The Washington Kastles kicked off their home opener with a ring ceremony to commemorate the 2011 season, a season in which the Kastles went 16-0 en route to capture their second King Cup. Naturally, owner Mark Ein likened the 2011 Kastles to the 1972 Dolphins.
All the Kastles received rings, except for newcomer Anastasia Rodionova. Ein ensured Rodionova would receive a ring this time next year.
The Kastles are well on their way to continued dominance. The Kastles, already 2-0 on the season, improved their record to 3-0 with a narrow 20-18 victory over the New York Sportimes.
Mixed Doubles was a star-studded affair with five-time gland slam winner Martina Hingis and her partner Robert Kendrick taking on the Kastles' pair of Anastasia Rodionova and Leander Paes. Paes reached the Wimbledon finals earlier this year with a different partner, Elena Vesnina.
After a shaky start, Kastles rookie Anastasia Rodionova was able to redeem herself. On serve, trailing the Sportimes 4-2, Anastasia didn't allow New York on the board. Then the great Martina was broken, the event was tied at 4 all, and headed to a deciding tiebreaker.
From there the Kastles cruised, giving Washington a 5-4 lead heading into women's doubles.
The ladies were up next, Hingis and the notorious Ashley Harkleroad versus the Kastles other sister act of Anastasia and Arina Rodionova.
The Kastles struggled at first, trailing 3-1, but fought back. With Anastasia relentless on serve, the Rodionova sisters were able to tie the match at 3.
Down 4-3 with Arina serving for the Kastles, the Sportimes took over. Hingis and Harkleroad allowed just 1 point before closing out the match at 5-3 and giving New York the 9-8 lead.
Ladies first, up next the men. New York sent Jesse Witten and Robert Kendrick to take on Bobby Reynolds and Leander Paes for Washington.
Prior to the match, Paes said that Reynolds "made his job" easy, and it showed. Jokingly, Paes added that Coach Murphy Jensen did not make his life any easier.
The men's doubles matchwas no contest as the Kastles jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Bobby Reynolds then effortlessly closed out the match, giving the Kastles a 13-9 overall lead.
Anastasia vs. Hingis. Anastasia's inexperience showed as Hingis had no problem dismantling the Kastles newest edition 5-2. Hingis' victory cut the Washington lead to 15-14 with just the men's singles match remaining.
Bobby Reynolds wasted no time setting the tone of the match against Jesse Witten, sending a volley winner straight into the stands.
However, shutting Witten out would prove tough for "the closer" and Reynolds quickly found the match tied at 3.
On serve, Reynolds delivered back to back aces giving him a 4-3 lead. But Witten would answer the call, and at 4-all the Kastles and Sportimes were headed to a tiebreak.
Reynolds would show his home court confidence by taking the tiebreak 5-1, giving the Kastles the 20-18 victory over their conference foe.
After the match, Reynolds noted that he embraced his role as the Kastles clutch player. For Washington, that's a good thing, because Reynolds is good at what he does.