The KC Explorers gave the Springfield Lasers a good dose of smackdown last night (7/15/2010) in Barney Allis Plaza, in downtown Kansas City, with a solid 22 to 13 victory.
Complete match stats are available HERE
The KC Explorers are:
- Coach: Brent Haygarth
- Bob Bryan (L) & Mike Bryan (R) ~ The #3 ranked doubles team in the world*.
- Samuel Groth #482 Singles
- Jarmila Groth #75 Singles, #307 Doubles
- Ricardo Mello #93 Singles, #228 Doubles
- Kveta Peschke #11 Doubles
The Springfield Lasers are:
- Coach: John-Laffnie De Jager
- Martin Damm #34 Doubles
- Rik De Voest #209 Singles, #81 Doubles
- Carly Gullickson #257 Singles, #90 Doubles
- Chanelle Scheepers #89 Singles, #102 Doubles
*Note* These are all world rankings. I’d like you to think about that term for a moment. There are about 7-billion people on this planet, so to be ranked in the top 1% of the top 1%, you’re ranking would need to be 70,000 or better. The lowest ranked player of the lot is Samuel Groth, who at #482 in the world, is still in the 93 percentile of the top 1% of the top 1% of the top 1%.
I arrived towards the tail end of the men’s singles match between Ricardo Mello (Explorers) and Rik De Voest (Lasers). I might have been able to see the entire match were it not for my inability to find a decent parking space in the garage below BA Plaza.
Note: It’s always been my understanding that you’re supposed to park your car *between* the yellow lines, so for all you Springfield fans (because there’s no way the KC fans could be that inept at parking), please try to keep that in mind the next time you stow your vehicle in a parking facility. In the future, violators will be notified of breach of the above mentioned parking protocol with an unkind word, written in large, white, shoe polish letters, on your windows. You have been warned.
Watching Mello & De Voest reminded me of my own singles game, except that they hit the ball (1) much, much harder, and (2) much, much more accurately, and (3) much, much more consistently than I do, or even could do. Or ever will do, for that matter. De Voest took the men’s singles event 5-4.
Next up were Jarmila Groth (Explorers) & Chanelle Scheepers (Lasers) in women’s singles, in what was for me, my favorite match of the night. I still don’t know if “Yar-Kuh” is the correct way to pronounce her name, but everybody else was pronouncing it that way, and it did have an interesting way of rolling off the tounge, so I did it as well. Serving at 2-2, Groth received a *bad* line call on the first point when she let a ball that was clearly long (at least 3”-4” past the baseline) go by, but which was ruled as good by the “chair” umpire. To be fair, he missed a couple other calls against some other players, so I came to realize that he wasn’t being malicious, just horribly, blatantly, incorrect. Nevertheless, Groth came back to win that game, going up 3-2 with some strong serving and wickedly awesome ground strokes. [I suspect Brad Gilbert has labeled the Groth forehand the “Groth FEARhand” at some point, though I haven’t been able to confirm this.] Scheepers played a sloppy service game on her chance to even the score, double faulting on game-point to give “Yar-Kuh” a 4-2 lead. Groth closed the match out with a fearhand winner that still makes me smile when I replay it in my mind. 75 in the world? Really? What in the hell does a Serena Williams fearhand look like?! Explorers 9, Lasers 7.
Groth was on the court for the next match as well (Jarmila, not her husband Samuel, whose legs look like Tomas Berdych’s legs. Read: STRONG), paired up with Bob Bryan in what I hoped would be another Explorer smackdown. It wasn’t, as Carly Gullickson & Martin Damm (every time Damm would come up with a good shot you could hear people in the crowd saying “Damn!”, in an ironically amusing way. Good stuff.) took the game 5 games to 3. Explorers 12, Lasers 12.
Whatever hopes of victory the Lasers might have had at this point were methodically crushed by the Explorers in game after game for the remainder of the match; the Lasers going 1-11 in women’s and men’s doubles.
Representing the Explorers for women’s doubles were Kveta Peschke & Jarmila Groth, who dominated the Lasers Carly Gullickson & Chanelle Scheepers 5 games to 1. Note to other WTT teams: keep it away from Peschke at the net; the girl is lethal. Explorers 17, Lasers 13.
And finally, in what can safely be considered the headline match of the night, the Bryan Brothers (Explorers) showed the Lasers Martin Damm & Rik De Voest no mercy – none – in a 5-games to zero rout, despite some incredible serving by De Voest (which I believe is pronounced something like, “di fust”). Explorers 22, Lasers 13.
The victory puts the Explorers at 5-3, and into a tie for first-place with the Sacramento Capitals.
And it’s worth noting some very exciting support coming from the crowd, most notably from the rowdy Tencap section, whose loud yells, irritating noise-producers, and bright-orange shirts, energized the KC fans! It certainly seemed that “crowd support” played a role in helping Jarmila rally to dig out of a 0-2 hole to win the next 5 games in a row, so good job crowd! (You can thanks us later Jarmila!)