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The Empire, who lost last season’s final against the Springfield Lasers, looked motivated early on winning both the men’s and mixed doubles to take a 10-6 lead going into the singles.
But that four point advantage was quickly erased with 18-year-old American Brandon Nakashima bageling Sock 5-0 and Stevens, wearing a Black Lives Matter singlet, stopping Vandeweghe 5-3 to push Chicago in front 16-13 going into the women’s doubles.
Needing only to hold serve to secure the title, Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard and Bethanie Mattek-Sands were unable to shut the door on Vandeweghe and Melichar who won in a tiebreak to send the final to Extended Play.
The Empire held serve and broke the Smash to leave the score level at 20-20, sending it to a 13-point super tiebreak.
With the title slipping away the Smash went to their bench bringing in Stevens, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, in place of Bouchard to partner with Mattek-Sands.
Stevens produced some big points including an ace to level at 6-6 but could only watch as Vandeweghe’s winning shot hit the line. (Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Christian Radnedge)