In its case for inclusion in the Western Conference playoffs, the Texas Wild needed a strong closing argument Sunday on the courts of the Four Seasons Resort and Club.
They didn’t get it.
Needing a win in a crucial match with the Austin Aces, the Wild fell flat for a second consecutive day, dropping the World TeamTennis match 22-16.
Austin’s Treat Huey and Jesse Witten topped Aisam Qureshi and Alex Bogomolov Jr. in men’s doubles 5-3 to end the match. The Wild lost four of the five sets.
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Bogomolov won in men’s singles to earn his team’s only victory.
The loss marked the fourth in the last five matches for Texas.
Not all is lost in the Wild’s pursuit of a spot opposite the San Diego Aviators in the Western Conference finals in California. The top two teams in each conference advance to their respective conference finals on Thursday.
Texas fell to 6-7 and Austin, which still isn’t mathematically eliminated, improved to 5-7.
Springfield, which defeated the Wild on Saturday, has played one less match and, at 6-6, is a half-game up on Texas for second. A variety of tiebreakers could come into play.
The Wild plays its regular-season finale Tuesday at San Diego.
Philadelphia will face the three-time defending champion Washington Kastles in the Eastern Conference finals. Washington is competing for a WTT-tying fourth consecutive title.
“We’re going to have to play better than the last two nights,” Wild coach Brent Haygarth said. “We feel we have a good enough team to win, but we have to play a little looser.
“We might have played a little too tight knowing a victory in either one could have clinched a spot.”
Bogomolov’s triumph in singles brought the Wild back to within one, 12-11, but that momentum hit a ceiling.
Anabel Medina Garrigues couldn’t sustain the surge in women’s singles.
Garrigues, the hardest working professional women’s tennis player in the area, acknowledged she was tired Saturday. She’s been playing singles, doubles and mixed doubles.
She broke Vera Zvonareva, a one-time finalist in the U.S. Open and Wimbledon, to make the score 2-1 but dropped the next four games.
“We have a veteran team, maybe it’s taking its toll a little bit late in the season,” Haygarth said. “We have a day off [Monday]. So, that will help.”
Bogomolov’s victory was a personal picker-upper and got the Wild back in the match.
Bogomolov entered having lost two of his last three singles matches, but won the first seven points before Witten appeared to wake up.
The Russian native surged ahead 3-0 on the strength of a service ace and never let up on Witten.
Texas fell behind early after sustaining consecutive losses in mixed doubles and women’s doubles to open the match.
Huey and Eva Hrdinova broke Garrigues’ serve and took advantage, holding serve on their next three opportunities. Hrdinova finished off the set with four straight winners, including a service ace, to defeat Garrigues and Qureshi 5-3.
Garrigues and Darija Jurak took command of women’s doubles, going up 2-0 on Hrdinova and Zvonareva.
The Aces’ duo, though, won five of the next six games, including breaking Jurak that evened the score 3-3. Garrigues failed to hold serve on the Wild’s last chance of the set, losing four of five points.