The Philadelphia Freedoms tried their hand at ending the dynasty that the Washington Kastles have built in Mylan World TeamTennis on Thursday night.
Instead, weirdness reigned supreme in the Eastern Conference Championship.
With the Kastles hanging onto a slim lead after halftime, Anastasia Rodionova and Martina Hingis took the court against Liezel Huber and Taylor Townsend. Down 1-2 and returning, Townsend accidentally beaned Huber in the back of the head with a forehand. While she tried to play a few points, she was unable to continue and eventually had to be helped off the court. She was later diagnosed with a concussion.
On the tour, this would mean that the match would end by retirement.
But because this is WTT, all hope was not lost for Townsend and the Freedoms. Normally, another player would seamlessly be substituted in for Huber and the match would continue without a hitch. The Freedoms, however, did not have any substitutes available on Friday night.
As per WTT rules, with no bench available, the Freedoms had a few options:
If, in doubles, there is no player to substitute (including
alternates) for an ill, injured or ejected player, the set SHALL
NOT be defaulted automatically. The team may use the coach
as a substitute, if of the same gender. If the coach is already
playing, then the team will continue to play with only one
player left on the court and will finish the set with that one
player serving and receiving in the regular order. This rule also
applies if there are not two players able to begin a set of
doubles. If, in singles, there is no player to substitute (including
alternates) for an ill, injured or ejected player, the set will then
With Freedoms’ head coach Josh Cohen out of the question for *women’s* doubles, the road team made the decision to continue the set 2-on-1. The catch? Townsend needed to play as if Huber was still on the court; she could not return serve from “Huber’s” side, nor could she serve when “Huber’s” turn came up in the service order.
It didn’t go very well, but bless, Townsend tried.
She took it all in stride, giving her best effort and winning over the partisan crowd at Kastles Stadium. She won a few points, but couldn’t get another game on the board as Hingis and Rodionova prevailed in the set 5-1.
(Vines: SB Nation, @rodger_sherman)