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.