Monday, December 12, 2016

Odds and Ends Grab Bag


Not  a whole lot going on at the moment but we can take a look in the grab bag and see what’s of interest. 

Fort Worth tri-level ended yesterday.  Normally not a big deal, although the national championship Sisk team did play out of FW last year.  Not the case this year, Sisk decided to stay in Dallas, but a couple of Dallas teams did decide to crash the party: Team Arcaria and Team Kanchi.  As some of you might remember, Arcaria took a team to tri-level nationals a few years ago and I believe finished third in an odd format they had that year.  So while his 2017 team is no killer, he does know something about how to win at tri-level. 

Not surprisingly, the two Dallas teams finished 1-2.  What was a surprise to some was that Team Arcaria beat Team Kanchi 2-1.  It couldn’t have been much closer with Team Arcaria having to win a third set tie breaker on the 4.0 line as well as a second set AND a third set tie breaker on the 3.5 line.  Clutch play by his guys and good competition all around.  Good luck at sectionals.  Hope you don’t get tired with only two 4.5s on the roster. 

The senior season is rapidly approaching.  Today is the last day to have your minimum roster filled out to reserve your slot for flight play.  4.5 currently has 12 teams and it looks like all may make.  4.0 currently has 17 teams but one has no one on it yet.  Shaping up to be a good over 40s season. 

The 55s crew has six teams at 9.0 and nine teams at 8.0 but one is currently unpopulated. 

Finally, 40s mixed has had a rumor circulating around it for a while now that the DTA may make it a one weekend tournament instead of a flight play format as in years past.  Anyone have any concrete information on this?  I don’t play mixed so I don’t care enough to ask them but it seems some inquiring minds want to know.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Presentation ceremony for the fall trophy winners.

In the Red Flight of 4.5, Greenhill/Rossouw was the only undefeated team taking out Canyon Creek/McHugh and TBar/ McColpin.  In the Blue Flight, Brookhaven/ Harllee also went undefeated taking out SamGrand/Hanna and Lakes/Way.  The final was a pretty tight affair with Brookhaven taking home a 3-2 win.  Two of the lines went 9-7, which is about as close as it’s going to get playing pro sets.  I was a little curious how the Greenhill team (with 25 guys on the roster) ended up playing a 4.0 in the final though.

In the Red Flight of 4.0, McKinney/Kanchi went through the field with a 13-2 record, defeating Huffhines/Jayaram, Garland/Sisk and McKinney/Jacobson.  In the Blue Flight, there was a tie at 2-1 but Canyon Creek/Nolan edged out Brookhaven/Bartlett by one line, with Greenhill/Davalos and Oak Creek/Iyer close behind.  Every team in the Red Flight finished 8-7, 7-8 which should have given some indication that McKinney/Kanchi would take home the title, which it did with a relatively close 3-2 victory. 

The start of the old guy leagues is right around the corner.  Until then, the only thing that looks a little like Dallas tennis is the FW tri-level cities this weekend where several Dallas guys are playing.  Good luck beating up on our brothers to the west.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ratings, ratings go away, come again another day

If you play on television, you're a 7.0.  Past that you're just gonna have to wait.

As many of you are aware, the Monday after Thanksgiving is a very popular day for USTA year end ratings to come out.  While it isn’t always the case, it did seem that the USTA had initially targeted Monday (yesterday) as the target date.  I am know hearing and reading that the new target release date is this Thursday, although next week is a possibility.  Personally, I don’t care, but it does remind me of several years ago (2009?) when the USTA did its last massive reorganization bump.  For those of you who weren’t around or didn’t notice, in the 3.5/4.0/4.5 categories the bump up percentages ranged from about 38% to about 25% that year compared with a more normal range of high single digits to low double digits.   I neither seen nor heard any speculation at this point that another mass bump is coming but it does seem curious. 

As for the fall playoff predictions, ehh.

Since there was approximately zero interest in the last fall post about flight play finish and who would make the playoffs, I decided to save my energy and pass on predictions.  I’ll dutifully report the final results but past that no one seems to care.

Good luck to all the combatants this weekend.

And congrats to Murray on his world #1 ranking.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Fall Flight Play Wrap Up


5.0 only had one flight but it finished up with a clear winner in Lakes/Jannasch at 9-0 and two teams coming in at 7-2, Prestonwood/Perkison then JCC/Reiman.

4.5 Flight A was the tightest race I've seen in a long time.  With the final match now posted, Greenhill/Rossouw and Lakes/Way finished at an identical 9-1, 36-14.  For the curious, Greenhill lost two less sets but as you will recall the USTA changed the tie breakers a couple of years ago and now head to head comes after lines.  So its Greenhill as the flight play champion on HTH.  That was a 3-2 win the first match of the season.  Kudos to Canyon Creek for what I thought was a somewhat surprising third place finish. 

4.5 Flight B also shows two 9-1 teams but Samuell Grand/Hanna squeezed into first place on a two line lead over TBar/McColpin.  Third place was also a nail biter with Brookhaven/Harllee and JCC/Reiman both coming in at 9-3 but Brookhaven ahead on a commanding line lead.

4.0 flight A has Garland/Sisk as the only undefeated team, Brookhaven/Bartlett in second and Canyon Creek/Nolan just getting nudged to third by three lines.

4.0 flight B has Greenhill/Davalos the only undefeated team followed by McKinney/Kanchi in second and a distant McKinney/Jacobsen in third.

4.0 flight C has Oak Creek/Iyer as the only undefeated (I’m sensing a pattern here) followed by two loss Huffhines/Jayaram then third place Tbar/Snow.
I'll have my playoff predictions out after the holiday.

Also, congratulations to Team Sisk/Kanchi on winning tri-level this weekend.  They went an impressive 4-0, 12-0 for the event.  Can't say who finished second because one match isn't posted yet but I hear Team Kingsley edged out Team Myers.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Tri-level Preview - Mission Impossible 3 - And Then There Was One

Well, not just one.  I have to find something to do with my weekend.

 Lineups, let’s talk lineups.  It’s always the easiest thing for us Monday morning captains to criticize.  Why didn’t that guy play?  He was out of town; he was injured; he was cramping; he throws up on himself in matches that matter.  Even easier, why DID that guy play?  He is the captain’s buddy; he pays for the team parties; I promised him he’d play when I didn’t realize I’d find better players. 

I don’t see Team Mayer or Team Myers having trouble deciding on a lineup.  Hell, they may have trouble fielding a full lineup for all four matches.  I also don’t see Team Jeung having trouble deciding on a lineup.  They’ll have a lot more guys offering to sit than they will guys bucking for more match time. 

So let’s start with Team Kingsley.  I’m afraid if I start with Team Sisk/Kanchi I may run out of gas.  Personally I’d like to see Foster/Foster on the 4.5 line.  Since one of them is a self rate, let’s rule that out.  Well then, let's go with Foster/Hill.  Oops, Hill is also a self rate.  This is getting awkward.  Faris and Shreiner will want to play together but Foster is the cream of the crop here.  Another opportunity for a goofy lineup decision, great. 

As for the 4.0s, I’m envious of this Waters guy.  The last two years he’s only played tri-level and I can’t even get on a team.  Sawires only went 1-3 in 4.0.  That’s not the kind of record I’d look for if I was importing someone from Austin.  But he has accounted himself well against 4.5s.  I’d guess big, inconsistent hitter.  Vince loves those.  Another Kingsley on the team.  He held up pretty well at 8.5 combo so that will be interesting.   I don’t know exactly what to make of these guys.  They are all over map and none of them seem to have ever played together before.  They clearly have some talent here so it will be interesting to see what they come up with.

Team Sisk/Kanchi, I’m tired already.  I’m not the expert here, and these guys are better than me, but on the 4.5 line I’d start with Davidson, Kelly and Davis.  Do I need to go any further?  Yes, yes, the other six 4.5s would be line one on several teams but that’s other teams.  The only real question here is who doesn’t play.  I’m sure someone will be injured when the time comes.

As for the 4.0s, I’d start with Kommineni (a 3.5C).  Did you see this guy and Jay Benjamin go three sets against Davidson and Abbruzzese?  He had the biggest serve on the court and played fantastic.  As we saw at 4.0 sectionals, he needs a partner, but they have several to choose from.  If Abbruzzese can replicate his play from that same 8.5 combo match I’d start with him.  They look like they’d be a natural fit on a doubles court.  They also have Josh Rivera who was a terror in 4.0 singles this year (12-0 in the playoffs).  While he only played singles in the playoffs his game did look like it would translate to doubles more than most singles guys.  Again, I would start with those three.  Of course Kanchi is a 4.0 so I’d expect his to push for playing time in the big match with Kommineni.  Let’s see who really has the pencil in this captaining duad. 

As I’ve often said, I don’t know the 3.5s so I pass on them but this time I’ve done the research and made some inquiries.  Here’s what I found.  For Team Sisk/Kanchi we can easily see that Hans Valaparla was Kanchi’s #2 singles guys on his spring 4.0 team and he plays nothing but Open level tournaments.  Let’s start there.  Sean Luh went 3-1 at 4.0 and I have it on good authority that he was working out regularly this year with a certain SpringPark 4.5 team.   Good enough for me.

As for Team Kingsley, good but not great.  All seem to be known commodities though.  Plenty of USTA results to look at.  Based on what I saw, think we’ll go with Hutchison and Chhajed. 

So, if I had the pencil it would be:

Davidson/Kelly versus Foster/Faris
Kommineni/Abbruzzese versus Hanna/Kingsley
Valaparla/Luh versus Hutchison/Chhajed

I see that as a win for Sisk/Kanchi with the results getting progressively more lopsided as you go down the ladder.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Tri-level Preview - Mission Impossible 2 - Man Down

All dressed up and no team to play on.

Getting me on a tri-level team.  Seems to be impossible.  I know it’s too late this year but what would I have done anyway? 
I could have tried to join Sisk/Kanchi but what would they do with ten 4.5s.  And I’d imagine I wouldn’t even get a T-shirt if I didn’t play at cities anyway.  Clearly I’m not saying I’m better than the guys they have, although I’ve heard that Davidson guy is pretty rusty.  Where’s the love for blog guy?  I did pick you to win after all. 
Team Vince, what to say.  These guys are pretty likeable and I don’t think I’d embarrass myself.  I mean I wouldn’t be the worst 4.5 on this lineup.  But man, I really don’t think I could take the team practices.  I’ve heard it’s boot camp with a bunch of crazy-ass drills and games that make very little sense.  Maybe you should practice by just playing tennis.  I’m pretty sure that’s still how the event is played. 
Team Jeung is more my speed.  I said in the last post that this is the team I’d join and I stand by that.  Traylor, Robinson, Carlquist, Bearden, Somabut and Williams; those are some guys I could hang out with.  And you’d certainly be able to maintain your proper hydration levels.
Team Mayer and Myers, I’m sure you’re good guys but you fall into a void.  If I wanted a T-shirt I’d join Team Sisk/Kanchi.  If I wanted to drink I’d join Team Jeung.  If I wanted to spend all year explaining my team’s lineups I’d join Team Kingsley.  I just don’t know where you guys fit into the mix for me. 
So there you have it.  Maybe next year.  If you have a spot for 2018 let me know.  I’ll even bring the beer.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Tri-level Preview - Mission Impossible 1 - Not Everyone Get's Out Alive

I'm still trying to figure out Sisk's lineups.

Evidently someone told Sisk/Kanchi that all tri-level matches for the weekend would be played simultaneously because they have signed up 500 guys on the roster.  Don’t know if it’s good news or bad news guys, but they actually play the matches one at a time.  With only five teams total I’d expect they will play a round robin format, so each team will get four matches.  And wouldn’t you know it, that still isn’t enough matches to get the NINE 4.5s all qualified for any post-Dallas play.  Mission Impossible indeed.

Not sure about you, but I noticed someone posted that Red Benzon moved to San Antonio last weekend.  At least he moved on tennislink.  He’s also playing on a Dallas team and a San Antonio team for tri-level.  Since I don’t captain I’m not as up on all the rules as some of you but help me out.  Does Dallas still have a rule where you can’t play tri-level in Dallas and another city?  Because Kanchi is playing in Dallas and San Antonio too.  Inquiring minds want to know.  But let’s move on.

20) Team Sisk/Kanchi wins this on sheer bulk.  I’m like the college professor who takes all the papers to the top of the stair well and tosses them.  The heaviest papers hit the bottom first and get the A.   This team is definitely the heaviest.  Twenty guys, wow, I still can’t wrap my head around that.   The ultimate in participation awards.  Let’s at least hope the tri-level T-shirts are nice this year because that’s about all some of these guys are going to take away from this.  That being said, I still think they win.  And hey, maybe they know something the rest of us don’t.  As you can see below, picking the order of finish by the size of the team isn’t the worst way to go this year. 

(15) Team Kingsley is always a contender and accounted itself pretty well last year.  Let’s not get into the whole lineup snafu again.  Too painful.  More interesting this year is how a guy who has done this several years seems to have forgotten that high tri doesn’t allow self rates.  Again, maybe I’m not up on the rules but its looks to me like both Hunter Foster and Chris Hill are self rates.  That still leaves him with four other 4.5s but I don’t follow what’s going on here.  This team has all it needs to finish second and watch for the wildcard again. 

(12) Next is Team Jeung with a very sensible twelve guys.  Everyone can play twice if they want.  Somabut can sign up and not play if he wants.  It’s not so many people that Bearden can’t handle the team beer needs.  And to keep it interesting they brought a 3.0 along.  They seem to have all their bases covered.  This team wins the boy scout award for preparedness.  If I was going to join a tri-level team (yeah, yeah, I have to be asked first) I’d join this one.  It looks like the most fun.

(10) Team Mayer rolls in with ten guys.  Again, fairly sensible but they don’t come close to the strategic preparedness of Team Jeung.  More importantly, this is a Fort Worth captain with several FW guys.  Evidently they decided FW was too difficult this year and came to Dallas to steal one of our sectionals invites.  That’s horrible; who would ever do that?  Oh wait, this just in.  Evidently Mayer and Shawn Arcaria got their RSVPs switched and Mayer went to the Dallas party while Arcaria RSVP’d for the FW party.  So confusing, happens all the time.

(8) Coming in lean and mean is Team Myers with eight total guys.  Won’t they be intimidated when the team busses pull up and Sisk/Kanchi unload an army.  At least you won’t have to wonder a lot about what their lineup is going to look like.  I’d guess Dendy and LaMoy play a lot.

So, your mission, should you choose to accept it: 1) Can self rates play in high tri-level now, 2) can you play in Dallas tri-level and still play in another city’s tri-level event, and 3) where does Red Benzon live?

And, as always, this message will self destruct in five seconds.  Well, at least the Sisk/Kanchi team may self destruct at sectionals when people start getting really pissed about playing time.  From some of the stories I heard from last year’s sectionals win you’d have thought Team Sisk lost.  Those guys won the national title, only had twelve players on the team, and there were still at least four guys not named Rigney that were pissed they didn’t play more.  You won nationals.  Don’t you think the captain might have played the right people?

With any luck they will make nationals again and have to cut this team in half.  With some of the egos on that team it would be fun to watch.  As always, good luck to all. 

Final thought: I really miss there not being an Alzuro team this year.  It’s a shameless plug, but I thought the tri-level blog post that featured his team prominently was one of my highlights.  Every great artist needs an inspiration.


Monday, October 31, 2016

And Finally, Mixed Nationals

I’ve mentioned this before but I really don’t like mixed.  Most of the drama and complaining begins in mixed in one way or another.  Unless you up in the 9.0/10.0 range its bad tennis.  And the men and the women have to really change their doubles games to have success.  Tried it, don’t like it.

That being said, all we have left at this point in the 2016 season is mixed nationals.  This weekend has two sites in action: Tucson has the 18 and over 7.0 and 9.0 while Surprise has 40 and over 6.0 and 8.0.

The 18/7.0 team is out of Dallas.  A quick check of their results were interesting.  Didn’t drop a line in during the season and then lost to the second place team at cities.  Got to sectionals as a wild card and won it with a very short bench.  Don’t see them winning it all but with a favorable flight they might make Sunday.  The 18/9.0 team is out of Fort Worth.  A couple of Dallas regulars on this squad but not one of those Dallas West teams.

The 40/6.0 team is also out of Dallas.  I hate to even speculate what 6.0 mixed tennis looks like but they have what looks to be a rough flight so enjoy the scenery in the Phoenix suburbs.  The 40/8.0 team is out of Fort Worth but has a distinctly Dallas look to it.  Not sure how this team does.  They have Kelly so they likely start up 1-0 in a 40s division but they look thin after that.  I don’t see any high end talent at any level.   Someone’s gonna have to really show up for this team to go far.

Good luck to the DFW mixed participants this weekend.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

More Fall, Try Not To Fall Asleep

What kind of progress have we made?

In 4.5 Flight A we have an interesting three way tie in the one loss column between Lakes/Way, Canyon Creek/McHugh and Greenhill/Rossouw.  Only one line loss separates these teams.  Everyone else is long gone.  Way and McHugh still play each other so one of them will be on the outside looking in.  Rossouw has the easiest remaining schedule of the three.

Flight B has TBar/McColpin as the only undefeated team.  Samuell Grand/Hanna and JCC/Reiman are alone at one loss and Brookhaven/Harllee now sits at two losses.  Much to still be decided here as McColpin still has Reiman and Harllee left; Hanna has the easiest ride to the house; Reiman still has McColpin; and Harllee still has McColpin.  At this point SamGrand/Hanna has the best odds to advance even though TBar/McColpin is undefeated.

In 4.0 Flight A we have Garland/Sisk as the sole remaining undefeated team with three teams tied at one loss.  Looks like second place will come down to the Nov 11 match between Brookhaven/Bartlett and Greenhill/Ohl.

Flight B has Greenhill/Davalos and McKinney/Kanchi both undefeated and only McKinney/Jacobson in the one loss column.  Jacobsen still has to play Kanchi so it looks like Kanchi and Davalos go one – two here.

Flight C has Oak Creek/Iyer undefeated and only Hackberry Creek/Myers in the one loss column.  They still play each other so Hackberry could drop into a massive 2 loss tie in this flight.  Huffhines/Jayaram still has a shot of finishing second here.

Congrats to Team Sisk and Team Vince for finishing 1-2 respectively at 8.5 combo sectionals.

Monday, October 10, 2016

And a quick check on the fall

Image result for fall tennis

If only it were so.

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

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

18s Mixed Sectionals Hits Tyler this Weekend

Image result for mixed tennis

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

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

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

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


This is the kind of commitment I like to see.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, September 22, 2016

And Now For the Even Older Guys


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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

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

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

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

Now my finger wagging begins...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 12, 2016

Nobody beats Dallas 4.5s seventeen times in a row!

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

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

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

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

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


Monday, August 29, 2016

The Way Too Early Fall Playoff Predictions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Combo Wrap Up - Mixed Preview


Cancelled?  Postponed?  Lots of complaining? Then, yes, postponed.
I played today and plan to play tomorrow.  Sorry you combo folks didn't.

8.0 18 MIXED

I hear there is a city playoff in six days but no one seems to have a schedule yet.  At least I haven't found one.  Can anyone else provide some insight?

Friday, August 12, 2016

Combo Preview

Image result for combo
So, the next big event is 8.5 combo.  Impressively, this has 10 teams for 2016 so I’m assuming they will have two flights of five each.  That’s a minimum of four matches each, which makes playing worthwhile whether you win or lose.  Since we know the DTA professes not to read this blog, I hope they won’t mind if I take a shot at seeding the flights.  My flighting assumes all captain were playing their six best players (and the captains know who those six are).  And now, the players:
Flight One
Team Sisk: on the 4.5 line he has Kelly, Vassberg, Le, Pollard and Davidson; with the 4.0 line being manned by Blumberg, Abbruzzese, Luh, Pearson, Nguyen and Russell.  That’s a wide range of talent at each level but I see three potential lines that have the ability to beat anyone else playing.  Not a given, but I’d make this team the favorite.
Team Bearden: on the 4.5s he has Baishya, Traylor, Bearden, Robinson and Todd; with Covell, Zambrana, Sweeney, Barr and Kemp as 4.0s.   
Team McHugh: Kirkpatrick, Soda, Wildeberger and Powell at 4.5; with Ragle, Patterson, Rainwater, Sampson and Dawson at 4.0.  
Team Arcaria: Arcaria, Glasgow, Mudsam and Gerber at 4.5; with Shahab, Teterud, Bennett and Smith at 4.0.
Team Mills/Kanchi: the 4.5s are Fess, Coffman and Thrailkill; with Salinas, Fenter, Mills and Thakkar at 4.0.  It takes two captains to manage seven players in a six person event?
Flight Two
Team Kingsley: the 4.5s will be Kingsley, Hill, Lafavre, Shreiner and Foster; with Kingsley (son) Rodriguez, Kingery and Hanna at 4.0.  Some good players here.   This team should challenge.
Team Kanchi: the 4.5 line has Vatum (that name sounds familiar), Benjamin, Foster and Bage; with Kanchi, Rivera, Valaparta, Kommineni, Agarwal and Mickey at 4.0.   
Team Myers: Bhate, Barta, Bomar and Rossouw as 4.5s; with Andrulis, Offenberger, Dendy and LaMoy as 4.0s.
Team Entrekin: on the 4.5 line he has Herndon, Agan, Holcomb, Spellman, Alexander and Theimer; with the 4.0 line Hendrick, Entrekin, Scott, Browning, Graham and Jeffcoat.
Team Iyer: the 4.5s are Iyer, Jett, Rodriguez and Neff; with 4.0s consisting of Rajani, Ramasami, Dewan and Delgadillo.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

It is a Wrap for 4.0+

The Big Boy Sectionals is in the books.  While most of Dallas is disappointed with greater aspirations than a sectionals weekend away in... Dallas, we actually had a team advance to Nationals.  T-Bar Bartzen advanced to the big dance with the big boys.  Since they are the only team to live up to the lofty Dallas expectations, I will start with them.

5.0+ T-Bar-Bartzen defeated Dallas-West (aka Fort Worth) 2-1.  They won two third set tiebreaks at line 1S and 1D with line 2D about to head into a Tiebreak.  It doesn't get much tighter.  Both lines dropped their first set but rallied to win.  Bartzen has been a force at 5.0 for a long time and it is good to see him advance.  This team has several players that were national runner-ups a few years ago.  They even have a 6.0 on the roster.

4.5 This level turned out unexpected.  The presumptive heavy favorite, SETX, defeated Rossouw and troops 3-2.  SETX won a tight 3rd set breaker at 3 Doubles.  I know Marc felt pretty good when he swept singles as everything was close.  Greenhill gave all they had but ran into a 4.5 team with a strong flavor of Division 1.  SETX went ahead to advance to the Semis.

Reiman's JCC Wild Dallas team did advance to the final.  In the semis, they defeated usually mighty Houston to face Austin who just took down the mighty SETX/Lamar U team.  While they had a good run, it was not meant to be and the Austin team that defeated Lamar U was a little too much.  Austin's Line 1&2 Dubs dominated some very good Dallas players.  Reiman's 1 singles lost a third set breaker and Austin wins with a 3-2.

I am definitely pulling for Texas to win but I will not wear a Keep Austin Weird shirt in support.

4.0 This was suppose to belong to our city.  After hearing about how great we were, I was sure Dallas would represent here.  First, Wild Dallas rolled through their flight dropping only 110 games when the second closest team at sectionals dropped 143 games in flight.  Wild Dallas draws usually good but not great Austin.  Things looked good when Line 1 Singles and 3 Doubles won easily.  Up 2-0, things looked like the finals were an inevitability.  Unfortunately, we need 3 lines to win.  Austin flipped their singles line to avoid Rivera and he pulled off an upset over the Futures Playing 4.0 and self professed former Indian top 45 player, Valaparia.  Still, Wild Dallas had their 3.5 ringer who had been laying waste to the field.  He made a lineup change and they lost in 3 sets.  His other players that had been dominating got upset also.  I sincerely believe they were 1 tiebreak away from nationals.

Sisk's Dallas team started with the usual pushover from Houston (aka NOHO).  Yet, NOHO surprised them with a 4-1 upset.  This was an ominous warning as NOHO went on to win this flight.  In hindsight, this should have served notice that this perennial sectionals participants but usual non-factors were there to play.  This was the toughest flight by far!  There was Dallas and Wild Houston and NOHO wins this flight while dropping the second fewest games in flight.  In the semis, the after-thought NOHO defeats Wild Austin needing a third set breaker at line three to emerge.  NOHO then defeats Austin 3-2 with another third set breaker at 3 doubles.

Congratulations to NOHO.  Represent at Nationals!

Good Luck to all Texas Teams.  As we all know, Texas typically fares well at Nationals and I don't expect any less this year.  I think Austin 4.5 has the best chance to bring home a title but I will be pulling for them all across the board.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Sectionals Preview - 4.0 & 4.5

 I’ve been on the road traveling this week and really pressed for time.  Not an excuse, just a fact.  As such, this is going to be a little on the short but sweet side.  Let’s start with 4.0 for a change.  This could be the most interesting (or least interesting) year in 4.0 in years because anyone who’s anyone knew going in that Freeman was taking the year off.  Listen up to the rest, this was your shot to make Nationals in a watered down year.

In Flight 1 we have Wild Houston, Valley, Dallas, Amarillo and NOHO.  This is an interesting flight, with the possibility of a one loss team advancing.  I don’t have the skinny on Valley or Amarillo.  Both could be cream puffs but Valley usually represents pretty well.  Although Sisk did a nice job with a team short on top end talent this year, I think his season ends on Saturday.  Spearman knows what he’s doing in NOHO but he seems to do better with players of an older vintage.   I’m going with Wild Houston to advance in this flight.

In Flight 2 we have Wild Austin, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Waco and SETX.  We could do a lot of analysis, rant about SETX, but this is Waco’s to lose.  Sanders knew Freeman was out and decided to make another move.  Until last year, Sanders was the last guy to captain Texas to a 4.0 national title so he knows something about how this is done.

In Flight 3 we have Houston (lite), Wild San Antonio, Wild Dallas, Lubbock and Corpus Christi.  Am I the only person who remembers a few years ago when Lubbock rolled in for 4.0 sectionals and crushed people?  They went 8-0-2 (retires) on Sunday.  OK, fine, not the same guys, but it can happen.  Anyway, I’ll take Kanchi & Co out of this flight.

In Flight 4 we have Austin, Wild Fort Worth, NETX, San Angelo and Wichita Falls.  I’ll confess, I’ve done no research on these guys.  Other than WFW it’s too hard to find good comparisons.  Wichita Falls did jump up and take 8.5 combo sectionals recently but it only take two good 4.0s to do that, not six or eight.  I’ll take Austin by default.

Let’s cut to the chase.  It’s a matchup of Wild Dallas and Waco, with Wild Houston as the dark horse.  After everything that's happened this season, I'll take Kanchi (led by Rivera and his 3.5s) to win 4.0.

I know this will irritate a lot of people but if they all show up I'll take SETX in 4.5...period.  I do think there is chance that JCC could make Sunday but that's no lock either.  After looking closer at JCC's lineup against Greenhill at cities I have to think that Reiman could have taken a doubles line if he had wanted it.