Springfield Lasers top New York Empire in WTT final, retain King Cup

The Springfield Lasers pose with the King Cup after defeating the New York Empire 20-19 on Saturday in the World TeamTennis finals in Las Vegas.Courtesy | Shawn Schrager, WTT

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The King Cup will remain in Springfield for at least another year.

The Springfield Lasers defeated the New York Empire 20-19 on Saturday night to capture the World TeamTennis championship at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

It’s the second consecutive WTT championship for the Lasers. Nine-year WTT veteran Abigail Spears is the only member of the current Lasers team who played on last year’s title squad.

On Saturday, the Lasers trailed 17-15 entering the final set of the night, men’s doubles.

Springfield’s Robert Lindstedt and Evan Song defeated Neal Skupski and Ulises Blanch 5-2 to clinch the championship.

Las Vegas native Song, who joined Springfield for the WTT playoffs (replacing the injured Enrique Lopez Perez), clinched the title on his serve at deuce point.

“Being from Vegas and winning in an event like this, it’s just a dream for me,” Song said. “It was an incredible atmosphere. I think I turned some of them (the fans) into Springfield fans.”

The Lasers (11-5) won just two of the match’s five sets, with Lindstedt at the heart of Springfield’s success. The 2014 Australian Open champion and three-time Wimbledon finalist (2010-12) in men’s doubles also teamed with Spears to win in mixed doubles to even the match, 12-12, after three sets.

Lindstedt, the second-year WTT player from Sweden, was named the 2019 World TeamTennis finals Most Valuable Player and received a 1-carat diamond from Forevermark.

“It means I did something right, and it’s proof that I achieved something,” Lindstedt said lightheartedly of the award. “We maybe took our foot off the gas a little bit (in the last game). Evan came up with a big point. It was great.”

In men’s singles, Blanch defeated Song 5-3 and New York’s Kirsten Flipkens-Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez defeated Spears-Olga Govortsova 5-4 in women’s doubles.

In mixed doubles, Lindstedt-Spears defeated Skupski-Sanchez 5-2, while Flipkens beat Springfield’s Govortsova 5-3 in women’s singles.

For the first time, the WTT Playoffs were hosted in Las Vegas and featured semifinals among the top four teams from its regular season, which concluded Wednesday, July 31. Each of WTT’s eight teams played 14 regular season matches in 2019 — seven home matches and seven away matches — for a leaguewide total of 59 regular season matches.

WTT introduced professional team tennis to the world in 1974, with Billie Jean King famously serving as its co-founder. WTT is one of five active U.S. pro sports leagues which has been in operation for over 40 years, along with the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB.

CBS Sports will air highlights of WTT’s 2019 regular season and playoffs through its one-hour finals encore and season highlight show, “GEICO Presents World TeamTennis,” at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.