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.