Monday, February 29, 2016

Old Guy Season Starts to Wind Down

40s Results

4.5 Flight A – SpringPark/Sweeney continues to run the difficult gauntlet that is Flight A.  They have a tough match left against Lifetime/Arcaria.  They should do no worse than a 7-1 finish and make the playoffs.  While Lifetime is in second, they have the match against SpringPark and another tough finish against TBar.   They can only lose one of those if they’re going to stay in the hunt.  Greenhill/Rossouw has a layup against LB Houston but a tough match left against Brookhaven/Harllee.  Brookhaven is the wild card.  If they pull off a win against Greenhill and Lifetime loses down the stretch, Brookhaven should pass both of them for second.  Much to still be decided in this tough flight.

4.5 Flight B – In what has become an old tune at this point, JCC/Reiman has just about wrapped up this flight.  They still have a match left against Gleneagles but with a one match lead in the loss column and a six line lead to date, they should be able to close this flight out.  More interesting was Greenhill/Rossouw’s loss to Gleneagles yesterday.  The disconcerting news is Gleneagles won all three of their lines pretty easily.  The good news is Joe Vu dropped a 6-1, 6-0 beat down on Chris Cully so you’ve got something to work with there.

4.0 Flight A – McKinney/Peterson-Frick have punched their ticket to the playoffs.  Greenhill/Kayser has likely punched theirs as well and should even finish as the flight leader.  They have one makeup match not yet posted against last place Brookhaven/Taragioll.  If Greenhill wins at least 4 lines they end up as the flight leader.  Nice third place finish by Lakes/Reifsnyder.

4.0 Flight B – Flight winner Huffines/Clark and Brookhaven/Bartlett will advance from this flight.  All matches are played so this one is in the books.  McKinney/Oh finishing third at 5-2 was an eye opener in this flight.  They were only three lines behind Brookhaven for third.  Brookhaven finished the last two matches going 10-0 while McKinney finished a respectable 7-3, but that was the difference.  And all that after McKinney had beaten Brookhaven 4-1.

55s Results
9.0 – With only six teams I imagine the flight winner goes straight to sectionals.  That would be Brookhaven/Goswami.  They finished as the only undefeated team in the flight with Wagon Wheel/Gradick two back in the loss column.  Oak Creek/Beckner-Sweeney finished a distant third.

8.0 – My apologies but I’m not certain on the format for 55s playoffs.  I believe it’s a three team event where 2 plays 3 and the winner plays 1.  In an incredibly tight race, SpringPark/Blesi takes the #1 spot.  Tied with Brookhaven/Bartlett at 7-1, 19-5, SpringPark wins the flight by virtue of its 2-1 match win over Brookhaven down the stretch.  Brookhaven will now play the first playoff match against Greenhill/Kayser.  Similarly, Greenhill was tied with Canyon Creek/Rainwater at 6-2 but edged them out by one line.


Monday, February 15, 2016

More Old Guy Updates and a Couple of Mixed Questions


4.5 Flight A – Still much to be decided in this flight.  Greenhill/Rossouw (5-0, 20-5) and SpringPark/Sweeney (5-0, 19-6) remain undefeated while Lifetime/Arcaria (4-1, 19-6) and Brookhaven/Harllee (4-1, 18-7) remain in hot pursuit.  Greenhill still has SpringPark and Brookhaven on its dance card, while SpringPark’s tough matches look to be Greenhill and Lifetime.  Lifetime can make up ground with matches left against SpringPark and Brookhaven, while Brookhaven has Greenhill and Lifetime to play.  As you can see, it’s still anyone’s ball game at this point. 

4.5 Flight B – Much easier to analyze, you have JCC/Reiman, Greenhill/Rossouw and no one.  JCC and Greenhill have no split their two matches so each are 4-1.  JCC holds a nice line lead but no one else in this flight will catch those two teams.  This five team flight probably has two of the four worst teams in it, so you really just need to beat one team to make the playoffs.  But they will be in the playoffs nonetheless. 

4.0 Flight A – McKinney/Peterson-Frick lost again but retained a slim first place lead because, yes, Greenhill/Kayser lost again too.  Both teams are stumbling into the playoffs but should be able to keep their one/two finish.  Canyon Creek/Nolen suffered another loss this Sunday and has all but knocked themselves out of the hunt.  While mathematically still alive, it would take an epic fail by one of the two leaders.

4.0 Flight B – Huffines/Clark has now wrapped up a playoff spot.  With one match left next Sunday, each of Brookhaven/Bartlett (4-2, 18-12), Greenhill/Ohl (4-2, 17-13) and McKinney/Oh (4-2, 16-14) are tied for second.  Brookhaven holds the head to head tiebreaker over Greenhill, but does not against McKinney.  Greenhill holds the head to head over McKinney.  The second playoff spot is in Brookhaven’s hands. 

9.0 (55s) – Brookhaven/Goswami  continues to hold a commanding two match lead as the only undefeated team left.  Wagon Wheel/Gradick is the only two loss team and it holds a two match lead over the distant third place team.  While there are three weeks left and Brookhaven and Wagon Wheel have yet to play their second match, I’d say this level can hand out the city title now.

8.0 (55s) – As with 4.5, this level is pretty consistent with the same teams in the hunt year in and year out.  At the moment there are three teams tied for the lead.  Grennhill/Kayser (5-1, 14-4), SpringPark/Blesi (5-1, 13-5) and Brookhaven/Bartlett (5-1, 13-5) are one ahead of Canyon Creek/Rainwater in the loss column with two matches left to play.  Greenhill has yet to play Canyon Creek while SpringPark and Brookhaven have relatively easy finishing matches. 

Mixed question – I had always heard that people didn’t want to play 8.0 mixed because SpringPark was pretty dominant.  So with all the SpringPark male ringers gone, why are there only three teams playing 8.0?  Looks like Brookhaven could easily be dominating this league if they didn’t have such a heavy bench.

Another mixed question – In one of the weirder things I’ve seen in a while, Mike Zackary seems to be running the only two teams playing 8.0 (40) mixed in Fort Worth.  He is captain of WAG/Zackary but is not on the team.  He actually plays on the other team, WAG/Margolis, which only has six players and defaulted a line in the first match.  The default along with Mike losing to the team he captains sealed the victory for team WAG/Zackary.  Hope you can figure this out, I can’t.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming - BRING ON THE OLD GUYS!

4.5 Flight A has Greenhill/Rossouw and SpringPark/Sweeney tied at 4-0 but they won’t square off until February 28.  Until then, Brookhaven/Harlee and Lifetime/Arcaria are both just one loss back.  Lifetime probably has the toughest remaining matches but they only lost to Greenhill 3-2 on a third set tie breaker.  SpringPark may have the best remaining schedule because they already beat Brookhaven.  I’ll go with Greenhill and SpringPark but Brookhaven could still squeeze in.
MOW is Greenhill/Rossouw versus Oak Creek/Loose.  The other flight contenders have pretty easy matches.  Greenhill needs to stay focused.

4.5 Flight B- (sorry but only five teams while Flight A has 9?) has Greenhill/Rossouw alone at 4-0 with JCC/Reiman alone at 3-1.  Brookhaven/Bartlett is a non-factor and Gleneagles/Juhn, while they have some really good players, is going to have to run thin with only 11 on the roster.  Kudos to them for only having defaulted one line so far.  No offense to Greenhill or JCC, who both have good teams, but taking two teams from a nine team flight and two teams from a five team flight seems like a typo. 
MOW is Greenhill/Rossouw versus JCC/Reiman.  Its a rematch of Greenhill's earlier 3-2 win.  Let's see what JCC learned from their earlier loss.

4.0 Flight A is a three horse race with only two matches left.  Flight leader McKinney/Peterson-Frick has two 2-3 teams left.  In a dead heat with them is Greenhill/Kayser who has a 2-3 team and a 1-4 team left.  Canyon Creek/Nolen is only one back in the loss column and has two 2-3 teams left.  Yeah, there are four teams sitting at 2-3 in this flight.  It should be McKinney and Greenhill on to the playoffs but Canyon Creek could still advance is one of them slips up.
MOW is Greenhill/Kayser versus McKinney/Jacobson-Parish.  Can Greenhill rebound after last week's loss?

4.0 Flight B has Huffines/Clark in the lead with no less than four teams tied for second at 3-2.  And they all have either 14 or 13 individual line wins so it’s anyone’s ball game at this point.  I had Huffines, Greenhill and Brookhaven as the favorites and that hasn’t changed but McKinney/Oh is a legitimate dark horse.  McKinney/Berman is actually in second at the moment but they still have to play Brookhaven and Greenhill.  Let’s say Huffines and Greenhill.
MOW is Greenhill/Ohl versus McKinney/Berman.  Both are tied for second and one gets eliminated this weekend. 
And so goes 40s.  Now that tri-level is over I’ll have to return to my real favorite topic: mixed.


Monday, February 8, 2016

Only One Can Advance

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Many fall but only one marches on

As is always the case, only one team can advance to Nationals from the Texas section.  No back doors, no wild cards, no second chances (well, unless you took SpringPark's mixed invitation).  So what did we learn?   I'd say we learned that a 9.0 line can beat any 7.5 line pretty badly but I hope we already knew that.  Some of us learned that Kelly, while good, really is mortal.  Some of us already knew that.  We also learned that even though Faris wasn't on Tony's 18s team he could have been.  Evidently not a lot of people really knew that.

Sisk punched his second ticket captaining a team to nationals.  Once can be a fluke or a gift, it takes at least one more trip to back it up.  It was decade in the making but so be it, a big accomplishment nonetheless.  While this isn't an official USTA nationals event there is still a pretty good argument that it is the marquee event.  But even with this being an all-star event, we also learned that when you pull a bunch of all-stars together you can end up with a lot of guys that may not be team players.  Just because I'm the best player I know doesn't mean I'm actually the best player.  Lets hope no one on the Fort Worth squad gets voted off the island before its all said and done.

This team has a real shot at winning it all at Indian Wells.  They will start every match up 1-0 with the 3.5 line.  I see no way they get beat.  The year Pickett won it all he started every match up 1-0 with Mike Kelly and Jason Moore.  Right now it looks like Faris and Mark Nguyen are the second line.  If the 4.5s are my weakest line I like my chances.  Sisk's challenge will be keeping everyone relatively happy until it's done and getting people who haven't had that much playing time together out for plenty of practice.  This team has the potential for a fair amount of disfunction but if they can keep it together they might just win it all. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

How it oughta go.... Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object..

Here is how I see this working itself out.  Superman versus Hulk or better known as Dallas West/Fort Worth (also known as Superman) vs NOHO (aka The Hulk).  The comic book question of who wins between Hulk and Superman will finally be answered.  DC and Marvel finally settle it on the tennis court in Kingwood, Texas.

First, they have to take down a bunch of B-List Superheroes.

Flight 2

I will start with the Dallas Team Flight.  The flight has Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Angelo and NETX.   We are represented by none other than Tony Le and his High Point based crew.  He has a strong team and here is my initial (actually final) breakdown.

At 4.5, he has Jean Nguyen, Alfredo Perez, Marcos Chavez and Sam Huynh.  There is a lot to like about that group.  I would think when it matters, he will go with Alfredo/Marcos but I would be hard pressed to leave Jean out.  Jean has won a lot and is as the Kelly sycophants call him... clutch!

At 4.0, we have a gaggle of reigning 18s and 40s national champs in this group.  You have Tony Le, Ryan DelaPaz, Hai Nguyen (not to be confused with Hai Thanh Nguyen as Tony has the better Hai), Victor Tran and Jared Kemp.  This is a very strong line any way he decides to go.  I would guess that he goes Tony/Ryan because they have been together a long time and I think this is as close to a lock down line as you can ask.

At 3.5, he has Mo Mahmoud, Wei-Bin Lai and Nick Strohla.  I'd be lying if I said I knew very much about any of them but I do see where Mahmoud won the 4.0 Cotton Bowl last year and won a lot last year.  The others look like guys who won a lot last year too.

Tony can put out three quality lines and in an event that only takes two to win, he has to like his chances in every match.

The flight has usually mighty Houston.  In no surprise, Freeman won Houston and looked to have a very strong team.  If early indications are correct, Freeman's boys are not representing Houston and are playing dirty pool by playing out of NOHO as Woodlands-Spearman.  More on them later.  This Houston team got beat by Freeman 2-1.  They took a pretty bad beating at 3.5 and 4.0 but won relatively routine (4&4) at 4.5.  I would think they are a 4.5 dominated team and hope to win one of those other lines.

Austin is the next team in that flight.  I am sure that this team is decent as Austin always puts out a good (usually not great) product.  They are captained by a 3.5 and that concerns me.  3.5s usually wouldn't know a good 4.5 if they saw one and are iffy on 4.0s as well.  Also, good 4.5s don't like to associate with too many 3.5s.  Looking at the players history, it appears to be a notch below Tony and Co.

NETX is here again and looks like the same guys that don't win every year.

San Angelo looks to be ready to bring up the rear.  If they are fortunate, they can pull an upset of NETX and stay out of the cellar but this team appears to be a contender for 4.0-3.5-3.0 Tri-Level.

Tony and Co appear to be in the driver's seat and should advance to the finals if he draws his lines out of a hat.

The Other Flight...

This flight has Wild Dallas,Newly Mighty Fort Worth (aka-Dallas West), NOHO, SETX and San Antonio.  This is clearly the tougher flight as all of these teams appear to be strong.

Wild Dallas is captained by the interesting Kingsley-Noel combination.  This team snatched defeat from the jaws of victory at the city level so I am hoping they make the most of their shot at redemption.

At 4.5, they have the captains of Vince Kingsley and Coredawg5.0 (formerly CoreDawg4.5 but originally CoreDawg5.0 and now CoreDawg5.0 again).  They also have the very good but geriatric Robert Barrie.  Rounding the team out you have very good 4.5s in Ryan Kirkpatrick and Hector Valentin. I would guess CoreDawg and Barrie play against toughest competition.

4.0s are Mike Sullivan, Craig Waters, Shawn Arcaria and John Sellars.  I am not sure what he does but Arcaria and Sullivan beat Tran and Le at the City level.  I would guess in the 'big one' this would be the line.

3.5 has Jeff Yarbrough, Jonathaon Wraith, Michael Campbell and Pushkar Chhajed (Random thought--how many names have back to back Hs?).  The first three all played in the sectionals finals and Wraith & Campbell got a win over Freeman's mighty 3.5 team.  I would have to think that is the line in the 'big one' for this line.

Wild Dallas should compete favorably as long as they make the right decisions.  They should have won Dallas and any team that can win Dallas is tough. 

Next up is West Dallas (aka Fort Worth)--Also Superman, this team is captained by the brain trust known as Sisk-Rigney.  Sisk has been around a long time and I think this is first time he has ventured out of of the friendly confines of Dirty Garland and now he teams up with Dirty Hurst and Wayne Rigney.  This joint venture appears to have worked out extremely well.  As this team is probably the best team either Sisk or Rigney has assembled.

4.5 has Voldemort Kelly anchoring his 4.5 line.  He is joined by very good 4.5s Donnie Pollard and Stephen Shreiner.  I would guess at the end of the day,  Kelly and Pollard are in the 'big one.'  As previously mentioned, I have to wonder if Kelly and Faris aren't actually the best 4.5 line.

4.0 has Scott Faris who laid waste to the competition at 4.0 40s sectionals and nationals.  There is Hai Thanh Nguyen ( the lesser Hai Nguyen in this event), the always precocious and controversial Mike Zackary (or is it Zackry, Zacry, Zackery, Zachary....), the even more precocious and controversial (not to mention hard to spell) Alan Abbruzzese, Mark Nguyen, and 1/2 of the team brain trust Wayne Rigney.  I would have to guess it will be Faris and ????.  All are good players so we will have to wait and see.

3.5 has the 9.0 line of Dong Long and Tam Huynh (1/2 of your 4.5 Cotton Bowl Champions).  They are joined by Phat Vu.  I have t think ths is the most unbeatable line at the whole event.

NOHO--Hulk is next also known as 'the big one'.  This is mostly your Houston city champs that abdicated their Houston spot to play out of NOHO and add a few pieces at 4.0.  After winning Houston they move to NOHO.  Dallas cannot do this and once again our friends at the DTA handcuff their teams.  To make matters worse, the DTA power trip rubbed off on Fort Worth.  I actually agree with Houston as the point is to play more tennis and not limit the amount that is played.  I just don't think it is fair that everyone doesn't play by the same rules and the DTA works their hardest to ensure we are handicapped.  This is a testament to Dallas tennis as we are effectively putting in 2 1/2 teams in sectionals (and FW gets 1/2).  Take that Houston!!!

4.5 has a potential Voldemort slayer in Tim Green.  He is joined with Antoine Ford, Phong Regent and Conor Holton-Burke.  I presume someone with Green will be the line when it matters.

4.0 is an interesting one as they add long time Houston 4.5/5.0 nefarious captain Red Benzon.  He was conspicuously missing from the Houston team.  I have to believe he is the reason for the move to NOHO.  I have to think it is Red and one of Freeman's famous Thursday night guys because that is what the rest of them look like.

3.5 has 4 defending 3.5 national champions but it doesn't matter as none of them can beat FW's mighty 9.0 pair.  I would guess Freeman goes with Benedict Wiley and one of the other guys. 

SETX may have some of the best 4.5s in the state; they just don't appear to be playing on this team.  This team won 2 of 3 doubles lines at sectionals finals against Freeman's mighty 4.5 nationals team but the ones that won are not on the roster.  Sadly, that is all they have.  The only way they beat one of these other teams is if someone gets injured.

San Antonio is represented by the mighty Borg that does well at sectionals every year and occasionally breaks through.  Like SETX, they just don't have the depth of lines to keep up with the big boys.  If they were in the other flight, they are fighting it out with Tony for a trip to the finals.  As it is, they are eliminated on Friday.

In the end, it will go to West Dallas (aka FWINO--Fort Worth in Name Only).  Kelly and partner will be just a little too much for Green and partner.  Will Faris and partner be a little too much for Benzon and one of Freeman's Thursday night extras?  The biggest question is whether FWINO's 3.5s serve 1 or 2 bagels to NOHO.  I guess Superman beats Hulk.

In the Finals, I see no way Tony's crew beat the Sisk-Rigney machine!