By Nicholas J. Walz, USTA.com
The doubles match tiebreak gave life to the Team USA quads in reaching Saturday’s BNP Paribas World Team Cup quad division final against Great Britain, and it ultimately did in the defending champions. The duo of world No. 3 Andy Lapthorne and No. 5 Jamie Burdekin defeated No. 1 David Wagner and No. 9 Nick Taylor, 6-1, 2-6, [10-7], for a 2-1 margin in the rubber.
For the Brits, it’s a fourth quad title in 16 years of competition and their first since 2009.
“It was always going to be a tough match against the USA as everyone knows they are the best doubles team in the world after winning three Paralympic gold medals, so to win against them is extra special,” said Burdekin.
The script was eerily similar to Friday’s win for the U.S. over Israel, up until the last few points: an early singles loss for Taylor (this time to Burdekin, who took the opening match, 6-0, 6-1), followed by a strong singles win from Wagner to even things up (6-1, 6-0, over Lapthorne) and a split of the first two sets in doubles, leading to the winner-take-all match tiebreak.
Great Britain would take the first series of points, followed by a rally from Wagner and Taylor, who were seeking their seventh WTC title in an 11-year span. Ahead 8-6, Burdekin fired an ace that essentially sealed things. A trade of points later, the Brits were lifting the trophy and draping themselves in the Union Jack flag.
Wrapping up their play in the Netherlands, the U.S. women notched a win over South Korea, 2-1, to claim seventh place overall. The two nations faced off by virtue of both losing their first rubbers in the Position 5-8 draw, to Thailand and Chile, respectively.
A positive for the women was the strong play of longtime partners Kaitlyn Verfuerth and Emmy Kaiser, who both tallied multiple singles wins (three for Verfuerth, two for Kaiser) during the tournament.
With all four competitions coming to a close on Sunday, the U.S. finished second in quads, fourth in juniors and seventh in both the men's and women's divisons. It's just the fourth time in the past 10 years that the Americans will not come home without at least one WTC title.
Overall, in the four divisions that make up WTC, championships were won by France (men’s), Netherlands (women’s), Russia (juniors) and aforementioned Great Britain in quads. For the Frenchmen, it was a third consecutive men’s title, while the Dutch women celebrate a staggering 27th win in 29 years of World Team Cup play.
For complete coverage of the 2014 BNP Paribas World Team Cup, please click here