Monday, October 10, 2016

And a quick check on the fall

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If only it were so.

Now that we’ve had a little time to let the fall season get started, let’s check in on the results to date.
5.0 – Lakes/Jannasch and Prestonwood/Perkison reamin undefeated.  Village/Valentin is the only one loss team but they have yet to play the two flight leaders so they will have a tough road to catch up.
4.5 Flight A – same song, second verse.  Greenhill/Rossouw leading and undefeated.  Lakes/Way looking to take second.
4.5 Flight B – SamGrand/Hanna remains undefeated as does T Bar/McColpin.  Brookhaven/Harlee and JCC/Reiman both sit with one loss.  No fluke here, SamGrand has already beaten BH and JCC.  T Bar, however, hasn’t played anyone yet.  JCC v BH winner to take second.
4.0 Flight A – three teams remain undefeated: Garland/Sisk, Greenhill/Ohl and Canyon Creek/Nolan.  Garland and Greenhill to square off this weekend.  I’ll take Garland and Greenhill to advance.
4.0 Flight B – McKinney/Davalos and McKinney/Kanchi are the two remaining undefeated teams.  McKinney/Kanchi takes this flight.  I’m not a big believer in McKinney/Davalos but they are set up well at the moment to finish second.
4.0 Flight C – Oak Creek/Iyer is undefeated.  Hackberry Creek/Myers is also undefeated but only 1-0.  Guess all those threatening emails from the DTA about getting double defaulted if you don’t make up matches quickly is a thing of the past.  Huffhines/Jayaram to finish second.
Also, at 18s mixed sectionals yesterday, Fort Worth took home the 9.0 crown beating Houston in the final, the Valley took home the 8.0 crown beating Houston in the final, and Dallas Wild took home the 7.0 crown beating San Antonio in the final.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

18s Mixed Sectionals Hits Tyler this Weekend

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I don't cover 6.0 mixed but I like this pair's chances.

Nothing seems to get more comments from our loyal readers than a post about mixed.  I find it discouraging and fascinating at the same time.  One more reason I don’t play mixed.  I try to stay away from it on this blog but like so many things in life – particularly college life – I know it’s bad for me but every so often I just can’t help coming back to it.  This weekend is 18s mixed in glamorous Tyler.  I actually like Tyler, at least it’s not Beaumont.  I’d hate to have to play with a surgical mask on.  And why do they send the old people to Beaumont?  That air combined with a little physical exertion and someone could keel over.  Anyway, Dallas is sending some strong contingencies to Tyler this weekend.  I expect Houston to challenge at every level but as is often the case, I like our chances.  Assuming everyone can attend I expect us to come back with some hardware.  And by hardware I mean more towels.
For starters, don’t count out the 9.0 team from Dallas this year.  A core group of this roster went to 18s 9.0 mixed in 2014 and also won 40s 9.0 mixed the same year.  Houston and its mini-me SETX have also had a lot of success at this level.  Dallas is in a flight with Fort Worth (which has several Dallas players on it), NETX and Lubbock.  I like Dallas’ chances to advance to the finals.  The other flight has Houston, Austin, SETX and Valley.  Gonna go with Houston here.  Still like Dallas to advance to Nationals but this one could go either way.
At 8.0, with a Rossouw sized roster, comes the High Point team that went 28-2 for the season.  I mean seriously, 23 people on a mixed roster?  You only play three lines a match.  At some point “I just want to be on the best team” has got to get a little old when you don’t actually play.  I want to be on the best team too but I want to be on it because I’m actually in the playoff rotation.  Ooops, that may answer the question of why I don’t actually get on the best teams.  (Pause for a moment of self reflection)
Dallas 8.0 is in a flight with NETX, San Angelo and Valley, all of which looks pretty manageable.  I tend to worry a little about small market teams that didn’t play many matches.  They’re usually pretty bad, but jump up every so often and are really good and you don’t see it coming.  I like Dallas to advance to the semis – let’s go ahead and get it over with – and to advance to Nationals.
And a nod to Dallas 7.0 which is sending two teams.  Don’t know a lot of these people but I’ve been led to believe that Houston is the favorite at this level.  Interestingly, if both Dallas teams win their flight it looks like they could square off in the semis before one of them would meet Houston in the finals.  It will depend on which flight the lucky loser comes out of.
And in the 'who knew' category, they actually have a 6.0 level playing with three teams.  There are none from Dallas but - wow - so many 2.5 ratings.  Is that really a thing?
Good luck to all.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Let the Combo-ing Begin. Or Re-Begin. Or Whatever.


This is the kind of commitment I like to see.

First, kudos to the DTA for rescheduling this event and not cancelling it.  You can tell from the number of teams that this got a lot of interest this year.  I know the calendar is pretty full already but this is the right result and it reflects a level of commitment that is appreciated.

Men’s 8.5 combo has two flight consisting of: Blue flight with Team Entrekin, Team Kingsley, Team Bearden, Team Mills and Team McHugh; Red flight with Team Sisk, Team Myers, Team Iyer, Team Kanchi and Team Arcaria. 

For the Blue flight, I think this is Kingsley’s to lose.  While that is entirely possible given past lineup challenges in various events, and while I am dubious about some of his 4.0s, I still think he takes the lighter Blue flight.  The real interest here will be who he plays when.  Several teams in this flight have pieces but look to lack the depth to really challenge at all three lines.

For the Red flight, I think it is Sisk’s to lose.  Unburdened by the temptation to play himself, Sisk will instead have to negotiate who plays with whom, while he’s also negotiating his way past Team Vatum, er Kanchi.  No hard feelings here, but I’m still surprised Vatum was allowed to come in at 4.5 after he got caught failing to remember he went to junior nationals.  Is Kalamazoo that non-descript?  Can't say as I’ve never been.  I’m also surprised Kanchi is letting Vatum back in the fold after failing to disclose to his captain that he should have come in at 5.5, not 3.5.  I mean, surely no one knew.  Right?

I'm not going to get into the 7.5 event but those are some of the worst 7.5 teams I've ever seen, and I'm not just talking about the team that has all 3.5s and 3.0s.

 Last Weekend’s Playoff Recap – The NOHO week in review

4.0 18+ Nationals – NOHO went undefeated in their flight posting a very strong 13-2 record.  Unfortunately they fell 3-2 to the NorCal team that won it all.  Spearman claimed all along that the 18s sectionals event was all about practicing for 40s and 55s.  Who expected the 40s and 55s teams to fall short while the 18s team played on Sunday at Nationals.  I’ve said it before but I’ll say it one more time, THIS WAS THE YEAR TO TAKE ADAVANTAGE OF A WEAK TEXAS 4.0 FIELD.  And you’d have gotten an extremely favorable flight draw at Nationals.  They’d never give Freeman that soft a flight at Nats.

9.0 55+ Sectionals – As predicted and a surprise to no one who was paying attention, Dallas obliterated the opposition going a perfect 9-0 at sectionals.  They lost one set in the process.  It was their first match so I can only assume they were still waking up.  Sorry but NOHO didn’t have a team.

8.0 55+ Sectionals – NOHO went undefeated in Flight 1 while Dallas struggled to a 2-2 finish losing to NOHO and Austin in two tight matches.  In the final it was Fort Worth, with actual Fort Worth guys, defeating NOHO 2-1.  Congrats to our little brothers to the west on their impending trip to Nationals.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

And Now For the Even Older Guys


No, they actually don't make a larger head size.  This is 3,000 sq inches.

You’ve all been anxiously awaiting it and here it is – 55s.  Don’t knock it.  You’ll be there too someday.  I may not make it that far, but surely you will. 

9.0 has only four teams and Dallas brings a strong bunch to the mix.  They are joined by Houston, San Antonio and Fort Worth.  Brookhaven/Goswami steamrolled through Dallas flight play this year going 27-3 over ten matches.  Pretty good for some country club boys.  Of course the Houston team went undefeated in lines but there were only two teams in the entire city so they played each other four times.  Not to be outdone, San Antonio matches Houston, also going 4-0. 12-0 against only one other team.  How about some variety guys?  By contrast, I’m sure the Fort Worth team is embarrassed only going 4-1, 11-4 against their one opponent.

8.0 has two flights with Dallas competing against Austin, NOHO, SETX and Lubbock.  The second flight shows Houston, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, NETX and Fort Worth.  As for Dallas’ chances, Austin had a so-so flight play season.  Spearman’s boys in NOHO look pretty tough.  There are some very familiar names coming from SETX.  And Lubbock is either bad or has done a great job of hiding the goods.  I’m going with the former.  With Dallas, NOHO and SETX, this is a tough flight.

This is a quick turn from the 40s recap so I didn’t do a lot of in-depth analysis.  Also I’m not 55 so I don’t really care.  But good luck none-the-less to the older crowd.  And congratulations on drawing the enviable resort location of Beaumont. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Men's Sectionals is Done and Dallas had a Rough Year!

If you ask players from any city in the state which cities are the power cities, you will hear Dallas and Houston.  Austin and San Antonio are usually the next tier but the road to Nationals nearly always goes through either Houston or Dallas.  Yet, we don't have much to show this year.

Before I get to our shortcomings, I must give out the bright spot first.  Bartzen's 5.0+ 18s T-Bar team did win Sectionals and is headed out to Mobile, Alabama for Nationals this weekend.  It is their duty to represent Dallas with pride.  They are in a flight with the Caribbean, SoCal and Eastern.  I like their team to do well but SoCal is always tough at 5.0+.  Fortunately, it is not in California or Arizona so it is possible some of those usual SoCal former D-1 players won't make the trip.  Also, I notice SoCal only has a single 5.5 listed on the roster.  Good luck guys as I will be following closely.  This should be some fine tennis.

Now my finger wagging begins...

This is a strange year and everything was there for the taking.  Freeman's usual mighty Houston teams were Missing in Action so the usual roadblock wasn't there.  I am unsure why we didn't break through.

In 4.5 18s, we were represented by Rossouw and Reiman.  We knew SETX would be strong but they had depth issues.  Rossouw had the bad fortune of drawing them on Friday when they were still fairly fresh.  It happens but when you sweep singles, you must believe you can find a doubles line.  It appears Rossouw outthought himself and tried to go 3-2-1 in singles and probably wins if he goes straight up.  

Reiman (Wild Dallas) did make the finals.  That is a good year but second is still the 'first loser' and is probably a bigger punch to the gut than eliminated on Friday of flight play.  Nevertheless, they were one line away (even one tiebrak if Foster can pull it off) from a trip to Palm Springs and a chance to compete.  Yet, there are more lineup decisions I am curous about.

Now this weekend, we go to San Antonio with Rossouw and Sweeney taking their shots at making it in 40s.  After all, pretty much the same team that was close to beating SETX was about to take on a bunch of 40 year olds, except it wasn't as the better team somehow finished behind the worse Rossouw team.  We should have a chance.  Once again, it played out pretty similar to 18s.

Rossouw and Co. started with Abilene and lost 3-2.  When I look at the lineups, it is clear Rossouw did not have his best available.  I am nt even sure why this was the Rossouw team that snuck in with the Wild Card.  The other team was much better.  I do not fault Rossouw as he clearly had a thin bench but the other team should have finished no worse than second.

Sweeney is similar to Reiman except I cannot fault his finals lineup.  He played Feldman and Todd is a solid 4.5 but he is no match for the ageless wonder Juan DeKruyff.  I am sure some numbnuts will say if he only had Kelly but I have news, Kelly's chances are no better against DeKruyff.  Most of us have to pay good money to get a lesson from someone like DeKruyff and Todd got a 30 minute lesson for free.  Sweeney was down 1-0 before it started and this is not really a knock on Feldman; there is always someone better.  On the flipside, Sweeney used his 5.0s to crush Austin's 1 Dubs line.  At line 2 singles, Moore defeated Sevin... but not really as Sevin walked off the court with a lead after Austin gets three lines.  The other matches were not really close.

I guess what I am trying to say is:  I guess someone may actually be able to beat our 4.5s 17 times in a row.  With 18s and 40s (and wildcards), it doesn't take as many years as it once did.

At 4.0, I am not going to be quite as hard on them as Dallas won a National Championship in both 18s and 40s as the troops should be depleted.  With Move Up/Split Up, most of last years guys were moved up and the few who were not, were 1) not deemed good enough to move up and 2) just not enough players to make a difference.

With that said, at 18s, there was a new Sheriff in town that told everyone he was here to kick ass and chew bubble gum and he was all out of bubble gum.  From all accounts, he had the best team but still failed to win his flight, cities and sectionals (as some anon in the previous thread so eloquently put it).  Kanchi's team had clearly never faced any adversity and when they did their character was losing three third set tiebreaks  so they were very close.  Only one line has to show up for 10 points.

Sisk's Dallas champions team went an underwhelming 2-2 at sectionals.  They did lose to the ultimate Sectionals champs of NOHO right out of the gate.  Yet, when one looks at that NOHO team, they are largely the same group of 55+ guys that have been eliminated in flight play for a very long time.  They are not bad but I have no reason to think they will defend the 4.0 titles for Texas.

Now to 40s, Dallas had Clark's defending Nationals Champions and as I predicted last week, I saw San Antonio winning this.  I must have a little Nostradamus in me as that is exactly what happened.  They were close but they got swept in singles.  It looks like it came down to a match tiebreak at 1 singles or 3 doubles.  Someone has to win a third set tiebreak and San Antonio did while Dallas went 0-2.  San Antonio beat down the Dallas Line 2 singles and Dallas Line 1&2 doubles beat down San Antonio's lines.  You cannot get swept in singles... I need to repeat that and scream so it will sink in...  YOU CANNOT GET SWEPT IN SINGLES!

Dallas gets shut out in these levels in a year that Freeman was nowhere to be found.  This is problematic but there is a ray of hope for 4.0 in that Move Up/Split Up will not affect you and from some appearances there is a Move Down movement going on.
As for 4.5, it is time for Rossouw & Reiman to join and drop about 45 players from your cumulative rosters.  Get the best of what you have ad pick up 4 or 5 ringers.  2 of those need to be singles ringers.