Taylor Townsend is making a later-than-anticipated appearance with the Capitals because of her successful run at Wimbledon.

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Capitals' Townsend, 17, reaches Wimbledon girls final

Published: Friday, Jul. 5, 2013 - 5:46 pm
Last Modified: Monday, Jul. 8, 2013 - 7:36 am

When the Capitals open their 28th World TeamTennis season Sunday, one of the team's two new female players won't be there.

Wimbledon got in the way.

Taylor Townsend's arrival in Sacramento has been delayed by her success in London, where she will play Belinda Bencic at 5 a.m. today for the girls' singles title. Townsend, 17, who finished 2012 as the top-rated junior in the world, beat Ana Konjuh 2-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5 in Friday's semifinals.

Instead, Nicole Gibbs, who starred at Stanford, will join Megan Moulton-Levy, the Capitals' other new female player, for Sunday's 7:35 p.m. opener against the Texas Wild at Capitals Stadium at Sunrise Mall.

Townsend is expected to join the Capitals, last year's WTT runner-up, for Monday's home match against the Philadelphia Freedoms. If she is delayed, Gibbs will replace her again.

Townsend, who defeated No. 57 Lucie Hradecka in March at Indian Wells for her first career WTA main-draw win, also has won junior titles at the Australian Open in singles and doubles, Wimbledon in doubles and the U.S. Open in doubles.

"Obviously, playing on a (pro) stage is nerve-wracking and exciting," Townsend wrote in an e-mail from Wimbledon earlier this week. "But I try to not think about it too much and just focus on my game day today."

Townsend will play singles for the Capitals and team with Moulton-Levy in doubles.

"I'm excited to play with Megan since we're both the rookies on the team, but honestly, I'm looking forward to playing with everyone on the team," Townsend said. "The Capitals put together a great team with a lot of American players, so I'm hoping we all mesh together well and have a great season."

All four of the Capitals' men - Mardy Fish, Sam Querrey, Mark Knowles and Ryan Sweeting - return from last season, but the women are the most crucial in team tennis, Capitals coach Wayne Bryan said.

"The question mark will be the (women)," Bryan said. "You got a No. 1 junior. This is what makes it interesting, how she will adapt to the pro game. I think she's going to do it beautifully.

"I'll be working like a dog with them early in the morning, late at night. We'll give it everything we have. There's a lot to work with because they're both very athletic."

Fish, a marquee player, is scheduled to play just three matches for the Capitals, all at home: Wednesday against Orange County, Friday against Boston and July 13 against Washington. He has played sparingly the past 18 months because of heart palpitations.

Querrey, the Capitals' other marquee player, is scheduled to play in the team's final four regular-season matches.

Knowles, 41, reached No. 1 in the world in doubles in 2002 and 2004. He retired from the ATP World Tour last year but returns for his 12th WTT season, all with Sacramento.

The Washington Kastles edged the Capitals 20-19 last year in Charleston, S.C., for their second consecutive WTT title and 32nd straight victory.

"Every team is rock solid this year," Bryan said. "We're going to have our hands full in each and every match, which will be exciting. If we come through, we can win it. If we stumble, we stumble. I can't find a weak team out there."

Call The Bee's Kristopher Rivera, (916) 321-1101 Follow him on Twitter @kgrivera.

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