Wednesday, December 23, 2015

It's 75 Degrees, Time for the Cotton Bowl

The Cotton Bowl Classic is nearly upon us and the draws came out yesterday.  While its 75 and sunny today, it looks like the tourney could kick off with rain so if you're following the draws to go watch your buddies they may be in disarray this weekend. 

Men's Open singles has its typical 128 draw with local college talent at the top of the seed list.  For all you 4.5s and 4.0s who think you got beat by an open level/5.0 player this year, here is your chance to go see what one actually looks like.  Of more interest to me, the men's Open doubles draw sports two Brookhaven club pros at the top of the seed list: John Nallon (formerly of Texas A&M - Gig 'em!) and Will Stein (formerly of TCU - Go Frogs!).  The #2 seeds in double are also the #1 and #3 seeds in singles so lots of firepower if both groups make it through.  Don't count the not so old pros out.  In 2014 Stein/Kadhe won the Open doubles and Stein was a finalist in Open singles.  In 2013 Nallon/Odgers won Open doubles and Stein was again a finalist in Open singles.

Men's 4.5 and 4.0 singles both kick off on Saturday with the 4.5 men sporting a 64 draw and the 4.0s sporting a 128 draw.  That's a lot for these events historically.  The 4.5 draw has a smattering of the better league singles guys in it but the 4.0 draw looks pretty weak considering its size.  I particularly don't see the high seeds holding up.  4.5 and 4.0 doubles is wide open.  Not a lot of names you'd recognize from even city playoffs.  If you're auditioning for a spring contender here's your chance to make a good run.

Men's 5.0 only has two players but I'd bet that's due to the deep Open draw.  The father-son has some interesting teams but I'd think the Stitt clan is pretty strong.  But no one is braver than the husband-wife combos.  Good luck to them.  I even took a quick look at the mixed draws.  Similar to the rest of what I saw, deep draws but short on high end talent.

Nonetheless, if you win the Cotton Bowl you have achieved something regardless of who you had to go through to do it so good luck to all. 

Go out and support the tourney and your friends if possible.  We all know you aren't really working next week anyway. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Tri-level Update - Fort Worth Style

Kelly looking pretty buff leading his 300 4.0s

Kelly and his band of 300 4.0s descended on Cowtown last weekend and snagged the FW tri-level invitation to sectionals.  No real surprise there.  After all there were only two teams in the whole event.  With this team fielding a horde of 4.0s and there only being two teams, it seemed like someone wouldn't get qualified.  Well, they went with an 8.5 line for Saturday's matches and that got five 4.0s in the qualified  column.  Luckily Miller was nice enough to play a third match even though they were down 2-0 so Rigney could get his participation medal on Sunday.  That also let Kelly and Pollard get one match in so it ended up being a big match.

While not exactly a good measurement of how this team might fair at sectionals, there were only two close matches.  One was at the 4.5 line and one was at the 4.0 line but both were teams that likely don't see the big matches come February. 

This FW team is a lock to win all its 3.5 matches.  It's 4.0 and 4.5 lines are obviously good but there have also been teams at sectionals over the last few years that could have beaten what FW will bring on those two lines.  That should make it very interesting as we get closer.

And personally I'm always more interested when I've found a theme for an event.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Fall City Winners

Just to catch you up if you didn't see it already, but here are the winners of the fall city tourney from last weekend.

5.0 Champion - T Bar/Bartzen came through a four team tournament format with a pair of 2-1 wins to take the 5.0 title, defeating JCC/Reiman in the final.  T Bar swept the doubles matches in the final with relatively close wins.  They also swept the doubles in their semi-final match but with relatively easy wins.

4.5 Champion - Greenhill Red/Rossouw over JCC/Reiman with a tight 3-2 win.  Picking these two teams in the finals didn't seem that hard but both advanced on consecutive 3-2 wins in flight play as well.  In the final, it doesn't happen often but JCC swept Greenhill in singles and then Greenhill swept JCC in doubles.  Four of the five matches were close.  It looks like the swing match was a three set win by Kingsley and O'Bannon at line 1 doubles.  Again, congratulations to both these captains for their consistency.

4.0 Champion - McKinney/Kanchi.  While I mused nostalgically about a GTC/Greenhill reunion matchup, you may recall that I also said McKinney had the best team.  It was actually McKinney with a commanding 4-1 win over Brookhaven/Bartlett in the final.  Both teams came out of flight play with 3-0 (10-5) records so while the final may have been 4-1 both teams had to win a couple of 3-2 matches to get out of their respective flights.

3.5 Champion - McKinney/Jones won a four team round robin format.  Jones also took his spring team to sectionals.  Nice job for 2015.

3.0 Champion - there was no playoff but Huffines/Lacy was the flight play champion.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Fall Playoff Picks

First the disclaimers: I’m assuming the weather cooperates and all the second place teams play; I’m assuming everyone is available; I’m assuming the best players play every match; and I’m assuming there is no way all those things will happen.  And maybe that’s ok.  The fall does seem to be a time when some teams lengthen the bench a little and let more guys join in the playoff competition.  Of course some captains do that all year long and seem to have success with it, particularly at the 4.5 level. 

4.0 Playoffs – they have a two flight system as in years past so it’s very helpful to have found your way into the weaker flight, there always is one. 

Red flight – here we find flight winner Hackberry Creek/Myers (flight B, 7-1), second place Brookhaven/Bartlett (flight B, 6-2), flight winner Garland/Sisk (flight C, 7-1 and second place Oak Creek/Iyer (flight D, 5-2).  Whatever happened to the old Dirty Garland tee shirts?  I’m as much a fan as warm beer and flack jackets worn during the match as anybody.  Can I still get one on Ebay? 

The Red flight is interesting because it’s a traditional playoff contenders and newcomers.  Garland and Brookhaven are back in the playoff hunt and after Hackberry’s surprise showing at tri-level I wouldn’t count them out.  Oak Creek had a nice run but I think it ends here.  I’m going to have to break out a few PBR 40s and call this one for Garland.  For the uninitiated, that’s the beer you see in the brown paper bags on skid row, not a weapon.  Sisk has no depth so if he spreads his lineup thin he’s out.

Blue flight – here we find flight winner McKinney/Kanchi (flight A, 8-0), second place Oak Creek/Rich (flight A, 7-1), second place Greenhill/Ohl (flight C, 6-2) and flight winner Greenhill/Eckenrode (flight D, 6-1).  So it’s an intra-squad face off with Greenhill versus Greenhill, the newcomer in McKinney and the ever present Oak Creek squad.  This is pretty good depth top to bottom. 

The Blue flight has its own intrigue.  Nobody wants it more than Eckenrode’s boys but that isn’t always enough.  McKinney already beat Oak Creek once so I’ll assume they can do it again.  Then there is Ohl’s guys.  Lots of playoff experience here.  Since I’m already committed to the old school theme at 4.0 I’m going with Ohl’s guys in this flight, especially since half of Ohl’s roster used to play at Garland.  McKinney has the best team but I’m nostalgic.

4.5 Playoffs – same format in 4.5 as 4.0.

Red flight – here we find flight winner Fair Oaks/Valentin (flight A, 8-1), second place Lakes/Way (flight B, 8-1) and flight winner Greenhill Red/Rossouw (flight C, 7-1). 

Blue flight – here we find second place Greenhill Blue/Rossouw (flight A, 8-1), flight winner JCC/Reiman (flight B, 9-0) and second place Gleneagles/Juhn (flight C, 7-1). 

Last year Rossouw had two flight winners.  Are we slipping a little bit?  If my team split in half we couldn’t win a 3.0 flight.  But again, two teams in the playoffs is pretty impressive.  The Red flight is arguably a little tougher because it has two flight winners but these second place teams in 4.5 are no slouches.  This could easily be the spring playoffs. 

By way of example, flight winner Fair Oaks lost to second place Greenhill Blue in flight play but edged them out on the lines won tie breaker after Greenhill slipped up to lowly Greenhill/Orsak (3-6) late in the season.  An unusual type of loss for a Rossouw team but he did default a line.  Without the default this team is the undefeated flight winner. 

Flight B was JCC lose to exactly no one.  They only suffered two 3-2 matches all season.  At 38-7 that’s pounding the wins out every week.  Five out of nine matches were sweeps.  I like that kind of mentality.  Lakes fell only to JCC but a tight 2-3 margin.  And both teams took out a tough Brookhaven/Harllee team.  This flight was brutal. 

Flight C had its own interesting dynamic, with flight winner Greenhill Red losing 2-3 to TBar/Fikes.  Rossouw’s boys squeezed them out on the lines won tie breaker at 31 to 29, a very tight race.  There was no defaulted line here, but TBar did manage to win two of three third set tie breakers, all in doubles.  Juhn’s boys had an impressive season but went down to Greenhill Red 1-4.  Three of the matches were Greenhill won were tight but they did win all three of them and winning is still winning. 

All that being said, I tend to reward consistency so it’s Reiman versus Rossouw.  Several of these teams are virtually interchangeable and each of these captains has their challenges.  Reiman has the 18 man roster to contend with.  Assuming he wants to keep everyone happy since it’s the fall, he’s going to need to nail his lineups.  Rossouw has the opposite problem.  While he does have 15 guys, he split his two rosters pretty evenly so he’s not at full strength. 

No disrespect to 4.0 but I’m very excited about the 4.5 fall playoff matchups and I’m hoping to be able to get out for some good tennis and root some of my friends on.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Fall Playoffs?

I clearly saw that ball out.

There has been some discussion of fall playoff format, particularly after what happened last year when the DTA shortened the event by excluding second place teams.  This is particularly interesting considering the DTA moved the playoffs to December 4-6.  I have no inside information on how it will all turn out this year, or what the weather will be like, but if you want to play in the playoffs I hope you won your flight, just in case.  Of course the 3.0s need not worry since they have no playoff.  As of now the weather looks like it might cooperate.

Not sure if the DTA would consider shortening the playoffs for some levels and not for others but if I were in a 4.0 flight I might be worried. 

For those of you who did not get the email from the DTA regarding the fall playoffs, here is their disclaimer on possible weather cancellations.  The DTA’s goal is to host a City Championship.  However, if faced with inclement weather, as the tournament organizer the DTA maintains the right to alter post season play (i.e. number of advancing teams, format, etc…) or possibly even cancellation.

I don’t know enough about scheduling issues to take an informed stand on the issue of shortening the playoffs.  If that's what they need to do because of weather, probably all they can do at this point.  However, I do believe to retain any integrity the DTA should not be allowed to simply cancel the fall playoffs in their entirety.  It may very well be beyond the DTA's control and a shortened format could be implemented again, but a total cancellation would be a big problem.

Good luck and let’s hope for mild weather.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

New Ratings are Out!

You may wonder what this picture has to do with rating; it has nothing; but it was too funny to leave out and I had no other idea how to work it in to a post.  If ratings came out an Dallas truly got a screwjob, I might have said it was Todd Reed treating Rudolph like Dallas but that didn't appear to happen. 

New ratings are out and I did not see any major surprises.  I am sure there are quite a few but I don't have time to go through them.

I should have a fall playoff post out soon.  I know the 40+ geezers are trying to get teams together in a very short period because per the DTA that USTA Texas said it was not allowed to have mid-season leagues.  All of this while, Austin plays 40s with mid-season ratings as well.

Oh well, please discuss all the ratings.

Monday, November 23, 2015

SpringPark 7.0 over 40 team takes 3d at Nationals

Congrats to the SpringPark 7.0 over 40 mixed team for their third place finish at Nationals yesterday.  The Dallas bunch came out a four team flight with Intermountain, Southwest and Caribbean.  Only the closest of losses in the semi-final kept them out of a title shot, going down to NorCal 2-1 while dropping two third set tie-breakers.  Looking over the results, it looks like this team was lead by Mike Zackary (who went 4-0 at mixed nationals as well as 5-0 at men’s 40s nationals) and Mike Pearson (who went 2-1 at mixed nationals and 6-0 at men’s 40s nationals).  That’s a great season for this team.

This concludes our coverage of USTA Nationals events.  We will now be returning you to your regularly scheduled broadcast, which we will pick up in progress.  In our case, that means year end ratings will be coming out soon.  I’d expect either November 30 or December 1.  Once it comes out I will post the link for you to take a look.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

8.0 over 40 Mixed Nationals - You Wont' Believe This One

I'm a little late on this one but I was trying to do some behind the scenes research.  Didn't get many insights but its a crazy story nonetheless. 

Texas was represented by Fort Worth at this national event.  However, as some of you already know, Fort Worth didn't actually win sectionals.  Dallas won it.  There were some intervening grievances filed with the DTA and Fort Worth ended up representing Texas.  I'm sure someone could probably write a book on what happened on the court and off regarding the grievances and the subsequent rulings, but I don't know enough to really address it.  Luckily, I have no doubt that several anons will be able to shed some light on what happened.  If anything I've heard about the grievances is true, that part of the story is actually relevant to the nationals story.  So what happened?

Fort Worth heads out to Nationals and wins its flight.  And it was a really tough flight.  As has been a pattern this year, Texas was in with Caribbean again.  They also had NorCal, Midwest and Northern.  Having two tough teams and the five team flight, FW still managed to get through at 4-0 (10-2).  However, the other three flights were showing advancing teams that were all undefeated and just as dominant. 

The semis pitted FW (10-2) against Florida (8-1) and also saw SoCal (7-2) against Mid-Atlantic (8-1).  As you may know by now, FW lost to Florida 3-0 - swept.  For me, that was hard to imagine.  Granted, all three lines went to third set tie breakers so it couldn't have been any closer but I never imagined this team could be swept.  The other half had SoCal defeating Mid-Atlantic 2-1.  Then FW played the 3 versus 4 match and lost again.  It's true that many people can tell you how hard nationals really can be, and some years are tougher than others, but this had to be an extremely tough year.

If your thing is to get on here and disparage individual players (I'd suggest you might want to take up a new recreational hobby), you'll at least have to look up the individual results yourself.  But the story does get stranger.  I guess this is a new thing, or at least I've never heard of it before, but guess who won the sportsmanship award?  Yes, Fort Worth did.  As I understand it, this is voted on during the course of flight play and awarded late Saturday.  But it is voted on by the players at Nationals. 

And here's where you guys or girls will have to help me out on the background, but if I understand it correctly the grievances were based on unsportsmanlike conduct and winning too much.  I'm sure there's more to it, feel free to fill in the blanks.  But with that back drop, somebody lost twice and was on the team awarded the sportsmanship trophy by their fellow competitors.  You're making this stuff up, right? 

I win enough and lose enough that those aren't my biggest issues.  But when I heard FW won the sportsmanship trophy I nearly fell over laughing.  Not because I felt them undeserving, I'm sure they're very nice people and isn't FW always nicer than Dallas anyway.  But to see this saga come full circle was too ironic to almost believe.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

4.0 and 3.5 Update

4.0 Update

Flight A has McKinney/Kanchi running the table undefeated.  With six wins that were 3-2 it was tough going.  Oak Creek/Rich takes the second spot with a 7-1 finish.  The rest of the pack had fallen off in this flight.

In flight B, Hackberry Creek/Myers continues its surprising run and finished in first place at 7-1.  The interesting activity was the race for second.  McKinney/Oh beat Brookhaven/Bartlett to take control of second place.  The last match of the season they only needed to get past 2-5 Greenhill to secure the second playoff spot.  As you can guess by now, they didn't.  After sweeping singles easily, McKinney proceeded to be swept in doubles, dropping them into third place and allowing Brookhaven to advance to cities on the lines won tie breaker.

Flight C saw Garland/Sisk finish in first at 7-1 but their only loss was to second place Greenhill/Ohl so much to still resolve in the playoffs in this flight.  Greenhill had a very interesting season.  They lost the first two matches to middle of the road teams and managed to put together a six match winning streak, including the win over Garland, to finish the season and lock up the playoff spot.  Greenhill went 18-2 over it's last four matches allowing it to pass Las Colinas/Otey on the lines won tie breaker.  Las Colinas had beaten Greenhill but lost to Royal Oaks down the stretch.

Flight D has Greenhill/Eckenrode finish in first at 6-1 a match clear of the field.  Oak Creek/Iyer has two early losses but finished very strong down the stretch winning its last four matches at 18-2.  Their win over McKinney/Parrish and the strong lines finish allowed them to overtake McKinney for second place on the lines won tie breaker.

3.5 Update

Flight A has Fretz/Clark undefeated at 7-0 with JCC/Gerard taking the second playoff spot at 6-1.  The second place spot came down to a final match with Greenhill/Alzuro and a close 3-2 win by JCC to advance.

In flight B, LB Houston/Tinner took the top spot at 6-1 on the lines won tie breaker.  Second place was McKinney/Jones.  McKinney needed a late win over JCC to secure their second place finish but couldn't overtake LB Houston's 28-7 lines record.

Monday, November 16, 2015

5.0 and 4.5 Update

5.0 Update

Flight A has Fair Oaks/Perkison and JCC/Reiman tied in the loss column with two matches dropped for each.  Brookhaven/Harllee was nipping at their heels but they dropped their last two matches and have now fallen two back with one to play.  It's Fair Oaks and JCC to the playoffs.

Flight B had a one loss TBar/Bartzen leading the pack followed by SpringPark/Vahdat and Lakes/Jannasch both holding two losses.  TBar registered a win, as did SpringPark, but Lakes took the loss from TBar so they have fallen one back of SpringPark with one match left to play.  Lakes gets one win Seay but SpringPark gets one win Greenhill.  Even a Lakes win and a SpringPark loss won't advance Lakes due to tie breakers so it's TBar and SpringPark on to the playoffs.

4.5 Update

Flight A had a little shake up this weekend.   Greenhill Blue/Rossouw sat alone at 7-0 with only the two last place teams left to play.  And they lost 2-3 anyway.  They did manage to win the second match but their loss, coupled with a Fair Oaks/Valentin win over LB Houston/Moore allowed Fair Oaks to leap frog Greenhill into first place.  Absent a shortened city finals, its Fair Oaks and Greenhill from flight A.

Flight B has JCC/Reiman as the only undefeated team at 9-0.  The second playoff spot came down to Lakes/Way (6-1) and Brookhaven/Harllee (6-2).  Lakes finished with a 1-5 Canyon Creek team and 5-3 TBar.  Harllee had only 2-5 Huffines to contend with.  A 4-1 win over TBar gave Lakes the second playoff spot.

Flight C had another Greenhill/Rossouw (Red) team undefeated at 6-0 but they took the late loss to TBar/Fikes.  In a repeat of flight A results, the late loss by Greenhill allowed Gleneagles/Juhn to overtake them momentarily.  Greenhill has one match left against 1-5 Hackberry Creek.  If Greenhill wins this match they will retake first place on either the matches won tie breaker or the head to head tie breaker.

If these names sound familiar it’s because these captains seem to be in the playoffs year in and year out.  Congrats to them on their consistency.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Mixed Nationals, 18s and 40+ Up Next

Mixed Doubles Nationals is the last stop before End of Year Ratings.  This weekend we have 18+ but unfortunately Dallas is not represented.  The following weekend at 40+, Springpark represents Texas in 7.0 and 8.0 (I think but not sure).  In 9.0, Fort Worth (aka Dallas-West) represents Texas.

This weekend at 7.0, San Antonio represents the Lone Star State.  This team looks solid as they took out both Dallas and Houston.  They also look like the 40+ finalists that went up against Alan's Nationals Bound team.  This should assist Alan in gauging his team's chances. Best of luck, represent Texas well and bring Texas another title!

At 8.0, San Antonio is once again representing Texas.  I have to think this slot belonged to Alan and company had everything that happened did not.  At least Greenhill got their shot at sectionals and made the city all proud.  I am still unsure about what happened here but something just doesn't feel right.  Regardless, this team went 6-0 on lines in the semis and finals.  I like their chances to do well.  Good luck and represent Texas well.

At 9.0, we have SETX and they look strong.  Tyler Cobb, 5.0 with a 4.0 rating plays a line.  I have to think that line will be tough!  The team has the men from the SETX 4.5 Sectionals finalists.  This team should be stout.

Good luck to all of you but if Texas is going to win any mixed titles, I have to say I want it to come from the next group of middle aged geezers.  They are from Dallas (many of the Fort Worth team is from Dallas too).

At 7.0, we have Alan's Springpark crew.  It has a lot of familiar names like Pearson, Clark, Zackary, Mauldin and Wiley.  We know they have the Springpark women and Alan usually has those women Mixed ready.  As previously mentioned, they will look have an idea about their chances after they see how the San Antonio team they beat plays this weekend.  Good luck as I am not sold on this team but I do think it has the best chance to play on Sunday.

At 8.0, I thought this team was as close to a lock as you can have at nationals.  I didn't think anybody could stop this juggernaut but the DTA proved me wrong with a story I would still love to hear.  So what happened, now it is Fort Worth representing with who else on the roster???  Voldemort!  Well done DTA!  We all know Voldemort is a great mixed doubles player and generally puts the team up 1-0.  The group from Fort Worth have a lot of guys who have payed a lot of mixed.  if they had Alan version 4.0 and Kyle Davidson, I'd love their chances.  I don't think they are dead and it is not impossible but it will be tough.  Good luck guys, represent Dallas (oops, I mean Fort Worth) well.

At 9.0, Fort Worth (better known as West-Dallas) brings another team to the dance.  After losing to Dallas in match one of sectionals, they roared back and made it the dance.  They have players from last years 9.0 Nationals team and a others.  This team has a good chance to make it a long way.  Good Luck and represent Texas well!

After Mixed, we have year end ratings and the all important fall playoffs. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Thrill of Victory, Then the Agony of Defeat

I’m now sorry I wasn’t able to make any of the tri-level matches this weekend.  I heard there was some pretty good tennis.  But a quick check of tennislink told me there was a lot more going on over the weekend than predicted.  Evidently there were some surprises left after all.  The final results weren’t particularly interesting considering the top two teams finished as I expected; it’s how they got there that got my attention.

On Friday, Team Tony sweeps Team Bearden and Team Corey/Vince sweeps Team Myers.  Ok, no surprises there.  Saturday morning Team Corey/Vince sweeps Team Kanchi and Team Tony sweeps Team Myers.  So now it should be down to the only undefeated teams who play Sunday morning.  So what happens?  Team Tony wins the 3.5 line, Le/Tran lose to Arcaria/Sullivan in straight sets, and Noel/Barrie beat Chavez/Nguyen in three sets.  I did hear Corey played a third set tie breaker to remember.  And just like that it’s over.  Team Le has no more matches left and Team Corey/Vince only have to beat Team Bearden to advance.  At this point Team Bearden was swept by Team Tony and Team Myers, only beating a winless Team Kanchi 2-1.  So they are a collective 2-7 going into the last match.

Team Corey/Vince wins the first set on all three lines and then loses the 3.5 and 4.5 lines in third set tie breakers.  Team Tony advances on the lines won tie breaker.  I don’t know who set the final lineup for that last match but rumor has it that Pete Carroll was consulted.  I wasn’t there so I don’t know who was available but I’m told better players were present and watching the matches.  This is part of the excitement about tri-level.  With only three lines playing, one little slip up and the match has turned the other way. 

Houston plays its tri-level cities this weekend.  Looks like they will lead with their 4.5 line.  Even though they lost, I still have to think Tony’s team leads with its 4.0 line.  And with all respect to Kelly, Fort Worth leads with their 3.5 line. 

In a quick sectionals preview: in a Dallas v Houston match I’d give the 4.5 line to Houston, the 4.0 line to Dallas and I make the 3.5 line the swing vote; in a Dallas v FW match I’d give the 4.5 line to FW, the 4.0 line to Dallas, and the 3.5 line to FW; in a Houston v FW match I’d make the 4.5 line a push, but give the 4.0 line and the 3.5 line to FW.  Of course the Houston and FW rosters aren’t finalized yet so one last addition could make a difference.  This assumes all teams play their best lineups for these matches and FW adds one more 4.5.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Tri-level Arrives - Any More Surprises Left?

Yes it’s finally here.  I just like researching and writing about this event (as you saw last year).  You can always count on Tri-level for a little humor, a little intrigue, and some good tennis.  But mainly it's about known quantities.  There are no self rates so there should be no surprises.  Yes, you can get to sectionals Sunday and some guy can pop out of the woodwork to crush your dreams, but if he did you should already know him by now.  This is a bit of an all star event and for the most part everyone knows everyone.  So let's begin.

And as has now become a combo/tri-level tradition of sorts, Vince Kingsley has merged teams with someone – in this case Corey Noel.  As is often the case on merged teams, it’s an eclectic bunch.  The 4.5s are Vince and Corey, along with Robert Barrie, Ryan Kirkpatrick and Hector Valentin.  For 4.0s they have Mike Sullivan, Craig Waters, Shawn Arcaria and John Sellars.  At 3.5 it’s Jeffrey Yarbrough Michael Campbell, Pushkar Chhajed and Jonathan Wraith.  Do these guys even know each other?  Sounds like a good over 40 tri-level team to me.  Do they have that?  Still some good players and maybe a wild card winner if one is given.

Moving on down tennislink we find the Tony Le team.  Here are some names that have spent a lot of time together recently.  Jean Nguyen, Alfredo Perez, Marcos Chavez and Sam Huynh anchor the 4.5 line with Tony, Hai Nguyen, Victor Tran, Ryan DelaPaz and Jared Kemp back from their 4.0 national title in time to lace them back up for this weekend.  The 3.5s are Mo Mahmoud We-Ben Lai, Nick Strohla and Ryan McClanahan.  If you don't know these guys by now you are on the wrong blog.  This looks like the team to beat in Dallas.

Ranganath Kanchi comes to the table with Christopher Fess, Forest Berg and Michael Glasgow at 4.5; Greg Maxey, Mark Sweeney and Osiel Salinas at 4.0; and Ronald Jones, Gary Paparella, Rich Faris and Michael Devitt at 3.5.  Respectable but I’m feeling like this is a team vying for third.

Blake Bearden’s team looks like a whole bunch of 4.0s mixed in at different levels.  Chad Carlquist, Keith Robinson and Blake are the 4.5 line; Bob Somabut, Wah Jeung and David Kingery at 4.0; with Kris Whiteley, Phil Hord, Michael Nelson and Alan Fishman at 3.5.  I like these guys and I’m sure they’ll have a good time.

Mike Myers comes in with Daniel Barta, Roger Myers and Sean O’Neil at 4.5; Tony LaMoy, Dusty Dendy and Mike Myers at 4.0; and Kapil Lahoti, Timothy Boyce and David Bitterman at 3.5.  Don’t see a Hackberry team that often in tri-level so good luck guys.

And now for a quick look at the Dallas West roster.  None other than Garland’s own John Sisk has a team out of Fort Worth.  He has Brent Shreiner, Donnie Pollard and some guy named Kelly on the 4.5 line; Alan Abbruzzese, Mike Zackary, Wayne Rigney, Mark Nguyen, Hai Nguyen (the FW version) and Scott Faris at 4.0; and Dong Long and Tam Huynh at 3.5.  Before you say ‘who are these guys’, let me give you a little recent history.  At 4.5, Kelly you may know but I’m guessing they’ll be adding another 4.5 here.  At 4.0, Mark Nguyen and his 18s partner took out one of Freeman’s doubles lines in sectionals semis and only dropped one game. They also beat the Tony Le team of Hai Nguyen and Jared Kemp in three sets, so this guy can evidently play.  Hai Nguyen (FW) went 6-3 in 18s and 40s sectionals.  And if they break up the FW guys, Scott Faris just came back from 4.0 over 40 nationals where he played the #1 singles line five times and only gave up 10 total games. 

But my real reason for bringing up FW is their two 3.5s.  If you think Dallas or Houston has the market cornered on shady, take a look at these two guys.  Dong Long (yeah, that is his listed name, maybe he hasn't changed it from 16 Candles), as a computer rated 3.5, went 15-0 at 4.0 with wins over one of Freeman’s lines in sectionals semis (1-0), Tony Le’s lines in sectionals finals (3 sets), and another 6-1, 6-0 over Klamecki and Hicks at city finals.  His 3.5 running mate is Tam Huynh.  He was a combined 39-1 this year as a 4.0, losing only in sectionals finals at #1 singles.  There are two other FW teams listed but neither has a single player listed yet.  Do you blame them?

Freeman’s roster is still taking shape so the bigger picture for tri-level will get covered before sectionals but I wanted to touch on the Dallas West team so you’ll know what everyone else knows.

Congratulations 40+ 4.0 Champs... Dallas Brings Home another National Championship!

Keith Clark's 4.0 40+ team won a National Title at Indian Wells.  Needless to say, Texas 4.0 did well this year.  The two teams had some of the same faces but it was actually the lesser known names that came through.  Scott Faris (whoever this is), dominated and will earn a much deserved promotion.  Jacques Mbede (where does Clark recruit this guy?) will get the same.  Both looked to have dominated in the finals.

In Doubles, Tony Le and Mike Pearson won a 3 setter.  Mike Zacakary and Stephen Graham looked to win.  They dropped a third set tiebreaker on the other line.  It appears that they were closer to sweeping than losing.  Congratulations and thanks for bring another title to Dallas!

After sectionals, I thought this was the strongest Texas was top to bottom at all levels.  Texas won at 3.5 and 4.0 18s.  They won 4.0 at 40s.  They placed 4th at 4.5.  All of this success means one thing; Texas will get punished in they ear end ratings by the computer.  There will be a lot of people bumped that otherwise would not.  It s time to just wait for the new ratings to emerge. 

The fall season is wrapping up, Tri-Level is next and Mixed Nationals Season is now upon us.  There is more to discuss than usual.

Once again, congratulations to Fretz/Clark for a National Championship.  As we all know, Houston has got the better f us over the years.  It is really nice to tip the scale back our way.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Mid Level 4.0 and Mid Life Crisis Nationals 40+ Nationals

We are in our last weekend of Men's Nationals  Our very own 40+ 4.0 Dallas team represents us.  Fretz/Clark looks eerily similar to Le/High Point 18s sans Tony's young ringers.  Regardless, you have Tony, De La Paz, Newman/Voss, Arcaria and  Clark.  That looks like some pretty stout doubles.

In singles, Clark used Scott Faris (who?) and Jacques Mbede (Who?) in the sectionals finals.  Both easily handled Janek and Vu who are a couple of Freeman's front tine players.  There is Zackary for quality depth.  I can't imagine many people have this much 40s singles depth.

I am liking their chances but they are in a tough flight.  They have the always tough Caribbean and they get to start with them.  They follow that up with Eastern which is not a typical power section but they will have something.  On Saturday, they get Florida and I have to think Florida is better at 55+ but they usually have excellent players.  They finish with Midwest which is usually tough.  They don't have an easy go of it.

In the end, since I am a Dallas guy and I am picking Texas to win everything, I am picking them.  Their excellent doubles lines and great singles depth tell me they have a great chance.  Good Luck Boys!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

4.5 and 3.5 over 40s Nationals

4.5s - Indian Wells, now that's living right.

Texas is represented by a tough Austin team that is driven by an unstoppable force at #1 singles.  And if I have to have one player, I'd like him to be an unstoppable force at #1 singles.  Don't really have to worry as much about who he draws.

Flight 5 has Midwest, Caribbean, Northern California, New England and Hawaii.  Caribbean isn't the powerhouse at 4.5 that it is at 3.0 and 3.5.  Hawaii has surprised on the upside at 4.5 before but NoCal has to be the favorite here.

Flight 6 has Middle States, Texas, Southern California and Eastern.  Ouch.  Texas, Middle States and SoCal are all tough to get through. Juan Dekruyff from the Austin team has sailed through the season and the most interesting thing for me to watch will be how he does at nationals.  He has rocked some very good players in Texas.  Austin beat San Angelo in sectionals finals 3-2 but both losses were in three sets.  The Texas/SoCal match will be huge but sooner or later I've got to take Texas.

Flight 7 is Mid-Atlantic, Northern, Southwest and Pacific NW.  Mid-Atlantic has had some success at this level before but this team is a bit of a mystery.  This is a pick 'em.

Flight 8 is Southern, Florida, Intermountain and Missouri Valley.  The haves and the have nots.  Southern and Florida duke it out but Southern is my pick.

3.5s - Tucson, that should be punishment enough.

Fight 5 has the five team flight of Pacific NW, Hawaii, Southwest, Southern California and Missouri Valley.  I'd have to look at PacNW or SoCal to take this flight but don't overlook Southwest when you get into these old guy formats.

Flight 6 has New England, Northern, Eastern and Mid-Atlantic.  Sorry but I wouldn't expect any of these teams to make the semis if they weren't all in the same flight together.  Maybe one of them will surprise.  I'll take Mid-Atlantic for no particular reason.

Texas is in flight 7 along with Southern, Eastern, Florida and Mid-Atlantic.  That's a pretty solid flight.  Can't imagine why Caribbean isn't in there with Texas and Southern.  I also like to look at Florida for old guy events, just the law of averages.  Let's go with Southern here.

Flight 8 has Middle States, Northern California, Caribbean and Midwest.  Another respectable flight.  I'll take this flight winner to at least make the finals.  NorCal is always tough, but if it's 3.5 or 3.0, you have to go through Caribbean.  They aren't as dominant at the age levels as they are at 18s but they did just win the national title at 3.0 over 40 last weekend.

For those of you that may not recall, 3.5 over 40s was an all San Antonio final.  The team that won cities ended up getting beat by Wild San Antonio in sectionals finals.  While both teams looked pretty strong on paper, I'm going to shy away from picking Texas in this division.

Monday, October 19, 2015

8.5 Combo Champs

Combo can be the forgotten event.  There aren't a lot of competitors and if you aren't in the know it might just pass by without you even noticing it.  It's also not a glamor event like tri-level with the allure of playing at Indian Wells during the BNP.  I hear it's a tremendous experience.

It seems like most people drawn to 7.5 combo didn't make the playoffs or go far so this is another shot at the brighter lights.  This was not the case with 8.5 combo, however.  In recent years it seems like this has been an event with a lot of focus from one John Sisk and this year was no different.  Last year he was taken out by a surprising team out of Wichita Falls and in 2013 it was a tough finals loss to San Antonio.  It was 2012 the last time Sisk hoisted the 8.5 combo trophy.

But this year, led by his national champion 4.0s instead of his traditionally strong 4.5s, the Sisk/Kingsley team swept a surprising Midland team in the finals.

Congrats on the win guys.  Sorry it's only a towel and not a trip to Palm Springs.

But I'm already starting to scour the rosters in Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Fort Worth for an in depth tri-level overview.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

If at first you don't succeed, at least try one more time

Normally I wouldn't focus on something like 3.0 over 40 Nationals but a funny thing happened this weekend.  This event was a three flight format so the best second place team makes the semi-finals along with the three flight play winners.  In this case, the flight winners were Pacific NW (1), Southern (2) and Texas (3).  This would normally have flight 1 winner PNW against flight 3 winner Texas in the semis and flight 2 winner Southern playing the best second place team Caribbean.  However, since Southern and Caribbean were originally in the same flight they can't play each other in the semis so it was Caribbean versus Texas and Southern versus Pacific NW.

In flight play Southern had beaten Caribbean 3-2.  Caribbean swept singles easily but Southern won all three doubles lines in third set tie breakers.  After Caribbean beat Texas 3-2 and Southern beat Pacific NW 4-1 it set up a flight play rematch in the finals.  At this point I'd expect another Caribbean sweep of singles and Caribbean to find a way to edge one its doubles teams over the line.

Caribbean pulls their #2 singles guy and moves him to doubles while rolling out their #1 and #3 guys for singles.  It almost works as the #1 guy rolls but their #3 guy gets beat in three sets.  The #2 singles guy who moved to doubles gets his line into the win column and one of the other two existing doubles lines gets a favorable matchup in the reshuffle and Caribbean wins 3-2 for the title.  It's an interesting study in the moves you'd make the second time around.  We see this a lot in the city playoffs but the Caribbean captain found a way to make it work in the national finals.

Not to be forgotten, the High Point/Bender team did defeat Pacific NW for third place.

Congratulations guys.

Friday, October 16, 2015

3.0 over 40 Nationals

I didn’t realize this until just now, but Dallas has a team at Nationals this weekend at 3.0 over 40s.  Maybe not a high point of blog fodder but they are from Dallas so let’s give them a little coverage.

Texas is in flight 3 with Intermountain, Florida, Missouri Valley and Mid-Atlantic.  Shouldn’t Florida and Arizona be good at all the age level events, especially as the ages get higher?  Florida did got 12-3 on lines at sectionals so a pretty strong showing.  The Tulsa team (MoV) had fairly pedestrian results and only had to beat two teams all season to make Nationals.  Must be nice.  Intermountain had pretty fair results but if history means anything, this won’t be the team to beat.  Mid-Atlantic is also hard to call.  They beat four teams at cities but only one team at sectionals.  Not a lot of information to go by but I’d guess its Texas and Florida in this flight.

Flight 1 has Southwest, Northern California, Pacific NW, Middle States and Midwest making for a pretty tough flight.  Also tough is Flight 2 with Caribbean, Southern, Hawaii, Southern California and Eastern.  When you compress down to three flights it makes for some really tough flight play matchups.

With only three flights, as I understand it the winner of Texas’s flight will get the winner of flight 1 in the semis.  No scores are posted yet but they should start popping up soon.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

And for that one guy who keeps wanting a 5.0 update


At the mid-point of the 5.0 season, Flight A has more teams in the running than it does teams who are eliminated.  Fair Oaks/Perkison sits alone with one loss but three teams are tied with two losses: JCC/Rieman, Brookhaven/Harllee and Greenhill Green/Rossouw.  Only Fair Oaks has looked dominant with four sweeps but they did lose to Brookhaven and they do have a very large roster so anything could happen down the stretch.  Not that I’m an expert at 5.0 or could ever play it, but playing only three lines makes it much easier to ride one player a lot further. 

Flight B is a much different story.  For all of you who are a little OCD, SpringPark/Vahdat is 4-0, TBar/Bartzen is 3-1, Lakes/Jannasch is 2-2, Seay/Saqueton is 1-3 and Greenhill White/Rossouw is 0-4.  I think they should just stop now.  Having only lost one line thus far, SpringPark is looking pretty strong.  If they get past their rematch with T Bar they should be able to cost to the playoffs.  The first SpringPark v T Bar match was a 2-1 decided by a third set tie breaker so this flight isn’t done yet.


Monday, October 12, 2015

Fall MId-year Review

 Or, Wake Me For The Playoffs

4.5 Review

Flight A – it’s a three horse race with Fair Oaks/Valentin and Greenhill Blue/Rossouw sitting at 5-0 and LB Houston/Moore one back at 4-1.  Greenhill put the one loss on LB Houston but the others haven’t played each other yet so much to be determined.  With only four matches left, it’s crunch time.  This weekend Fair Oaks and Greenhill play each other so that will bring a lot of clarity to this flight.  I’d look for Greenhill and Fair Oaks to advance.

Flight B – The toughest flight and by season end it will show.  We already have three contenders with one loss.  JCC/Reiman sits alone at 4-0.  They haven’t reported scores from their match this weekend with Greenhill/Alzuro but I’m willing to pencil in a win for JCC.  At one loss each you still have three teams: Brookhaven/Harllee, TBar/McColpin and Lakes/Way.  None of them play each other next week so it looks like a frenetic finish.  I’d go with JCC and Brookhaven.

Flight C – there are four contenders left here as well: Gleneagles/Juhn and Greenhill Red/Rossouw are both undefeated and Oak Creek/Probadi and SpringPark/Sweeney each have one loss.  The big matchup is Gleneagles and Greenhill this weekend.  Oak Creek and SpringPark also play this weekend in an elimination match.  We’ll know a lot more about this flight on Monday.  Have to go with Greenhill and Gleneagles here.

 4.0 Review

Flight A – McKinney/Kanchi looks to be in the driver’s seat here at 4-0.  Eagles Landing/Berman and Oak Creek/Rich are both tied in the one loss column.  McKinney has already beaten Oak Creek and they play Eagles Landing this weekend so this flight could be wrapped up soon.  I’ll go with McKinney and Oak Creek.

Flight B – what to say, four teams are tied with one loss and none look very strong.  Hackberry/Myers, Lakes/Reifsnyder, Brookhaven/Bartlett and McKinney/Oh are all muddling their way through flight play.  A lack of roster depth makes this anyone’s race.  I think Brookhaven and Lakes in this flight.

Flight C – Garland1/Sisk and Las Colinas/Otey are tied atop this flight with one loss each.  Four more teams sit tied in the two loss column.  Garland should advance to the playoffs but you can flip a coin for the second spot.

Flight D – Greenhill/Eckenrode and Huffines/Robins are tied at one loss with three teams sitting in the two loss column.  Greenhill should advance and if Huffines gets past Oak Creek/Iyer this weekend they should head to the playoffs as well.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

And Nationals Continue - The Houston Version

The #1 singles guy for Caribbean warming up for his 3.5 match.

Well, it’s a Freeman weekend.  Having 3.5 and 4.5 at nationals the same weekend puts him in a quandary.  Not only does he captain both teams but he also plays on the 3.5 team.  Here’s betting he spends his weekend at Indian Wells with the 3.5 team but since Rancho Mirage is right next door, he may just be shuttling back and forth.
At the sectionals post I picked the 3.5 team to win it all and nothing about that has changed.  In flight 5 they will have to navigate through Northern, Caribbean and New England.  If years past is any indicator, the Texas/Caribbean flight play match will likely be for the national title.  The good news is if Texas wins its flight they draw probably the weakest flight for the semi-final match versus one of Intermountain, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Florida. 
The 4.5 team is playing right next door and drew the five team flight with Missouri Valley, Mid-Atlantic, Florida and Eastern.  It’s always a tough road to travel when you have to win that extra match and stretch your guys before the semis.  There just isn’t any down time.  If they can make it through they would see the winner of Flight 7 in the semis consisting of Midwest, Intermountain, Middle States and Northern California.
I called Freeman's office for a quote but evidently he left for the desert several weeks ago to start acclimating to the climate.  I wonder how far ahead he had to let USTA New York know that he was winning both 3.5 and 4.5 this year so he could get them scheduled for nationals at the same location?

Good luck to our friends from the swamp lands.

Monday, October 5, 2015

High Point's Plan to Dominate USTA Accompished... Dallas wins 4.0 Natonal Championship!

Since the beginning 0 A.T.L. (After Tennis Link), Dallas has not won a 4.0 National Championship.  We have been close but never closed the deal.  Bill Sanders from Waco is the only Texas captain to accomplish this feat.

Championship Picture of Tony and his Team


Here is a picture of his team.  It is an eclectic group.  I'm not sold on that team uniform but who can argue with that kind of success.  This group of masterminds surely has no equal after running roughshod over the country.

 Before we get to the story, here is a clip of Jorge Aguilar after dominating another match at nationals and Tony Le expressing his approval.

Picture of Tony Le as Captain
Then, a man named Tony Le from Planet X (pictured here), came to Dallas.  He previously put monsters together but they were no match for his arch-enemy from Houston... He devised a plan so diabolical that he had to get the monster that could take down one of Houston's 3 headed monster's heads.  He chose the 4.0 Monster over Houston's 3.5 and 4.5 Heads.  In the end, he only had to beat Fort Worth instead of Houston.

The Vanquished

Houston has usually been our nemesis.     No Godzilla enemy personifies Houston and Freeman better than King Ghidorah.  He has three heads and Freeman had three teams at sectionals.  He even advanced two to nationals.  Yet, in the usually coveted 4.0 slot, he was taken out by an imposter Godzilla controlled by Wayne Rigney from planet Wannabe also known as Fort Worth.

Here is a video of Tony Le's monster against Rigney.  I am a little surpised the fight lasted this long.  The real surprise that the monster mastermind took out King Ghidorah in the sectionals semi-finals.

After vanquishing the wannabe Godzilla from Planet Wannabe, Tony took his monster to the Desert.  They started with a Florida swamp creature.  In true Godzilla fashion, the monster showed strength but Godzilla prevails 3-2 over a tough monster.  Next, came up winless Midwest.  This is probably not a monster but just a light snack for the Monster from High Point.  I heard they didn't even have team uniforms.

In a battle of undefeated Flight Play Giants, Tony takes on this fellow.  He is sent from the Planet Middle States.

It is a tough fight but eventually Godzilla does what he has to do.  He vanquishes another Middle States monster.  While he looks scary and a tough monster, in the end he can only gets two good shots in against Godzilla.  Tony's monster from Planet High Point advances to what was his biggest challenge; he is facing the monster from Planet SoCal.

SoCal created an enemy to specifically rule over the monsters.  They bring MechaGodzilla... In the toughest test for Tony and his monster, they win 2 third set tiebreakers to advance.  My hat goes off to him to beat the monster designed to beat him.

In the finals he had to beat King Caesar from Planet Southwest.

This must be the post pathetic monster.  They beat them 5-0 and no match was very tight.  This was the easiest match he had since city payoffs.

In the end, congratulations at bringing a title to Texas!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Busy Weekend

Mixed 18s sectionals were this weekend and it was a bit of a rough showing for Dallas.

The 10.0 Dallas team did win sectionals.  Congratulations to Oak Creek/Pearson on a job well done.  A very solid roster and a very impressive showing beating each of Houston and Austin twice at sectionals.  Well done and good luck at nationals.

The Dallas 9.0 squad went a respectable 2-1 as did the Dallas 7.0 team but neither advanced out of their flight.

The Dallas 8.0 and 6.0 squads went a combined 0-8 for the weekend.

At 3.0 18s Nationals the Dallas team went 2-1, losing only to eventual champion Caribbean.  Also a very respectable showing.

4.0 18s were also this weekend but there will be more coming on those results soon.

And for those two people who have asked about the fall, we are at the half way mark so I'll get an early fall playoff preview out soon as well.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Let The Games Begin! Nationals Season Start This Weekend!

Tennis in the desert.  Not a bad place to win or lose.

Dallas has two representatives at Nationals this weekend.  The High Point/Le team at 4.0 will be at Rancho Mirage and the High Point/Bender team at 3.0 will be at Tucson.   The 5.0 men are also playing this weekend at Indian Wells with San Antonio/Godwin representing Texas.
In the 4.0 draw, Texas is in Flight 5 with Florida, Middle States and Midwest.  This could be a tough flight.  They will do well to just make it to Sunday.   If they make it to the semis, they will play the winner of Flight 7 consisting of Southern California, Missouri Valley, Eastern and Intermountain.  It’s going to be tough sledding all around for these guys.  Texas plays Florida in its first match bright and early on Friday morning.  That should tell us a lot about how the weekend will go.
In the 3.0 draw, Texas is in Flight 7 with Caribbean, Southern and Florida.  Wow, that has to be the flight of death.  All four of those teams are likely in the top six and I wouldn’t be surprised if Texas, Southern and Caribbean were in the top four.  That is just brutal.   Looks to me like the USTA gave Northern California (flight 5) a free pass to the semis.  Even more interesting, New England, Middle States, Southwest and Northern are all in one flight together.  What a gift.  Of course I know nothing about 3.0 so that could all be dead wrong.
At 5.0, there are only three flights with Texas playing Southern California, Missouri Valley, Southwest and Florida.  That’s going to be rough. 

Good luck to everyone but especially our Dallas representatives.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Mixed Doubles again, always courteous, ever polite

I have that jacket and white pants combo but no one ever wants me to wear it to a match.

Ok, you want more posts?  That only seems to happen when the topics are mixed or He Who Can't Be Named, so you asked for it, you got it.

Over 18 mixed sectionals is coming up.  Here's a look at what's in store and my picks.

Mixed 10.0 has Oak Creek/Pearson as it representative with only Austin and Houston in one flight.  This is way too rich for my blood but I’ll take Austin if Dekruyff plays.

SpringPark/Abbruzzese represents Dallas at 9.0 and is in a flight with Austin, San Antonio and Lubbock.  Flight 2 features Fort Worth, NETX, Houston and SETX.   Don’t laugh but I’m going to take SETX to win it all with Vernon, Duplechin and Cobb leading the way.

The largest field is 8.0 with three flights and Greenhill/Carlson leading the way for Dallas.  Flight 1 sports Fort Worth, NETX, Corpus Christi and Valley.  Flight 2 has Austin, Dallas, SETX and Waco.  Flight 3 is Houston, San Antonio, Lubbock and Amarillo.  Many questions in Flight 1, notably will Voldemort be playing for Fort Worth.  I think FW advances with or without him but no further if he is absent.  Dallas has the team to go all the way if the captain gets the right lines out. 

In 7.0, Dallas is represented by SpringPark/Abbruzzese which finds itself in a flight with San Antonio, Austin, Wild Austin and Waco.   Both Austin teams should be pretty good with all three lines going to third setters in their cities match.  Flight 2 has Houston, Fort Worth, NETX, Valley and San Angelo.  Houston has several guys off of their 3.5 sectionals championship team.  I’ll give Houston the edge with 3.5 girls.

And in the did you know this was actually a thing category, we have Greenhill/Alzuro representing Dallas at 6.0.  It’s one flight with Austin, NETX, San Angelo, Amarillo and SETX joining Dallas.  Flipping the ever popular six headed coin, I’ll take Austin. 

Remember, these picks are for recreational purposes only are not made against the spread.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Even Older Tennis

Over 55 sectionals start tomorrow.  Here's a quick look at the draws.  Dallas had more teams in its 4.5 over 55 league (4) than the sectionals event has teams (3).  Should that alone qualify Dallas for a wild card?  It will be Wagon Wheel/Rubel representing Dallas.  The only other teams there are San Antonio and Houston.  Since I don’t see Freeman’s name at the top of this roster, I’m not as worried.  San Antonio has a big roster but it’s just three lines of doubles so that could end up hurting them.  I like Dallas.

Dallas sends two teams to 55 and over sectionals at 8.0 this weekend, the Greenhill/Kaiser team as the Dallas champion and the Brookhaven/Bartlett team as the wildcard.  Both teams are stock full of recognizable names.  The Dallas champion is in flight 1 with San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Fort Worth and Valley.  Dallas Wild is in flight 2 with Austin, NOHO, Houston and SETX. 

In flight 1, San Antonio looks to field two solid lines in this three lines of doubles format.  Corpus has been pretty weak in sectionals so far this year and Valley is always a mystery since they only had to beat one team to advance.  I like Dallas and Fort Worth in this flight. 
The NOHO team in flight 2 has several players from their team that made the finals of 40s last weekend so they should be tuned up and ready to go.  Austin had the most impressive city record in this flight, going 21-3, while SETX advanced with a modest 7-8 line record.  I like NOHO and Austin in this flight.  And I’ll say Fort Worth and NOHO in the final.
While there were only three Dallas teams at 7.0 (we are represented by the High Point/Bender team), there are actually three flights of 7.0 at sectionals.  Fight 1 has Dallas, NOHO, San Antonio and SETX.  San Antonio has done extremely well at 3.5 sectionals this year with a semi (18s), a finalist and a winner (40s).  Normally that would be hard to pick against but I’ll go with Dallas.

Flight 2 has Waco, NETX, Houston and Wild Fort Worth.  Every team but Waco has a player DQ’d so this one is a mystery.  Flight 3 has Austin, Corpus Christi, Fort Worth and Lubbock.  Who am I kidding?  I don’t know any of these players at 7.0.  I’ll take Bob Somabut and Steve Kemp to lead the Dallas team to victory since they are the only people I actually know. 


Monday, September 21, 2015

40s Sectional Wrap Up

OAP, 95, is world’s oldest ranked professional tennis player

I don’t know many people who were at over 40 sectionals so I don’t have a lot of inside information on this one.  It sounds like there were multiple good teams at most levels.  The winners were Austin at 4.5+, Dallas at 4.0, San Antonio at 3.5 and Dallas at 3.0.

The 4.5+ level was the most interesting to me.  At first glance seeing Austin, San Antonio and Houston all in the same flight I really liked Dallas’ chances.  Dallas had San Angelo, Valley, NOHO and Fort Worth.  Dallas did well, going 3-1 (13-7) on the weekend but were taken out by San Angelo in a tough 3-2 match.  As expected Bruno rolled with a 6-0, 6-1 win (that guy is unbelievable).  Looks like it came down to two third set tie breakers and Dallas lost both.   In the final San Angelo kept their magic touch in three setters, winning both of them, but that was it.  Austin took the other three lines in straight sets and Dekruyff did not disappoint.  That guy is now 29-1 for the year, losing one three setter at 9.0 mixed (18s).   I’d have paid to see he and Bruno square off but that didn’t happen.  Everyone likes to complain about ringers at the lower levels but you've never run into anything like these two guys.

For the 4.0s it was a traditional Dallas versus Houston final, although the better Houston guys had snuck over to NOHO to play.  NOHO squeezed by a tough FW team in their flight but otherwise sailed.  Dallas went undefeated in flight play in a lighter flight.  The finals were 3-2 Dallas.  

Did San Antonio have something going on at 3.5 this year?  SA and SA Wild played each other in the final and SA Wild won 3-2.  That’s some pretty solid depth at one event for one town.  The Dallas team went 1-2 but lost to SA and Austin who were both strong.  

Who is surprised that Bender won 3.0?  I don’t know much about him but he just seems to win a lot. 
There were only three teams in the whole event but this team did go 19-1.  That’s pretty good at any event.

I believe 55 and over is this weekend in Beaumont.  Dallas is sending two teams so good luck to all.