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 revealed.by 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.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Nobody beats Dallas 4.5s seventeen times in a row!


Dig that groovy hair.  Looks like the father of the mullet, but with curls.  I still have that racquet but I had to get rid of the short shorts.


Last year 4.5 over 40s was won by Austin while our Dallas boys won 4.0.  The over 40 events haven’t been around too long so let’s review the recent history.  At 4.5, the event has been won by Dallas (first year of the event and no nationals so I don't count it), then Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin and Austin.  At 4.0, it was Dallas, then San Antonio, then Dallas, then San Antonio, then Dallas.  Clearly I’m picking San Antonio to win 4.0 sectionals this year just based on the history. 

I’ve been swamped and haven’t had any time to research the state, but I’m tired of getting burned by the Dallas 4.5s so I’m not picking them to win sectionals at this event in its Nationals form until they actually do it once.  SpringPark is our Dallas rep this year and they do have a nice squad but you know the old saying, fool me once - something or other.  Then again there is my favorite tennis quote of all time, “Nobody beats Vetas Gerulaitis seventeen times in a row!”  Since its only been four times in a row, still not picking Dallas.

A quick review of the Dallas 4.0 squad does not inspire me to pick them either.  It’s almost impossible to reload after having won the prior year.  While this is a nearly new squad and it looks like they’ve moved to Huffhines from Fretz, it is a shell of last year’s team and I don’t see them getting it done at sectionals either. 

Sorry to not be more enthusiastic about Dallas’ chance at 40s this weekend but I just don’t see it.  Hope they both prove me wrong.

 

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Way Too Early Fall Playoff Predictions



Since the rodent that picks winners based on uniform colors was unavailable we've brought in an expert.



Ok, ok, one of those animals that picks Super Bowl winners could probably make more sense of these fall teams than I can, but the fall has been flighted so here’s my first impressions.  Welcome to the way too early look at 4.5 and 4.0 flights.
4.5 flight A - call me a sucker but I never really see a reason to start with anyone other than Greenhill/Rossouw in this flight.  Yes, he has 20 guys already and may break an all time roster record this fall but it's still the favorite.  The fight for what I guess will be the second playoff spot is much more interesting.  Village/Valentin, Lakes/Way, Oak Creek/Pribadi and Gleneagles/Juhn all have playoff experience making this a tough one to call.  Looks like this could be a rough 4.5 fall flight.  And hard to say GH was getting a pass to the playoffs this time.


4.5 flight B - as with flight A, I see no reason not to start with JCC/Reiman here.  But unlike flight A, Brookhaven/Harllee looks like the clear favorite to take the other spot.  Not nearly as much depth in this flight but with JCC and BH in this flight together it would be hard to say DTA got this wrong.  These flights look pretty evenly spread out, at least at the top. 


4.0 flight A – based on reputation this should be the most competitive flight.  You have Dallas spring champion Garland/Sisk, and three regular playoff contenders in Brookhaven/Bartlett, Greenhill/Ohl and Oak Creek/Rich.  I also think the Canyon Creek/Nolen has a pretty good top eight but they struggle when the rest play.  This flight has enough good teams that it might come down to availability but let’s start with GTC and Brookhaven.

4.0 flight B – don’t really mean to rub it in but since McKinney/Kanchi still hasn't won a flight, city playoffs or sectionals yet, they've got to win the fall don't they?  Vying for second in this flight and a likely playoff berth will be Huffhines/Ratcliffe and a whole lot of not much else.

4.0 flght C – this looks like Huffhines/Jayaram and Oak Creek/Iyer again.  And not a whole lot to challenge them.  At least flight A will be fun to watch.


Looks like it's just a bad year to be in flight A - any flight A.