s) singles and get a groove was really important. I was happy with the way I played and to give our team a two-game lead was really important going into the last set.”
Sloane Stephens on the play of Genie Bouchard and Bethanie Mattek-Sands: “They’re our anchor for a reason because we know they’re just really solid at the end. They play great together and it’s nice to have two people that have really kind of connected. Obviously, they haven’t played much together in the past, but it’s nice they’ve been able to jump into it, connect and support each other.”
CHICAGO SMASH defeat New York Empire, 21-16
Men’s Doubles – Neal Skupski/Jack Sock (Empire) def. Brandon Nakashima/Rajeev Ram
Men’s Singles – Nakashima (Smash) def. Sock (Empire), 5-3
Mixed Doubles – Sock/Kim Clijsters (Empire) def. Ram/Genie Bouchard (Smash), 5-2
Women’s Singles – Sloane Stephens (Smash) def. Hailey Baptiste (Empire), 5-1
Women’s Doubles – Bouchard/Bethanie Mattek-Sands (Smash) def. Baptiste/Peschke*
*Clijsters subbed on for Peschke at 3-1 Smash