Breakers Rollercoaster First Week Home, Eyeing Playoffs

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Genie Bouchard for the Breakers on Tuesday.
— Photo by Charles Weinberg ©

Fresh off a big win on the east coast, the Orange County Breakers kicked off their home opener with another solid win on Saturday in front of a large crowd of local fans.

After a few hard out of town losses and one hard-earned win, the Newport Beach-based tennis team headed back to the west coast to continue their winning streak, beating the San Diego Aviators 24-17 at their home court at Palisades Tennis Club on Saturday.

Back home all week, the Breakers were the definition of “win some, lose some,” following the home opener win with a loss on Monday, then a win on Tuesday, and then were down again on Wednesday.

Victoria Azarenka during the Orange County Breakers home opener Saturday at Palisades Tennis Club in Newport Beach.
— Photo by Charles Weinberg ©

The large crowd had a great energy and watched a fabulous match, Breakers coach Rick Leach said in a team announcement shared on Sunday.

“It feels so great to be back home in Newport. We had an unbelievable crowd,” Leach said in the prepared statement. “The standard was so high; it was just a pleasure to have Vika (Victoria Azarenka) come join us.”

That streak was broken on Monday, when the Springfield Lasers came out on top, 19-18, over the Breakers.

The home team got out in front to start the match, with Andreja Klepač and Luke Bambridge winning four consecutive games to defeat the veteran duo of Abi Spears and Jean-Julien Rojer, 5-2, officials wrote in a press release shared on Tuesday.

“The 2018 King Trophy champions then chipped into that deficit with Spears and Anna Blinkova winning 11 of 12 first serve points to defeat Klepac and 2016 WTT Female MVP Nicole Gibbs, 5-3,” the message reads.

Steve Johnson of the Orange County Breakers during Monday’s match.
— Photo by Lawrence-Sherwin ©

After a tight match in men’s doubles, Steve Johnson and Bambridge won 5-2 over Rojer and Enrique Lopez-Perez.

“Blinkova then snapped a three-match losing streak in singles, earning a big 5-2 win over Gibbs that set up the showdown between Johnson and Lopez-Perez to wrap up the evening,” officials explained in the announcement.

On Tuesday, the Breakers were back on top after a tense match.

Against the Philadelphia Freedoms, the entire match came down to just a single point in the super tie-break. Breakers held on to hold off a furious comeback from the first-place Freedoms, earning a big win as they look to secure a spot in next week’s Playoffs.

Johnson’s “insane, no-look backhand” helped spur the Breakers to a 20-19 victory over the first place Freedoms, officials wrote on social media.

Breakers’ Andreja Klepac hits a forehand down the line on Tuesday.
— Photo by Charles Weinberg ©

“That’s the great thing about World TeamTennis. It could come down to that last point and it’s happened before while I’ve been coaching, didn’t win it then, so I am really happy,” Leach said in a press release shared on Wednesday. “I actually felt comfortable with Stevie since he’s such a clutch player, and to come up with that big of a serve at the point where it’s match point for both teams just shows what a champion he is.”

Down 5-6 in the super tie-break, Johnson and James Ward “clawed their way back” and on the deciding point, Johnson crushed a serve out wide on the AD side that the Freedoms were unable to return.

The Breakers rushed to the bench to celebrate with their fellow victors.

Earlier Tuesday, 2014 Wimbledon finalist Genie Bouchard made her Breakers debut with a bang, teaming up with Klepac to win both of the key deciding points during doubles.

On Wednesday, Breakers were in the lead for most of the night, until they fell in men’s doubles and the New York Empire edged out the win, 20-19.

Steve Johnson throws his hands up in celebration after the Breakers win on Tuesday.
— Photo by Lawrence Sherwin ©

The win puts the Breakers one step closer as they look to secure a spot in next week’s playoffs.

Breakers will be in San Diego on Friday, up against the Aviators at 7 p.m. Back home Saturday to face the Vegas Rollers at 7 p.m.

After a day of rest, the team will see the Orlando Storm on the Newport Beach court at 6 p.m. Monday. They will then head to Missouri on Tuesday, matching up against the Springfield Lasers at 5 p.m.

For the final game before the playoffs, the Breakers will be back at home in Newport Beach, facing the Washington Kastles Wednesday at 6 p.m.

For more information, visit breakerstennis.com/

The Breakers celebrate their win on Tuesday.
— Photo by Charles Weinberg ©
Luke Bambridge during Tuesday’s match.
— Photo by Lawrence Sherwin ©
Breakers versus the Freedoms on Tuesday.
— Photo by Lawrence Sherwin ©
Andreja Klepac during Tuesday’s match for the Breakers.
— Photo by Lawrence Sherwin ©
Orange County Breakers on Tuesday.
— Photo by Charles Weinberg ©
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