The Smashin’ with Passion team from Riviera Oaks won the 4.0 Division at the 2011 World Team Tennis (WTT) National Qualifier Championship on May 1 in Las Vegas, Nev.
Eighty teams in six divisions, representing clubs from almost every state, qualified to compete in the three-day tournament. Tournament organizers stated that the Las Vegas tournament was the largest tournament in WTT history with more teams competing than in any other tournament. Eight tournaments are held annually throughout the country with the eight winners fielding the end of year National Finals Tournament.
Smashin’ with Passion qualified and competed in the 4.0 Division against 19 teams from 10 states, from Hawaii to Massachusetts.
World Team Tennis differs from other competitive tennis formats by combining doubles, singles and mixed doubles into a single team match. Each team plays a set of Men’s Doubles, a set of Women’s Doubles, a set of Men’s Singles, a set of Women’s Singles, and two sets of Mixed Doubles.
Sets are played with no-ad scoring with first team to six wining the set. The team with the most number of points from the six sets wins the match. There are rules for ties resulting in overtime play and a unique “super tie-breaker” set if the teams tie at the end of the six sets.
Smashin’ with Passion won their flight by beating three other teams in a round robin format on Friday and Saturday. Every member of the team competed and contributed to a solid win and fourth place seed into the championship round.
In the quarterfinals, the team met the fifth seed Saturday evening. The team, Just Out, a team from Albuquerque, N.M., put up a fight, but Smashin’ with Passion dominated with a 32-18 win.
The team moved on to the semifinals Sunday morning to play the first seed, Serves U Right from Amarillo, Texas. Although the team was fielded with players in their 20s and was much younger than the Smashin’ with Passion Team (whose average age is 46), the team from Ramona again dominated with a 34-22 win.
The team was poised to face its toughest opponents, the third seed from La Mesa, Calif.—the Leftovers. The teams were evenly matched and every set was close and dramatic. Smashin’ with Passion won the match in the final, sixth set with a win bringing the final score to 30-29.
Teammate CorriAyn Harvey summed up the tournament by stating, “We played the same way we’ve played in every team practice in terms of effort for this tournament. The ‘learning’ how to win this weekend was critical. Strategy, wind, health and confidence were all key factors. All the hours on the courts together has absorbed that mentality and it all crystallized this weekend. We pushed and worked hard and broke through in the biggest moments of our season. “
By winning the National Qualifier tournament, the Smashin’ with Passion team now moves on to the WTT National Finals in Indian Wells Nov. 4-6.
The team will face seven other tournament winning teams from other national qualifiers scheduled across the country.