The Philadelphia Freedoms put an exclamation point on their league-best 12-2 season by beating the No. 4 seeded New York Empire, 23-17, in the WTT regular season finale.
Philadelphia, the No. 1 seed last season, will be looking for revenge against New York who beat them in the last match of the regular season to qualify for the playoffs, 21-16, and again as the No. 4 seed in the semifinals, 24-18.
Philadelphia jumped out early with a dominant 5-1 win in Men’s Singles behind Taylor Fritz, but New York would not go quietly.
In the second set, the most electrifying of the match, the Empire’s Coco Vandeweghe came all the way back from 4-0 down to 2020 Australian Open Champion Sofia Kenin to win in a tiebreaker, 5-4.
Fritz Martin and Taylor Townsend would extend Philadelphia’s lead with a 5-3 win in the third in Mixed Doubles, only to have Vandeweghe and Nicole Melichar close the gap slightly in the fourth, winning a tiebreaker in Women’s Doubles to make it 18-14.
Martin and Fritz would finish the match with a 5-3 win in Men’s Doubles over Skupski and Ulilses Blanch.
The Empire sat both their top Men’s and Women’s Singles players in Jack Sock (rest) and Kim Clijsters (abdominal), respectively, and expect to have both back in the lineup on Saturday.
The Empire and Freedoms will play again on Saturday, with a spot in the WTT finals on the line. You can watch the Empire vs. Freedom on CBS Sports Network on Saturday beginning at 2:00 p.m.
“We really have built our franchise the last couple of years around their model—strong, intelligent, forceful, talented women who can play all disciplines,” said Empire head coach Luke Jensen in reference to the Freedoms. “We competed extremely well. We didn’t roll over…we’re going to bring our energy. We’re going to bring our enthusiasm and then the game follows that. I really think they played extremely well tonight, but we just kept clawing the whole time and that’s going to rebound us to the next match.”
Philadelphia Freedoms defeat New York Empire, 23-17
►Men’s Singles: Taylor Fritz (Freedoms) def. Ulises Blanch (Empire), 5-1
►Women’s Singles: Coco Vandeweghe (Empire) def. Sofia Kenin (Freedoms), 5-4
►Mixed Doubles: Fabrice Martin/Taylor Townsend (Freedoms) def. Neal Skupski/Nicole Melichar (Empire), 5-3
►Women’s Doubles: Vandeweghe/Melichar (Empire) def. Kenin/Caroline Dolehide (Freedoms), 5-4
►Men’s Doubles: Fritz/Martin (Freedoms) def. Blanch/Skupski (Empire), 5-3