NEW YORK — The New York Empire opened their second season, but at a new venue. Under first-year head coach Gigi Fernandez, who is the only female coach in World TeamTennis, and world No. 21 John Isner, the Empire secured their first win of the season. They came back to defeat the visiting Philadelphia Freedoms 20-18 on Court 17 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Sloane Stephens played her first matches since the Rio Olympics at Wimbledon, losing in singles to compatriot Alison Riske. Stephens would drop her singles match for the Philadelphia Freedoms, but helped win a 5-3 women's doubles set.
Kirsten Flipkens teamed up with USC alumni Maria Sanchez, falling to Stephens and Taylor Townsend in doubles. Flipkens would defeat Stephens in singles, 5-1.
The Philadelphia Freedoms' Townsend, a former junior world No. 1, reached the second round of the French Open, and figures to be a fixture in her team's lineup this WTT season.
Neal Skupski, a doubles specialist who reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal with brother Ken at Wimbledon last week, is playing for the New York Empire for the second year in a row.
In Isner's only scheduled match of the 2017 World TeamTennis season, he beat compatriot Donald Young, 5-2, to clinch a team victory for the New York Empire. “Tonight was lot of fun, the crowd was great,” Isner said. “I’m just glad I was able to help the team win."
The New York Empire celebrate their first win of the 2017 season at their new home, Court 17 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. "It's fun to start out with a win," head coach Fernandez said.