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Holding Court on a Summer Night

Kastles owner Mark Ein poses with Venus Williams at a pre-match reception. (Kevin Koski)

Washington's VIP scene takes on a languid tone in July: Those with summer houses decamped weeks ago, but it's not yet the ghost town of August. So what to do for fun? Tennis under the stars -- not to play, but to watch while drinking something cool, preferably expensive.

The second season of the Washington Kastles kicked off Tuesday night with Venus Williams, fresh off her Wimbledon defeat to little sis Serena. More than 3,000 fans packed into the sold-out outdoor arena on 11th Street to support D.C.'s newest sports franchise and owner Mark Ein. Spotted courtside: Mayor Adrian Fenty and family (including 7-month-old Aerin), National Economic Council Director Larry Summers (rarely at parties these days), Cora Masters Barry, Hilary Rosen, D.C. United co-owner Brian Davis, Caron Butler and Javaris Crittenton of the Wizards, former Redskin Darrell Green, AOL co-founder Steve Case, Jim Kimsey (in the "Dream Seats" -- $5,000 for the month-long World TeamTennis season, bottles of vodka, waitresses in shorts) and the energetic "Blonde Charity Mafia's" Katherine Kennedy (of wannabe/maybe reality TV fame) who would, as they say, go to the opening of an envelope.

Michelle Fenty with her daughter, Aerin. (Roxanne Roberts/The Washington Post)

Williams was very low-key -- polite and maybe just a teensy bit bored -- at the pre-match press conference (Heads up: She's sick of people asking how it feels to play her sister), but cranked it up for her star turn with the Philadelphia Freedoms against the home team. "I love Venus, but I'm rooting for the Kastles," Ein told us. Alas, to no avail -- Williams and her team handily won the match, which seemed almost beside the point: flawless weather, full moon, plenty of booze.

The grown-ups headed for home, the rest to Donovan House for the rooftop after-party. Anna Kournikova, scheduled to play last night but nursing a wrist injury, never showed; Williams did a quick drop-by but didn't linger. No matter -- the pretty people were busy pouring champagne, eating sushi and playing their own games. Love-love.

By The Reliable Source  |  July 9, 2009; 1:03 AM ET
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