Monday, July 25, 2016

City Playoff Wrap Up - 4.5 and 4.0

It would be easy to say that things went as expected at 4.5 if you only looked at the final standings, with the traditional powers of Greenhill/Rossouw and JCC/Reiman holding off the new comers from SpringPark/Aguilar and the always playoff present Brookhaven/Harllee.  It was a little more interesting than that though.  Greenhill did take down SpringPark 4-1 in the first match on Friday, but SpringPark lost two third set tie breakers making this one a little closer than it may have looked.  SpringPark also lost a first set tie breaker in singles so I think we know what they need to work on.  And while JCC had what looked to be a close 3-2 win over Brookhaven, JCC did sweep singles easily.  Very difficult to sweep doubles in the playoffs.
Round two saw another game effort from Brookhaven, taking Greenhill to the edge at 3-2 but still another loss.  JCC nearly slipped up in this round against SpringPark but relied on a singles sweep to carry them through (there will be a theme here if you're paying attention).
In the final round of play SpingPark took down Brookhaven 4-1.  Brookhaven had already been eliminated and spread some playing time around.  This left only the two undefeated teams squaring off in the final match, as it should be.  Just when I’d have guessed it wouldn’t happen, we had two sweeps in one match.  JCC swept singles and Greenhill swept doubles.  Of the five lines played, four weren’t close.  Both singles were blowouts as were lines two and three doubles.  It all came down to line one doubles which was Shreiner and Faris over Sumrow and Cambron 6-4, 0-6, 1-0.  That’s two big momentum swings and I’m sorry I wasn’t able to see that one.  Looks like both teams will go to sectionals so good for them. 

Word on the street all season had been that Greenhill was strong in doubles and JCC had the singles and I guess it turned out to be true.  With the doubles versus singles issues that both teams seem to have I have to wonder how far they will go at sectionals, but I also hear Freeman is relaxing on his couch this year so anything is possible.  While it's usually easier to find a way to win one doubles line than one singles line (if you have issues at both), it's also true that you're singles guys will wear out if you're having to sweep singles in every big match.  Could be tough for both squads moving forward. 
At 4.0 there were a lot of expected results and a couple of very interesting surprises.  Let’s start with the biggest shocker.  Garland/Sisk won 4.0 cities.  That they won is surprising, I had them finishing second or third behind High Point, but how they won is more surprising.  More on that later.
Friday had High Point/Somabut taking out Huffhines/Jayaram 4-1.  I saw High Point and Garland competing for the wild card spot at 4.0 but maybe as a sign of things to come this 4-1 wasn’t as strong as it looked.  There were three third setters and High Point won them all.  Garland then swept Huffhines/Ratcliffe with only one close match. 
Saturday morning saw McKinney/Kanchi’s first match and it was a sweep of Huffhines/Ratcliffe with only one close match.  But the real match of interest was High Point versus Garland for the presumptive wild card.  The two teams split singles and split lines two and three doubles.  It’s hard to know whether the singles or doubles third setter finished last (usually the singles) but the key match looked to be line one doubles which went for Garland. 
Saturday afternoon Garland beat Huffhines/Jayaram 4-1, winning two out of three third setters, with all lines being close except three doubles.  In a rematch of flight play, McKinney got their revenge on High Point with a sweep and the singles were complete blowouts with both coming in at 6-0, 6-1.  This is what I expected in their flight play match before we saw a light lineup from McKinney early in the season.  Garland is now sitting at 3-0 and seemingly having a wild card sewn up. 
Sunday morning saw another McKinney sweep, this time of Huffhines/Jayaram, but with two third setters in doubles.  High Point then swept Huffhines/Ratcliffe, who defaulted two lines. WTF?
In the last matches on Sunday, Huffhines/Jayaram beat Huffhines/Ratcliffe 4-1 with Ratcliffe defaulting two lines again.  He has 17 guys on that roster and can’t get more than four to come play in the playoffs on Sunday afternoon?  That then only left the battle of the undefeated, again, as it should be.  But it was an odd one.  Singles were split with huge blowouts.  Yaremenko blows out a McKinney self rate.  Flora plays seven games and retires (without winning a game).  Teterud and Horsley are up 6-2, 0-1 and they retire.  Then lines one and two doubles split third setters for a 3-2 Garland win.  I bet they were wondering what the heck was going on with guys falling like flies on the other courts.
I wasn’t there so I can’t say what happened, other than both Garland and McKinney are headed to sectionals.  Straight up, McKinney wins this match 4-1 but I was told the ambulance came every day and twice on Saturday so anything is possible. 
Congrats to all the players this weekend and good luck to those advancing.  I’ll take a look at sectionals in a week or so.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

City Playoff Preview: 4.5 & 4.0

Playoffs are here (QT is as someone on the last thread is a participation ribbon).  Those who have performed have earned the privilege of playing the playoffs.  This is where there is pressure.  I now a number of facilities are not sure the playoffs exist.  Yet, the real season starts when something matters.  This week it all matters and you get the privilege of pressure.

And they are out.  4.5 and 4.0 men both kick off the competition with 6:00pm Friday matches at Brookhaven and Canyon Creek, respectively.  On Saturday they flip and the 4.5s go to CC at 8:00am and noon while the 4.0s move to BH at 8:00am and noon.  Makes it hard to watch all the good matches.  All the driving is usually a pain but when they are all playing at the same time you just have to make choices.  At least no one has to go to the wasteland of LB Houston.  So, if you aren’t playing and want to see the best matches (like me), what will it be?

4.5 looks like this: Greenhill and SpringPark to sectionals... or JCC

Friday at 6:00pm at Brookhaven: (1) Greenhill/Rossouw versus SpringPark/Aguilar OR (2) JCC/Reiman versus Brookhaven/Harllee.  There aren’t many years when a JCC – Brookhaven match wouldn’t get top billing but the Greenhill – SpringPark match could be the finals.  The established lion versus the young interlopers.  Or something like that.  I really think Greenhill has to win this.  If a first year team led by a 4.0 bump up takes them out its gonna really sting.  Gotta go with JCC after their earlier 4-1 win over Brookhaven in flight play, even though JCC won two third set tie breakers in that one.

Saturday at 8:00am at Canyon Creek: (1) Greenhill versus Brookhaven OR (2) SpringPark versus JCC.  I’ll take Greenhill but I’d go watch the second match.  Whether SpringPark wins or loses the first match, both teams will be staring down possible elimination from sectionals and this one could be tense.

Saturday at noon at Canyon Creek: (1) Greenhill versus JCC OR (2) SpringPark versus Brookhaven.  These will still be very interesting matches no matter the standings.  I’d expect it's still three teams fighting for two likely sectionals spots so every line still matters.  I’ll take Greenhill and Springpark here but no easy matches will be had all weekend.

4.0 looks like this: McKinney and High Point to sectionals.

Friday at 6:00pm at Canyon Creek: (1) High Point/Somabut versus Huffhines/Jayaram OR (2) Garland/Sisk versus Huffines/Ratcliffe – gonna take High Point and Garland in these two matches.  Huffhines/Jayaram has made a nice undefeated run but I gotta think Somabut is taking this seriously this year and won’t fall prey to his Achilles heal of playing the wrong guys when he shouldn’t.  I just don’t see the high end talent on Huffhines/Ratcliffe.

Saturday at 8:00am at Brookhaven: (1) Huffhines/Ratcliffe versus McKinney/Kanchi OR (2) High Point/Somabut versus Garland/Sisk.  As the QT winner and therefore fifth seed, McKinney has to go four matches in two days so how far can you ride the same singles guys?  This match should be a little bit of a breather for them though.  Garland has some talent but I still think High Point advances.

Saturday at noon at Brookhaven: (1) High Point versus McKinney (this is likely the finals) OR (2) Garland versus Huffhines/Jayaram.  The second match will be a question of who empties the bench first.  Huffines is likely 0-1 so I’d hope they are still giving it their best lineup.  Garland likely has a loss too.  We’ll see.  The marquee matchup is High Point and McKinney.  I picked McKinney at the beginning of the season and I’m staying with them.

Sunday at 8:00am at Brookhaven: (1) Huffhines/Jayaram versus McKinney OR (2) Huffhines/Ratcliffe versus High Point.  McKinney and High Point are both still in the running for city champion and the mythical runner up bid to sectionals so both keep winning.

Sunday at noon at Brookhaven: (1) Garland versus McKinney OR (2) Huffhines versus Huffhines.  Sisk is a nice guy and I’d imagine he pulls names out of a hat for this match to get some guys a playoff match.  I’ve got to go with Huffhines in the last match.

Monday, July 18, 2016

City Play In Matches (QT for you old guys)


4.5 came down to the Brookhaven/Harllee versus Village/Valentin match.  Too bad it was the first match played at 8:00am on Saturday morning.  Brookhaven won 3 -2 and the two teams split three setters so it could have gone either way, but the real story was a singles sweep by Brookhaven.  As they showed, it’s usually not too difficult to pick up one doubles line.  While Brookhaven’s doubles lines at #1 and #3 both lost close matches, their #2 line won its match easily.  Smith over Castro 4 & 6 then Toscano over Khaing in three was the difference. 

The remaining 4.5 matches went to form.  Oak Creek took down Sam Grand 4-1.  In round two, Brookhaven swept Sam Grand and Village beat Oak Creek 3-2, leaving Brookhaven firmly in the driver’s seat.  The Village versus Oak Creek match was interesting only in the fact that Village defaulted a line and still won 3-2.  While the final results look like it was smooth sailing from there, Brookhaven beat Oak Creek 4-1, they actually won three matches in the third set and one match in a second set tie breaker.  Brookhaven looks to have been battle tested this weekend and I’d expect them to do well at City Playoffs next weekend.

4.0 was a bit of a different story.  There were six teams in two flights with the flight winners playing a final to see who advances to cities.  The Red flight had Eldorado/Browning going 0-2, 2-8 for the weekend so it really came down to Brookhaven/Bartlett versus Oak Creek/Iyer for the flight.  With Oak Creek having swept Eldorado and Brookhaven sneaking by with a 3-2 win over Eldorado, it seemed Oak Creek would advance easily.   Especially since Eldorado defaulted TWO LINES to Brookhaven (of course they did the same to Oak Creek).  As it turned out, Oak Creek advanced with a 3-2 win over Brookhaven winning a third set tie breaker on line 3 of the doubles to clinch.

The Blue flight was a different story.  It started with McKinney/Bazan losing 4-1 to Greenhill/Ohl.  There were two items of note.  First, Bazan himself had McKinney’s only win and, two, McKinney defaulted line 1 singles which isn’t possible in the playoffs.  The tournament directors may have missed something here.  In round two McKinney/Kanchi swept McKinney/Bazan, proving that all McKinneys are not created equal.  In fairness, there were three close matches in this one.  Round three should have been the big McKinney versus Greenhill showdown we were expecting in the finals.  As it turns out, three of Greenhill’s lines evidently forgot to actually play as between them they lost 36-7.  Greenhill did squeeze out two three setters to make those lines respectable.

The final was a 4-1 McKinney win over Oak Creek.  The two teams split the two close lines but three went McKinney’s way a little easier. 

Now for the gossip.  Evidently the Greenhill 4.0 boys were a little miffed after their match.  Granted, that’s not new for some of them, but given the flack (and the Vatum DQ) that has been launched at McKinney/Kanchi I thought it worth asking about.  I did not see the match so I can’t comment specifically.  However, I did see on tennislink that after Captain Ohl had a stellar 8-1 season at 4.0 this year and won his other playoff match, he and Burton lost 1&0 to Timothy Mickey and a 3.5.  That’s gonna leave a mark.  Anyone actually see the McKinney versus Greenhill match?  The only matches I caught some of were the 4.5 BH/Village tilt (I thought that might be for all the marbles) and part of the 4.0 final, just to be diligent in my reporting.

 I didn’t see anything in the 4.0 final that lead me to believe McKinney wouldn’t get hammered by Tony’s 4.0 team last year.  Against the lineup in the finals it would be 4-1 or a sweep.  I’m sure Anthony Horsley would agree after getting beat 0&4 by Tony and Victor Tran at tri-level sectionals earlier this year, if that helps answer your question.  Granted, that wasn’t the same lineup that played against Greenhill so I may not have seen the best McKinney has to offer yet.  Hopefully I’ll get a chance to see that next weekend. 

I haven’t scrubbed 4.5 statewide yet but with all the chatter at 4.0 I tried to take a quick look over the weekend.  San Antonio and Austin look to be where they always are.  Fort Worth is out this year after last year’s big run.  Dallas is down but after winning it all that’s to be expected.  The biggest thing I saw was Freeman looks to be somewhere between disinterested and nonexistent.  This could be the easiest year for Texas 4.0 in the last ten years.

Of course Bill Sanders is still lurking in Waco.  And he’s won a 4.0 national title before.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Courts at McKinney Proudly Unveils a New Sign...

MCKINNEY — The Courts at McKinney unveiled a digital sign outside its facility in McKinney today that will keep everyone abreast of the time since there has been an NTRP ratings DQ at the facility.

“We keep getting questions about player DQs, character and behavior and we want to let people know that we haven’t witnessed anything bad at The Courts since Tuesday” said Matt Hanlin, Director at the Courts, of the captain and team that is heavily favored to win the Qualifying Tournament. “There hasn’t been a single  ratings abuse accusation since Sunday. It’s been great.  Then again, it was a Holiday weekend.”

Hanlin and other McKinney Tennis staffers have been going out of their way since Sunday to tell the DTA and Todd Reed that The Courts at McKinney and Ranganath Kanchi are behaving and working hard with computer rated ringers instead of self rated ringers. But they hope the sign will illustrate that point and answer the question before the DTA or USTA Texas even enters the facility.

 “I see it as both a service to the Dallas Tennis Community and as a way for us to boast that maybe our pick of players and ratings wasn’t so foolish after all.” said Captain Ranganath Kanchi.

The team stressed that the sign’s clock will only reset after tanking or ratings accusations are investigated by policy. Unofficial ratings inquires or serious allegations that don’t draw NTRP police inquiries will not affect the running tally of days.

Kanchi said he appreciates the sign.  “I see it has enough space for two digits,” he said. “I really appreciate their faith in me.”

The Courts started the sign’s “clock” at zero because, according to a team spokesman: “We didn’t really want to look too much into things and find out if maybe there’s been some recent stuff, you know? We’re content with our current impression that there haven’t been any new incidents and we’ll just start it today. We’ve found that Dallas tennis whiners can be extremely biased in their recollections of events.”