Saturday, September 29, 2007

Texas 4.5 men rolling....

Mike Davis' Austin 4.5 men's team won both of their matches yesterday and now must beat 0-2 Richmond to assure a trip to the National semi-finals.

The morning match against Florida was pretty easy...a 4-1 victory which included only one third set tie breaker. The rumor of a missing Stuart Holland appears to be true, and so far Austin has relied on Chad Case and Graham Thurman as their singles guys. I don't know how good Thurman is, but I'm fearful that a missing Holland could mean the difference between winning and losing somewhere down the road.

The afternoon match with Cary, NC was much tougher, as Austin prevailed 3-2. Schlotterback and Kattawar lost both of their doubles matches yesterday, so it will be interesting to see if they remain in the lineup today and what kind of confidence Davis will have in them on Sunday. Graham Thurman was the other loser in the afternoon match, with Case and Strawbridge/Gold winning in straight sets. The clutch win was provided by Wicks and Brunetta, who pulled out a third set breaker. Case has continued to roll along, dropping just four games in each of his matches at the National Championships against (presumably) some of the best 4.5 league players in the country.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Nationals this Week

The Austin 4.5 team gets their chance to keep the 4.5 National Championship banner in the state of Texas this week. Good luck to Mike Davis' crew in Tuscon.

Texas is in a killer bracket, grouped with the USTA's largest section, Southern, as well as tennis hotbed Florida and perennial 4.5 power Richmond, who represents the Mid-Atlantic Section. It at looks like an uphill battle for Texas, but on paper they appear to be at least on the same level as the other teams in their flight. As always, it will come down to some clutch play and pulling out some tie breakers. Nerves will definitely come into play with a National championship potentially on the line.

The 5.0 Champions from Fort Worth will be playing in Indian Wells this weekend as well. I got a chance to hit on those courts about a year ago and must say that they are EXTREMELY slow, playing almost like clay courts. It certainly helps to explain why Nadal won the tournament there this year. Not sure if that is a plus or minus for Omana, Babb, Maupin, McCarthy and the rest of the Fort Worth contingent.

Texas' successes or failures will have a direct impact on Houstonians as ratings filter down from players playing at Nationals to Sectional participants to local league players. Midyear ratings may change drastically, depending on how things go this weekend.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sectionals in San Antonio

Congratulations to the local league players who represented Houston so well at Sectionals this past weekend.

Ismael Dutchover won the 3.5 division, getting some good preparation for 3.5 Nationals.

Freeman's team was also well represented in the 4.0 division, as Eddie Janek beat teammate Kris Knutson in the singles final. Top Seeded Jason Kern pulled out of the tournament.

Odion Dibua survived a tough quarterfinal match and cruised in the semis and finals to take home the 4.5 singles title.

The 5.0 singles title was won by Chris Hunckler, who gutted out some three set victories.

Houston teams did not fare very well in the doubles.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Combo this weekend.

Sorry that I've been neglectful of the blog lately...I have an actual job now so I've not had the time I used to have.

Someone asked me for a preview of the Combo this weekend but I'm afraid that there are many commenters who would be more knowledgable than I am. But here's my two cents worth anyway.

In 7.5, I'm ashamed to say that I'm ignorant about the abilities of almost the entire 3.5 division. Freeman's team totally dominated the state 3.5 picture, and he has put together a combo team with several of his 3.5 and 4.0 players. I'd have to be a fool to bet against them.

The 8.5 division is more interesting to me, as the winner may be more in question. Allen Teague's team will be tough, but as of now only Richard Perreira and his funky left handed serve fill out the roster as a 4.0. I believe there may have been a dropout or two from Allen's original plans, so we'll see how there team shapes up. Because of that, I'm going to pick the Huang team to win it all. The 4.0's of Huang, Huang, Zebrowski and Swartley are pretty strong. A couple of the 4.5's (Paciotti and Moser) are seemingly more comfortable in singles than doubles, though Moser has some good tournament results this year. Tass has a good doubles reputation, though I've never seen him play.

The Lost Forest 8.5 team looks weak to me. The Copperfield team will not be a pushover. Bryan Robins is a very good 4.5 doubles player, and their 4.0's (Rawls, Nguyen, Sawaya, Montes et al) are pretty decent.