Thursday, May 31, 2007

Another week

First off, thanks to Scott Carr for his frank comments regarding Atsushi Fukunaga. I've always felt that perhaps more players should be disqualified midyear, but I really haven't made up my mind as to whether Fukunaga "deserved" it. Fukunaga's disqualification got me to wondering about how the "three strikes" rule works in a city like Houston where the HTA results are in the tennis link computer. I really don't know what goes on behind the scenes, but Fukunaga had some really strong wins in the HTA season. My thinking is that he entered the USTA season with a very high rating, perhaps even ALREADY high enough to push him up to 5.0. The win agains Kudva and then the doubles win against Burrmann certainly suggest that he can hang in the 5.0 ranks (which in Houston are already littered with 4.5 players). But is he too good for the 4.5 level? I'm not really sure.

Anyway, props to Carr and Fukunaga for playing it straight and avoiding the all-too-common game dumping and tanking which goes on everywhere. Unfortunately, USTA league often ends up penalizing those who play it straight and rewarding those who know the ins and outs of the system and choose to exploit them.

There are just a few marquee matchups this week. The 5.0 division, for the first time in many years, is this season's most interesting one due in great part to a lack of playoff. Teague takes on Rice this week. A win by the Benzon/Teague team would create a tie for first place with Teague ahead on lines and the Met and Lost Forest lurking.

Teague has so much talent on their roster and is so focused on things that I just can't see them bringing a weak lineup today. I certainly won't be surprised to see a sweep from Teague. Rice has continually surprised me this year, and I plead guilty of underestimating them, but I just can't see them keeping it up.

In 4.5 Rice and the aforementioned Black Sheep face off in what will probably decide the second playoff spot in Division III. Lukas Jendek will have to pick up some of the slack left by Fukunaga's absence if the Black Sheep are going to remain competitive. Rice has yet to field anything remotely resembling their "best" lineup. It's interesting to note that Ryan Kudva was added to the Rice 5.0 roster this week. 5.0 matches are often scheduled on days other than Thursday, but if there's a conflict I'd put my money on Kudva playing 5.0.

There's a rematch of two super-heavyweights in 4.0 as the heavily favored Hurricanes again try to hold off nemesis Rice Saints (the Rice teams are dominating the headlines this week). While both teams will make the playoffs, this battle of the titans is always interesting. I suspect Rice is not quite on the Hurricane's level this year. Karel and Bui will have to put a dent in the Hurricanes' strong singles lineup for the Saints to have a chance.


  1. Hey John, sounds like the you and funkinawa are on the same level, way to keep a low profile and keep everybody off your back, keep it up i always thought you were the toughest one out there and that everybody forgot to mentioned and really overlook your quality of play, surely is the most intimidating player out there.

  2. Huh? Who is John?

  3. Ok, Austin commenting here again. First of all, I'd have to say it been years since I've seen anyone dq'd due to the three strikes rule. The last time I can remember seeing it is back in '02 when a guy named Chris Kleper got dq'd. He played D1 tennis and is now a computer rated 5.5. Based on this guy's Funkinawa's scores, I don't see why the USTA did this. Especially when you've got D1 players on rosters all over the state...

    Austin tennis

  4. Actually, in the last couple of years there have been several players in the men's and women's leagues dq'd because of computer red flags. If want to know specifically, you can call Cheryl Hulquist, the league coordinator in Houston, for specific names.

  5. John Briggs got dq'd from 4.5's here in Houston a couple of years ago after pasting Giordanelli, Cooney and Phoummarath in consecutive weeks.