August 20, 2021 – The rain held off and a huge crowd turned out at North Hills Club to watch the top 4 teams in the Raleigh Pro League play to get into the Championship match. With exciting tennis played on all courts, one match went as some predicted and one match produced a surprise result.
Team MADabolic came into the playoffs undefeated and the #1 seed and a clear favorite to move on to next Friday’s Championship match, but Team RDUTennis came in as the spoiler to play their best tennis of the season and prove, once again, they are the defending 2019 Championship. Team RDU’s Joanna Nalborska and Tessie Choo played strong to best Team MAD’s Heather Waters and Meghan Coomes 6-3 6-1 on the Women’s court in what many thought would be the closest match of the night. The biggest upset of the night occurred on the Men’s 1 court as Team RDU’s Josh Franceschina and Philip Faulkner, having not won a match in the regular season, defeated Ian Dempster and Rohan Chandrasekhar 6-4 6-4. On the Mixed court, Team RDU’s Nena Day and Kyle Spencer won over Team MAD’s Amanda Janda and Praveen Chandrasekhar 6-4 6-1 to give RDUTennis the team win. Team MAD got their only win on the Men’s 2 court as Brian Smith and Michael Polasek won over Team RDU’s Cris James and Jay Lewandowski 6-4 6-3. Hard to believe that Team RDUTennis was playing a Captain’s Choice Super-Tiebreak to get into the playoffs a week ago and now they will play for the 2021 Championship.
In the other playoff match, things were more predictable as Team Wake Ortho’s Caitlin Whoriskey and Liz Perkins won the Women’s courts over White Dahlia’s Kristin Kepler and Dawn Kitner 6-0 6-0 to give Wake Ortho their first team point. White Dahlia’s Christian Welte and Matt Nicholson won the Men’s 2 court over Wake Ortho’s Glen Kitner and Cameron Rosenow 6-1 6-3 to tie it up at 1 court each. Wake Ortho’s Caylan Ashworth and Jon Davis then won the mixed court over White Dahlia’s Julia Browns and Marko Zivkovic 6-1 6-2 giving Wake Ortho a 2-1 lead. It came down to the Men’s 1 court where White Dahlia’s William Noblitt and Quentin Guichard pullled out the win over Wake Ortho’s Justin Roberson and Lilo Pelegrino 6-4 6-4 forcing a 2-2 tie and Captain’s Choice Super-Tiebreak as many expected. Wake Ortho’s Whoriskey/Davis were selected to go up against White Dahlia’s Browne/Welte. Browne/Welte jumped out to a 2-1 lead, but Whoriskey/Davis came back to take the lead and build on it finishing the TB 10-6 to send Team Wake Orthopaedics to play for the Championship next Friday.
All in all in was a great night of tennis in front of a huge group of enthusiastic spectators. Many thanks to Jenny Abhau and White Dahlia Massage & Wellness for the free chair massages and gift certificate for the drawing, and to Alpaca Peruvian Charcoal Chicken for the awesome food enjoyed my many fans and players, and to North Hills Club for not only hosting the match, but also providing the endless cups of adult beverage enjoyed by many.
The season wraps up next week as Team RDUTennis and Team Wake Orthopaedics play for the 2021 Championship at Seven Oaks Swim & Racquet Club.