PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Freedoms lost its first match of the season on Thursday night at Hagan Arena, 20-16 to the defending World TeamTennis Champion, Orange County Breakers. The 2017 US Open Champion and top-ranked American Sloane Stephens helped the Freedoms to wins in women’s singles and women’s doubles, but it wasn’t enough to get the team’s fourth straight win to open the season.
Inside the Numbers
* Lead by Fabrice Martin, the Freedoms out-aced the Breakers 8-2 throughout the match.
* The Freedoms converted just four of 18 break point opportunities.
* Sloane Stephens won 10 of the 15 games she played Thursday night.
* The Breakers won 112 points to the Freedoms’ 93.
* The Freedoms went four of nine on 3-all, deciding points.
How it Happened
After Fabrice Martin and Taylor Townsend lost mixed doubles, 5-3, Sloane Stephens took the court at Hagan Arena for the first time since winning the US Open last year.
Stephens looked to give the Freedoms a boost opening her 2018 Freedoms debut with Townsend in women’s doubles. The Freedoms’ star started slow going down 0-3 on her serve, but the duo won four straight points to tie the score at 1-1 early in the set.
Tied 2-2, Stephens and Townsend finally got the break of serve that they needed. The doubles team rallied off three straight games to win the set 5-2 and give the Freedoms the 8-7 overall lead.
Trailing at 12-9 at halftime for the first time this season, Stephens came back on the court for women’s singles. After failing to convert on three of World TeamTennis’ unique deciding points, the world No. 3 showed off her skill with a running forehand winner down the line to spark a conversion on the fourth attempt and earn a break of serve.
Stephens closed out the set, 5-3, pulling the Freedoms within one in the overall score.
First year Freedom, Kevin King, looked to close out the fourth straight win for the Freedoms, but lost three straight games in singles to fall 5-2 in the final set and decide the 20-16 loss.
The Freedoms are back in action on Friday night when they host the rival Washington Kastles. World Champion Philadelphia football kicker Jake Elliott will be in attendance for pre-match autographs. The Fabulous Freedoms ball dogs presented by Brandywine SPCA will also put on a special halftime performance.
Tickets can be purchased at philadelphiafreedoms.com/tickets or call the box office at 215-667-8132