Wednesday, December 9, 2009

WTT National Qualifier coming to Houston August 27-29, 2010!

The World Team Tennis Association has just confirmed that a National Qualifier will be held in Houston, TX August 27-29, 2010!

Started by Billie Jean King in 1985, the Advanta WTT Recreational League format features co-ed teams competing in six sets - men's and women's doubles, men's and women's singles and mixed doubles. The unique WTT format, which is also played in the Professional League (remember the Houston Wranglers out of the Westside Tennis Club), includes no-ad scoring, let serves, substitutions and coaching. Players participate first in a local event. If you win the local event, teams have an opportunity to qualify for WTT National Qualifiers and the National Championship. National Qualifier locations include: IMG Academy (Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy) in Bradenton, FL; Darling Tennis Center in Las Vegas, NV; Plaza Tennis Center in Kansas City, MO; Millbrook Exchange Tennis Center in Raleigh, NC; Heritage Park in Irvine, CA; Hempfield Sports Complex in Lancaster, PA and now for the first time ever, at the Copperfield Racquet & Health Club right here in Houston, TX! The National Championships are held at the Pac Life Open in Indian Wells, CA. Earlier this year, the USTA purchased 25% of the WTT. So far, Houston has had 5 sectional events in the past two years and 8 teams have gone on to the National Qualifier event in Las Vegas, NV.

From personal experience, I captained a team from Lancaster, PA back in 2003 and we won the local event. We then moved on to the National Qualifier in Bradenton, FL and fortunately won that event as well! Nick Bollettieri personally gave us a tennis clinic and it just so happened that Maria Sharapova was there and hit with us as well so it was an awesome experience. Finally, that year we went to the National Championships, which was held in Palm Springs, CA. We lost in the finals by one game!!! Ever since then, I have been a huge proponent of the WTT. It is a lot of fun with a Davis Cup type of atmosphere!

We will hold another local event in June 2010 so if you are interested in participating (just in time to participate in the August National Qualifier if you win) let me know.

Monday, November 30, 2009

2010 Houston City Masters event POSTPONED

Due to several scheduling conflicts the Masters event has been postponed until between the City Playoffs and Sectionals. As soon as the date is confirmed, I will release more information.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

While waiting for ratings...

A reader just passed this along...looks like some massive "bumpage" in the 3.5 and 4.0 divisions.

Ratings should be out within a week.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Next on the horizon...

Year end ratings are still probably a few weeks away (though in some years they've come come out in mid-November), but that other thread was just getting too long.

The successes of Houston and Texas teams at Nationals this year, combined with the rumored "evening out of the levels" would seem to indicate that there will be more bump-ups than usual. And few, if any, bumpdowns. Remember, last year there was only one (maybe I'm forgetting someone) bumpdown from 4.5 to 4.0 (JJ Deleon). Don't expect to see many more this time around.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Off to Vegas

Our local 4.5 teams will be jetting off to Vegas tomorrow for Nationals, which begins on Friday morning. The guys will have just about all of their key players. The players have been practicing and should be in good form. There may even be a surprise or two in the lineups over the weekend.

Red and Freeman will hopefully be giving me updates, probably as things are going on, so I will be sure to keep everyone informed. Hopefully Betsie will chime in with some good news as well.

HTA season is in full swing. I've only glanced at results a couple of times, but as far as I can tell the most interesting team seems to be the Deucebags, who have added some talent in an effort to help offset the expected loss of Aadrian Hasker next season. Alex Beaux and his top notch serve should definitely help. Crafty Huy "DJ" Pham has made his reappearance and is now rated 4.0. I heard a rumor that one of their players played on the infamous Backesto team in California, but I can't find any record of that and was apparently misinformed.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Lots of Action this Weekend...

Lots of action this weekend around the city, state and country...

Top Items are:
Updates from 5.0 and 4.0 Nationals
Updates from Mixed Sectionals in Corpus
Houston Fall Festival

Edits in red to be factually correct.

Men's 5.0 Nationals
The Houston team that is based out of Copperfield made the journey to Indian Wells this weekend to represent Texas and did AWESOME. They were undefeated in pool play, going up against a tough team from AZ that was also 3-0 on Sat afternoon. Today they played the semi-final and won against Florida 2-1, but came up just short in the final against the team from NC. Every one of these matches was 2-1 this weekend. I can only imagine the nail biting involved in watching that last line finish!

Men's 4.0 Nationals
The team from Dallas (Wild Dallas) went 3-1 in pool play. They lost one of their matches to New England and thought they were done, only to have the team from Puerto Rico knock of New England to propel Texas into play on Sunday based on set differential. They came up against the eventual champ Eastern in the semis and lost 4-1. Three of the lines went to breakers. They won the "feel-good" 3rd place match against Florida. Props to this team. This was the team that edged out Freeman's 4.0 team in the final back in August. Word has it they were w/o one of their top guys who was at his sister's wedding. Props to that guy for making the right long term decision.

I don't have much a ladies' update from the Texas team as they are not from Htown and were eliminated in pool play. The full update can be found on the USTA site here.

Mixed Sectionals 2009 - Corpus

Mixed sectionals were held this weekend in Corpus. For those who have not played in Corpus before they have several nice facilities around town (THANKS HEB!) and it is ALWAYS windy.

7.0 Mixed - Tran gets the trip to Nationals
Our own Houston team that is built from some of SAP and Freeman's Hurricane won the 7.0 flight this weekend and will represent Texas at Nationals. They went 3-0 in pool play and then squeaked by in the semis and finals to win. Way to go Mike and team!

8.0 Mixed
Larry's Copperfield team is making a return trip to Corpus. This guy has a warehouse full of talent out there from Copperfield. They went 2-1 in pool play losing their first one to to Austin. In the end the just came up short. The Kingwood team representing NoHo was also in this flight. They were the whipping boy (and girl) of this flight as they only went with 3 of their women. Too bad as they had a good team this summer. Who makes the schedule and puts Houston and NoHo in the same flight. What a bonehead move by USTA-Texas.

9.0 Mixed
The Mason Creek must make their reservations for Corpus when the register for the team at the beginning of the summer. I think this team goes every year. In talking with Monty they were going with 6 people, so playing time would be a non-issue! They took their limited roster and made it all the way into Sunday. The team from Ft Worth that beat them leverages the high/low strategy in mixed - 5.0 men and 4.0 women. The guys from the Ft. Worth team were on the 5.5 team that went to Nationals a while back. Talk about stacked.

Houston Fall Festival

I think this event is cursed with bad weather. I don't have any stats (sure I could correlate past weather with this event) but it seems that every time I sign up for this event my entry fee turns up being a non-tax deductible donation to HTA/USTA. The draws this year seem to be deflated from past. Here are the stats:

2003 - 922 entrants
2004 - 792 entrants
2005 - 1106 entrants
2006 - 622 entrants
2007 - 628 entrants
2008 - 240 entrants (3 weeks post Hurricane Ike)
2009 - 281 entrants

I can discount the 2008 showing b/c of the Hurricane and everyone was in recovery mode, but what explains the 2009 poor showing? There were several conflicts (sectionals, nationals) as outlined above, but this might account for maybe 30 total entrants.

Maybe it has to do with the pricing of events in general. Here are the entry fees for the corresponding years in singles/doubles format:

2003 - $20/$15
2004 - $20/$15
2005 - $22/$15
2006 - $25/$18
2007 - $27/$19
2008 - $27/$16
2009 - $27/$19

Maybe USTA is deriving more revenue per entrant, but decreasing overall tournament revenue. I don't know for sure, but someone has to do something, but it becomes a confidence issue as the people who play regularly will not continue to pay MORE for LESS competition for very long. USTA need to hire a consultant to work out an optimal pricing strategy. I can be contacted at this site and my fees are very nominal ;)

I hope those who toughed it out today get good value for their dollar and don't have to take a day off of work to finish an event.

What's Next.....

The next nationals update will be later this month as the 3.5 nationals are the weekend of the 16th. The next interesting update will be at the end of the month when 4.5 team that Betsy captains and the 4.5 team that is Red and Freeman's birth child will be headed to Tucson (EDIT: Vegas) to represent Houston and Texas. Let's hope they continue the good showing that was started this weekend!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Houston Teams Show well at Senior Sectionals

Senior 4.0

Congrats goes out to the team from Lakeside for a very strong showing at Senior sectionals in Tyler this weekend.

Most of you who play 4.0 know these guys and they are really a "who's who" of 4.o+ all stars from around the greater Htown area.

The group swept their flight in pool play 4-0 and then got squeaked out in two 3rd set breakers by the Dallas team.

What a great season, going 10-0 in city while only dropping 3 lines.

If you guys needs some people for next year, I can get a fake ID!

Senior 4.5

The 4.5 team looks like they won and will go represent our great state at nationals. I don't know any of these guys personally, but I can only imagine the craftiness that exists at the level.

From the scores it looks like the were one of 3 teams that finished 3-1, but the math was in their favor as they won by fewest sets lost.

Way to go guys!

Senior 3.5

The 3.5 team from Sugar Creek took 3 tough losses in pool play. They lost all three matches 1-2. Looks like some tough tennis.

Upcoming Nationals

Hopefully Greg is working on getting someone to feed info back to the locals when the 4.5 team goes to Vegas here in about 6 weeks.

I am very interested to see how this group does out there. Hopefully they come with all their guns and do well for Texas.

The 4.0 event is upcoming here in two weeks. It will be interesting to see how the team from High Point (Dallas) fares at this event after squeaking by the 4.0 Hurricanes team in Dallas last month. The results at nationals will help normalize the inputs that determine EOY ratings for 2k9 so that people can start recruiting for 2k10.

Here is an interesting stat that I would have missed if I were guessing. Mid-Atlantic has the most titles from last year. We are way down in the pack with five. I for sure would have guessed one of the Californias or Florida as the winner.

Come on Freeman, time to get out an do some recruiting as this is your new back yard!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

HTA Season Underway

The HTA season has begun. I had heard rumors that there were going to be some new studs popping up on some fall rosters, but I haven't seen evidence of that so far. It looks like the Deucebags have integrated some new Met members onto their roster. They'll need some new talent to replace Aadrian Hasker if they hope to return to Dallas and surpass last year's finish up there.

From what I hear the players on the teams making it to Nationals have been working very hard at staying sharp and should be poised for success when they get there.

The combo tournament is rapidly looks as though there's been little interest thus far.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Combo, Fall Season

The USTA Season has just about run its course. We will keep you updated on events related to Nationals and hopefully Betsie, Tim, Freeman and others will update us with goings-on in Vegas when the time comes. I don't have the bracket in front of me, but I seem to remember that the men's 4.5 team is in the same flight with New England, Mid-Atlantic and Caribbean.

HTA league signups for the fall season are underway. Those of you obsessed with ratings will be happy (or sad?) to know that the fall season will not be included in 2009 ratings calculations at the end of the year. So get out there, work on some new things, and don't worry about being "bumped up."

Also on the horizon is the combo tournament. It's a fun way to play with your friends from other levels. It appears that the 9.5 division will "make" this year, and 7.5 and 8.5 are always popular. The tournament is run over one weekend (Sep. 25-27) and offers a chance to qualify for Sectionals, to be held in October. Email for a team number if you are interested.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Two Outta' Three

It started at Fuddrucker's, I think. It was during Tri-Level Sectionals, and I sat down to lunch with League tennis geniuses Tim Green, Red Benzon and Jason Freeman. I sat quietly, occasionally nodding my head and sipping about three gallons of Diet Coke while the three of them began making their plans and creating the Hurricane "franchise". Most of the discussion focused on the 4.5 division, but the seeds were being planted for the goal of Nationals trips for the 4.0, 4.5 and 5.0 Hurricane teams. It seemed like an overly ambitious goal, but they were just a few bounces away from achieving it.

What will I remember about this weekend? Had a great time watching the 4.5 sounds like a cliche but they really ARE a great bunch of guys. I'm astonished that they were able to win both matches on Sunday without taking a singles line. I've never seen that done before.

Tennis-wise, Jason Pieters was astounding and literally had me jumping out of my seat after he hit consecutive "trick shots" (I can't even describe them) during one of his matches. His opponent was frustrated, screaming "What is he doing here???? He should be at the Legg-Mason this week!!!" Truly awesome.

I'm happy and disappointed with the 4.0 team...we were a talented team that ran into a Dallas team that was just a little bit better. I'm now about oh for ten at Sectionals in my quest for Nationals. Still, it's been a great's always a treat to play for Freeman. The highlight of the year for me was reconnecting with my old friend and doubles partner Mike Lo, who's returned to tennis after a long absence and whose game is coming back. He'll be a factor next year.

I'm glad to see Omon and Odion make it to Nationals after coming so close the last few years. I don't think they could have gotten there if they hadn't brought their college buddies Sumrall and Tam along. Even the best captains sometimes need some talent dropped into their laps and Freeman, Green and Benzon got a little lucky with these two.

Good luck to the Hurricane 4.5 and 5.0 teams and Natural Guts at Nationals. I'm pretty confident they'll do us proud. As for me, and the Hurricane 4.0 year I plan on being one for eleven.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Checkin' in.

Austin beat San Antonio in the 4.5 division 4-1 this morning. Josh Torrez beat Mark Hildebrand and Chad Case eased past Chris Doyal. Looks like Austin Wild will be tough to take down as their singles seems rock solid.

Chris Bumann did not play in Abilene's first match. I assume he's not here, even though they're trying to say they're "resting" the nineteen year old. Don't think so. King-sized disappointment as I was looking forward to seeing him test the Hurricanes.

Good day for Houston teams for the most part. Hurricane 4.0 team was outstanding in waltzing through its first two matches, dropping only one line. The Hurricane 4.5 team won 3-2 in its first match in a match that didn't seem quite that close. The Deucebags lost 3-2 as Dat Bui decided not to make the trip, I believe due to work issues. SAP lost a heartbreaker to Waco 3-2, losing the deciding match in a third set breaker. Waco looks like it will have a battle with San Angelo for the semi-final spot.

The Hurricane 5.0 team looked to have things firmly under control in what figured to be their toughest match against Fort Worth, though the match had not yet completed at last report.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Weekend Schedule

I'm not sure if I'll have internet access (or time) over the weekend to properly update the blog. I do plan on getting out and supporting friends/acquaintances/rivals throughout the weekend and hope Houstonians will support each other. I'll print this out to give me an idea of where I might go to check out some of the action.

Here is a list of Houston teams, playing times, opponents and sites for those who might want to check out their friends during down times. Let me know of any errors. Sorry it's not very legible...troubles with Blogger formatting.


0700 Canes4.0 v. San Antonio (Spring Park)
1000 Deucebags v. Amarillo (High Point)
1100 Canes4.0 v. SETX (Spring Park)
1230 SAP v. Waco (Spring Park)
1230 Canes4.5 v. NETX (Canyon Creek)
1400 Canes5.0 v. Ft. Worth (Spring Park)
1400 Deucebags v. Dallas (High Point)
1600 SAP v. Wild Ft. Worth (Spring Park)
1700 Natural Guts v. Corpus (High Point)
1700 Canes4.5 v. Abilene (Huffines)


0700 Canes4.0 v. Midland (Spring Park)
0830 Deucebags v. Corpus (High Point)
0830 SAP v. San Angelo (Spring Park)
1000 Natural Guts v. NETX (High Point)
1000 Canes5.0 v. Wild Dallas (Spring Park)
1230 SAP v. NETX (Spring Park)
1230 Canes4.5 v. Fort Worth (High Point)
1400 Canes5.0 v. San Antonio (Spring Park)
1400 Natural Guts v. Austin (High Point)
1500 Canes4.0 v. Valley (Spring Park)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Quick Look at 4.0

I'll be the first to admit that I know even less about 4.0 than I do about 4.5. However, I'll take a quick look at the flights and give you my two cents worth (and that may be generous).

Flight One

In my view this is clearly the toughest flight. Bob Somabut's Wild Dallas team is always a powerhouse, and they may not have shown everything they have in the Dallas City Championships. Chris Featherstone has been a singles stud, and Jimmy Fenn has been capable (though I would think they have something better). Rumor had it that Craig Weymer was a ringer, but he's yet to show that. Brouer, Robinson and all the doubles veterans are still there for Dallas. Ft. Worth may be the team to beat in 4.0 this year. Jeremy Munz destroyed Featherstone three and oh in a tournament earlier this year. Lopez/Wynn just waltzed through the latest major zone. Damion Bell and Ryan Reid have had sectionals success. This team will be tough. Our own Noho team will have its work cut out for it. Veterans Rick Malone, Miguel Pinto, Craig Littlefield and my college table tennis arch rival Mike Szatny help Noho field a capable squad. San Antonio Wild will be a huge hurdle for anyone. Armando Abney has the best resume of all players at 4.0 Sectionals. He went three sets with Omon at 4.5 sectionals in 2005 and beat Davinder Toor 6-1, 6-1 in 2006. He's cocky and feisty and crafty...unless he's slowed down considerably in the years since I've seen him (he's no spring chicken), he should be VERY tough to beat. Abney has a bunch of capable teammates that make this team EXTREMELY dangerous. I believe James Murray is ranked 2 in the state in 4.0 singles. Captain Spadoni has been to Nationals before and has his eyes firmly set upon Las Vegas.

Flight Two

Lifetime Fitness, the Dallas champs, has been dominating the major zones lately. Brandon Myers won two consecutive singles titles and Eddie Hill, former starting guard for the Washington St. basketball team, is a rapidly improving athlete who just won the most recent major zone. The rest of the team is solid, and they should be favored to win this flight. To me, the Austin champs are not as strong as they have been in years past. Their best player is probably Clark Peterson, who's very good and has a dangerous forehand and an awkward looking backhand that manages to get the job done. On paper, the team seems to lack strength and depth and I don't think they can compete with Dallas. Lubbock made it to Nationals last year, but Mel Mcree and Joe Schaunaman are gone and the current team is not at the same level. Wild Waco is awful. This looks like a very easy bracket for Dallas.

Flight Three

The Hurricanes are extremely vulnerable this year. Despite that, the roster is very talented..similar to Branch's 4.5 team in that there don't appear to be any superstars, but quality players throughout. Nobody on the team has shown himself to be of the strength of the two singles guys (Narajos, Martinez) from last year, and without singles automatics getting through Sectionals is just about impossible. They start out with a tough San Antonio squad (big serving Angelos Leiloglou, Hunter Wagner and many others) right off the bat, and then play a SETX team with some quality players (Morris, Pham, Shanks, McCoy, etc.). Midland always brings a solid team to Dallas and this team looks at least as good as previous teams. It will be tough sledding to emerge from this bracket.

Flight Four

SAP has a chance to win this bracket. Bill Sanders' Waco team is also tough...they've got everyone back from last year's quality team but will need to get top dawg James Westbrook up there on Friday this year as the team is much weaker without him. Despite the hurdles SAP will have its chances and probably be favored against Waco. To me Grego is the key. If he can turn it up another notch without the prospect of disqualification hanging over his head (I don't believe the computer will be run at Sectionals) and Osorio takes care of business at two singles, the doubles can hold their own. NETX has a solid team, but only 11 players and 9 4.0 players. Mark Mercer and William Bratcher have major zone doubles titles to their name. Alex Tyra and Bratcher gave Foster and Inting all they could handle in Tri-Level. This team's doubles is solid. Do they have any singles strength? Sexton looks solid...Mercer beat Jeff Fidone in straight sets but that would weaken the dubs. We'll see what they put out there. Don't know much about San Angelo but they're supposed to be tough.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

4.5 Sectionals Thumbnail Sketches

Sectionals is just a coupla' weeks away, so let's have an early look at how the flights are shaping up. Nice to see some folks from other cities putting their two cents worth in. It's all in good fun and a little trash talk makes things even more interesting. Sorry..I did this hurriedly. There may be even more misspellings, errors and bad grammar than usual!!!

Flight One


Rusty Branch has again assembled a solid squad that will be favored to take their flight. He's doing it the old fashioned way this time. No "ringers", no self-rated players, no youngsters (I believe the youngest guy is 34). What he does have is a solid lineup with no holes. It was just twelve months ago when Eugene Davis was fighting for his life to put away Ricardo Martinez and secure a 4.0 win for his Springpark squad. He squeaked through and in no way did I think he'd be the top singles guy on a Branch team just a year later. That result was deceptive however: Davis had played singles in every match in the heat and was probably not at his freshest, and Martinez has proven to be a capable (though not elite) 4.5 singles player. Still, it will be a step up for Davis this year. The rest of the roster is filled with guys who've been to Sectionals a half dozen times. Brent James will be a really solid singles guy. Rusty himself can still play singles. I like Rusty, by the way...he once paid me a backhanded compliment after dismantling me two and three at Sectionals one year: "You're better than you look." I'll take any compliment I can get. Kern/Slezak, Huffman/Wescoup, Rusty, Donnie Pollard, Paul Kiron, Herget, Sumrow...they're all here and the doubles will be solid across the board.

Houston Wild

Hasker is good enough to have a spot on the roster of any team up in Dallas, and would start for almost all of them. The kid loves challenges and will get them if teams go straight up against the Deucebags....and why wouldn't they? The rest of the roster is filled with players who are unproven at this level. James Bui was amazing for the Deucebags in city playoffs, but he doesn't have what I call a "Sectionals-level" win under his belt all season. His best win is probably against Quack Bui or Simon Jim. The competition will be two notches tougher than Quack or Flad Patterson were. But Dat is talented and will have a chance to make his mark in Dallas. I watch some of the Deucebags doubles guys and I'm not wowed. All of them have some strengths, but the weaknesses seem a bit more pronounced than some of the players on the elite teams in Dallas. Guys with big games, like Trey Dugas, will have to be "on" for things to go well for this team. We saw earlier in the year when Tran and Trey beat Odion and Sumrall that it CAN happen, but it will be hard to string enough of those together to make this team a factor.


I don't know squat about these guys. The only thing I remember is that Shannon Burdett was on the Amarillo 4.5 team that went to Nationals, I believe that was back in '97 or '98. That's the team that was defaulting lines and yet still winning until they flew some people in for the semis/finals on Sunday. They've got only seven 4.5 rated players on their roster this year and I would be surprised if they do any damage at all. But every year there are unknowns who emerge...

Corpus Christi

These guys just keep coming back and back every year. They ought to just book their hotels now for 2010. Through the years they've had pretty good success, too, making it to Sunday on more than one occasion, if my memory is correct. A respected 4.5 observer told me that he's picking this team to make it to Sunday, as the wild card. I think this is based on his feeling that they may "fatten up" on Amarillo and the Deucebags, but he also told me there is a guy or two on the Corpus team that should not be underestimated. Little can be learned from the regular season in some of these cities. I think Peter Marsalek is a new player who will add a spark to this team and had some good wins against them last season, including one against the much-discussed Maingot. Marcos Villareal is back and he will help. Elizondo, Elizondo, Shandy, Cone, Whitehurst...they're all here, all another year older, but will be good enough to be favored in their matchups against Amarillo and Houston Wild.

Flight Two


Love him or hate him, it all starts with Chad Case. Just take a look at his results from 2007 when Mike Davis' crew made it to the National semis. Eleven absolute blowout wins in state until Odion took a set from him in the state finals. Then three more destructions at Nationals until he lost in the semis. Until someone takes him down he has to be considered the top 4.5 in the state, but he'll certainly have a target on his back. From what I understand he's a quicker version of Ted Pumma, with loopier groundstrokes. There appears to be a gaping hole at number two singles, at least based on their two matches with Old School, however, Lemke is a capable singles player. Rumor has it that Jones is their second best player, and he snuck in his second match against the Howitzers, so he's eligible. Rockey could play there if necessary, I imagine. If Creel doesn't make the trip the doubles will be weakened, but Schlotterback, Bowman, Seidensticker, Allen, et al are all capable doubles guys.

San Antonio

I watched some of the San Antonio team play last year at Sectionals and they were not that strong in singles, having to use Vince Giordanelli and other non-elites in key matches. They lost Louis Strawn from that team but have added Hilderbrand and Doyal among others. Doyal made the semis of a recent major zone in Open, straight setted the much discussed and DQ'd Burke Marold in another major zone, bageled Brett Sticker, etc. He will be a tough out. San Antonio seems to have the edge over everyone in the flight at line two singles. Clearly, John Trautmann will/can be used in singles as well. I don't see the doubles depth/strength on this team that seems to be present on some of the other teams. Arringdale/Miller are decent, but will be underdogs to many teams in Dallas. James Regmund did not get his two matches in.


Waco shocked some people last year (including yours truly), and may again have the chance to sneak up on some people. They may still be trying to solidify their roster (are they ever gonna' play their league?) and are reportedly trying to add some out-of-towners. That may be problematic, but time will tell. Luedtke and Rivera are still there, Mike Doty is a solid veteran. Andy Price has a doubles win earlier this year against Max Dunaev. Zane Martindale...who is he? Chris Fernandez? Another guy with no record. I haven't had time to Google these guys, but unknowns would worry me, but I'm sure Mike Miller and Mike Davis will know everything about these guys come August.


Quite a flight huh? Vernon and Mills will be a solid doubles combination, but this roster doesn't appear to have the strength of some others. I know they have a young singles guy that may surprise, and Abshire is feisty. Hunckler has been a solid performer in the past but is not having his best year. Dupelchin is decent. Anderson has Sectionals experience. But this team does not have the talent to advance out of this killer bracket.

Flight 3


They dominated locally and do have the talent to win the whole thing. My first question would be: Is David B. making the trip? Sure, they've got a ton of guys who can play singles: Omon, Odion, Ted P., even Sumrall showed he's a quality player in straight setting Steve Phan. But one extra stud can make a huge difference and can even further strengthen the doubles lineup. The depth here is ridiculous. It was less than twelve months ago when Andres Ballesteros and David Huffman were the deciding match sending their team to Nationals. Now I'm wondering if they'll even get on the court. Playing time will be at a premium. John Day has returned from injury and I would think he and Burrmann will be a partnership once again if Day is at full strength. Will they be vulnerable after the layoff...has Burrmann lost a step in the few years since I last played him? Based on what I've seen he doesn't appear to have faltered at all. Tim Green will be in the lineup, and I'd have to think that Sumrall and Tam have more than earned a spot. Lombardi is solid. Will the 3M's: Morgan, Martinez and Morton, find their way onto the court? How about Phong Regent?

Fort Worth

I have to admit I haven't looked at this team closely at all this year. Jerry Pham has been around forever and will find his way into the singles lineup at some point. Rob Hurley has been playing singles, but lost to former Houstonian Eric Bedient, who's pretty good but not "Sectionals-level". Darrell McCallum is one of the funkiest doubles guys in the state, but last year really looked like he'd lost a step and gone down a notch. Mark McHenry is a great guy and has really turned himself into a doubles player over the last 7 or 8 years. Robert Barrie will again be tough in singles...he straight setted Justin Huffman and Alejandro Sanchez last year. Cocanougher (Sr.) can still play. Are there any unknowns set to emerge from this roster? If not, I don't see this team being a big factor.

NE Texas

Chris Leach is back, for the umpteenth time. Mark Michaelson is on the team...he and partner Gary Bowles had a win against Green and Benzon earlier this year (neither of the Northeast Texans cracked a smile the entire match) but Bowles is not on the Tyler team for Sectionals. Jason Gound will capably man one singles spot. Serge Figueroa has been around forever and will find his way into the doubles lineup. Shannon Strickland and Bill Tankersley will play...but this team seems weak to me. The more I look at this bracket the more I think that the Hurricanes will be able to use a lot of the guys on their roster. (If I were captain, of course, I'd be scared shitless of all of these guys, but from the outside looking in they don't look at all fearsome).


Okay, here's where it gets fun. We've all heard about the McMurray connection. Several of the players on the Abilene team are playing at the college level. Adam Cherry has shown himself to be dangerous in recent major zones. Trance Rosenquist and Ed Leija have some good stuff on their resumes. This team is dangerous. They're only 10 men deep, including our own Smitty, but the 4.5 format does not put a premium on depth. Chris Bumann was clearly easing up, I would think, in his second match at the qualifying tournament. We'll see how good McMurray's number one is in a coupla' weeks.

I'll give my "picks" at a later date, but clearly the Austin-San Antonio match is the one to watch. Houston-Abilene could be fun, too.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Copperfield and SAP

I'll keep this short 'cuz I'm in a bad mood. Copperfield's 4.0 team was clutch, winning all three doubles lines in third set breakers, including one over a pathetic Dwyer/Lo tandem. Tomorrow will be interesting as potentially three teams could still end up at Sectionals from that division.

SAP pulled out their match...Chris Towle can provide the details, but I believe it was 3-2. Chancellor's beat Lost Forest 4-1 and is in the driver's and they're in. Sienna won their match as well, though I don't have any details...check tennis link as the scores may already be in there.

Deucebags/Kingwood match was looking tight as I left. The battle of the Buis (Dat and Quack) might decide the match. That one should be a good one.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Sorry...don't want to derail discussion of last night's matches, but we've got some good stuff coming up tomorrow.

4.0 Matches

Copperfield vs. Hurricanes

The Hurricanes are not the juggernaut I thought they might be. Powerhouse teams sweep the singles with regularity, and this team has not shown that ability against top flight competition. They faltered in both Sienna matches as well as their first playoff match. Copperfield's singles appear solid but unspectacular. If Copperfield manages to split the singles, I rate them a favorite to win. Freeman will have to get Inting into the lineup...will he make his league singles debut or will he anchor the doubles lineup?

Chancellor's vs. Lost Forest

Lost Forest should be little more than a speed bump for Chancellor's on their way to a huge match with the Hurricanes on Sunday. Danny Do has been a huge addition for the Ace Kings. Lost Forest lacks the talent to take out Chancellor's but can make a few lines interesting. Getting Ace Melchor in the lineup will help.

Bear Creek vs. Sienna

Both of these teams are still in the hunt, despite losing their first match. A win here, preferably by a sizeable margin, is a necessity. I think my understanding of the disqualification rules is sorely lacking, so perhaps someone can educate me if possible. According to tennis link Dolsberry was disqualified but his match has not been awarded to Bear Creek. Why is this? It could potentially make a huge difference when all is said and done. I'll be interested to see what lineup Sienna puts out there for this one.

SAP vs. Lakeside

This is the headliner, with the winner holding a huge edge for a Sectionals berth. Grego was impressive for SAP last Thursday. Will Castellano or Urbina move into Dolsberry's singles slot?
I expect Towle/Urban and Kray/Sontag will again be out there for SAP. Will Osorio grind out a win in the heat? We'll see if the Dolsberry DQ makes the difference...this one should be close.

4.5 Matches

Kingwood vs. Deucebags

A big match for Alain's team, and somewhat meaningless for Kingwood. You might see Chantz or Hai or Phi in the singles lineup here. All are capable playes who might want to get some playoff action in the singles. In theory, Kingwood is still in the hunt, and could potentially benefit from the Hurricanes having clinched by the time they meet them at the end of the weekend. Still, I expect Kingwood will work some folks into the lineup here. The Deucebags doubles were not impressive last night and wll need to be better if they expect to advance.

Ssshhhwings vs. Black Sheep

A big match for the Black Sheep. Captain Ristau has been unpredictable with his lineups, and has made some effective moves. Alzate has shown that Tommy doesn't need to put his two "big guns" in singles. Patterson continues to be solid for Rothe, though he hasn't beaten any heavyweights. Carpenter vs. Bradley would be a headliner. As a total aside...what happened to Justin Benoit this year?

Hurricanes vs. Copperfield

Freeman/Benzon's crew has a lot of leeway in this one. Robins/Letan will provide a nice match for somebody, but I would expect some people to get worked into the Hurricane lineup in this one. Might we see some "score managing"? With mid-year ratings out, NTRP's are on everyone's mind right now. I'll be the first to admit I'd avoid dealing a blowout if I were ever in position to deal one...but with my strokes a blowout win is never a possibility.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Early Action

I stopped by just for the beginning of the evening. League legends were abound: Jimmy Kilshaw, Allen Teague, Red Benzon, Phong Regent, Cheryl and Diana and so many others who have been mainstays of league tennis for years.

The singles matchups:

Hasker v. Omon
Pumma v. Daniel Morales
Carpenter v. Holmes
Patterson v. Lubrano
Hansen v. Q. Bui
Rios v. Alzate

Doubles Matchup (line 1 at 7)

Phan/Phan v. Ristau/Dimitrijevic
Odion/Burrmann v. Dugas/Dugas
Robins/Letan v. Rothe/Giordanelli

Omon and Hasker were on serve when I left, as was the Phan/Phan doubles match. Didn't get any other scores.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mid Year Ratings are out....

Mid year ratings are out.

Have fun with them.

Sorry for being so short, first post from phone.

Friday, July 10, 2009

No Secrets

I like the 4.5 playoffs this year. They're least while every team is still in the hunt.

This Thursday the 4.5's will be the only male division playing, and the matchups will all be familiar ones as division rivals will be squaring off in the playoffs.

Kingwood Crush vs. Westside Black Sheep

Kingwood swept the season series 2-0, both by a 3-2 count. Kingwood absolutely dominated in the doubles, taking five out of the six lines, while the Black Sheep took 3 out of 4 singles. Lacy and Phan split their two matchups and Bradley crushed Rios and squeaked past Quack Bui. Both teams have their backs to the walls after losing their first match in citywides. It's do or die time. It was nice to see Minh Phan playing on Thursday...he helps Kingwood's chances.

Copperfield Lobsters vs. MPTC - Ssshhhwings

Copperfield didn't use Holmes in the first matchup, but swept Ssshhhwings' vaunted doubles teams to earn the victory without a singles win. Lindloff surprised Bergmann in that matchup. In the season finale Bergmann retired to Lindloff, which may(?) explain his absence from the lineup the other night. Neil Carpenter dealt Sam Holmes his only loss in that one and Ssshhhwings' doubles rebounded well, albeit against a weaker Copperfield lineup. ***Edit*** Ssshhhwings are 1-0, while Copperfield is 0-1 in the playoffs

LLTC - Hurricanes 4.5 vs. MPTC - Deucebags

These teams should know each other backward and forward by now. This will be their fourth meeting of the year. The series was extremely competitive. The 'Canes won two of three, but only won 8 lines to the Deucebags 7. If, as I expect, the Hurricanes roll through the playoffs, then every line taken from them along the way can become crucial. Aadrian Hasker has the game to beat anyone in 4.5, but there are probably 4 Hurricanes (Dibua, Dibua, Pumma, David B.) who have the capability to beat him on a given day. Bui will be an underdog to any of those four or even to Green if he sneaks into the singles lineup. Anyone who can guess at Alain's doubles lineup is a better man than I am. I admit that I thought he made a mistake sitting out Jannuzzi last week, but Tran knows his team best and his team came through with two doubles wins to keep them among the favorites for that #2 spot.

P.S. I sent out an invite to Betsie to report on goings-on in the women's divisions. I know there is some interest out there and I'd love if she, or someone else, would take me up on my offer to report on Citywide/Sectionals in the women's divisions.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

LLTC Impressions

The Hurricane 4.5 team won easily. Odion, to be honest, looked a bit off to me. It's a credit to him that he was able to win without playing his best. Ted Pumma destroyed Sean Lacy, as I suspected he would. I think he was fired up with all the talk of him being weak against serve and volleyers.

Possibly the most surprising thing was seeing Ted Bradley playing doubles. I'm not sure the strategy was sound, in effect "diluting" his talent with Chad Shaw. That's not a knock on Shaw, but I think Bradley alone gives you a better chance of taking a line. I guess the strategy was to hope for Lacy and Alzate to sweep the singles and Bradley to take a doubles line????? Anyway, the Black Sheep lost 5-0 and now have a lot of ground to make up if they want that second slot. They're an extreme longshot at this point.

I haven't been on the phone this evening so I've not heard results from elsewhere. The Hurricane 4.0 team was very unimpressive tonight, struggling mightily in their 4-1 win over Lost Forest. A performance like that will not get it done in either of their next two matches.

SAP won 3-2 over much-discussed Sienna. For me, the match of the night out there was a "meaningless" one, which could end up being meaningful if things break a certain way. Fifty-something Doug Whitehead fought off cramps in a match that lasted almost two and a half hours and beat tournament stalwart Roger Osorio in a third set breaker. Osorio is younger and looks fit, but also cramped on the last point, having to go to his left hand on the last shot of the match due to hand cramps. Just wait 'til the heat of the weekend daytime matches, boys....

In other news, I've heard that the Lakeside 4.0 team won 4-1 in a close match, and that Chancellor's pulled out some third set breakers in winning 3-2 over Copperfield. I haven't talked to anyone in the other 4.5 matches...hope someone will fill us in.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Citywide Championships - Week One

I thought I'd take a look at the first week's matchups. Captains have some interesting decisions to make. Those who have their weakest opponent first must decide whether they can risk "working some people in" despite the risk. The round robin nature of the 4.5 playoff will allow for more leeway.

I have talked earlier about all captains playing 'til the end, no matter what the standings say. I'd also like to add that I would hope we don't see any collusion, whereby a team with things wrapped up lays down for a buddy or loads up on a buddy's rival. I just wanna' see the two best teams make it to Dallas.

4.0 Matchups

Lakeside at Bear Creek - A great matchup right out of the gate. Lakeside has some quality veteran doubles guys and a couple of new singles guys. As usual, veteran captains will unleash their surprises during the postseason. Won't be surprised if Spoor has a few tricks up his sleeve. Bear Creek has waltzed through the regular season but I admit I'm not a true believer. They'll win me over if they take this one, but I'm expecting a surprising (to some) home loss.

Sienna at SAP - SAP has some quality players: Grego, Sontag, Kray, Osorio and Towle just to name a few. Sienna has received a ton of attention for a second place team, but their showing in the playoffs last year proved they're not to be taken lightly. I wonder about their singles, however. I'm not sure it's top notch. This one's too tough to call, but I'll lean slightly to Sienna based on past history.

Copperfield at Chancellor's - Chancellor's hasn't gotten much "pub" this year despite coming off a sectionals trip. The team squeaked through the playoffs last year, but has lost Dutchover, Hao Nguyen and Henagan from that team. Do the additions of De la Torre, Do, Melancon and Ruiz make up for it? I think they're slightly weaker this season and the competition is tougher. Copperfield is a real sleeper. They've got a bunch of guys who've got good resumes, some at higher levels or in tournaments or age groups. Are the fast indoor courts a big advantage for Chancellor's? I'll be curious to see if Lance Loken adjusts his lineup as a result. I'm going against my gut and picking Chancellor's to squeak one out.

Lost Forest at Hurricanes - I'm sure you've heard the term "bulletin board material". Gulp. My objective opinion is that Lost Forest may be on the lower level of 4.0 playoff teams. Captain Freeman has been playing a lot of games with the Hurricane roster, and I doubt we'll see the real deal in this one, though certainly it will be a quality lineup. Ace Melchor has a win over John Grego this season but I can't see the Hackers putting a dent in the Hurricane singles lineup unless the 'Canes use their second tier players. Hurricanes win easily.

4.5 Matchups

Deucebags at Copperfield - Hasker vs. Holmes in the battle of skinny young lefties. Bergmann v. Bui. Edge in both matchups to the D-bags. We may have some guesswork going on here. Do you swap the singles if you're Salinas? Do you swap yours expecting a swap if you're Tran? Not sure how a Bui/Holmes matchup would end up, but Copperfield NEEDS to split the singles if at all possible. Tran has been a bit scattered with his doubles lineups this year...I don't have a clue what he'll throw out there on Thursday, but I would think he can take at least one line. Robins and Letan will be tough to beat though. I'm picking the D-bags 3-2.

Black Sheep at Hurricanes - The singles matches should be barnburners. But where does the doubles line come from for Black Sheep? Can Hansen and someone squeak out a line 3 win? Alzate and someone? If I'm on the bench on Thursday I'll be checking out these singles matches for sure. Loved watching Lacy attack relentlessly last year in his playoff singles match. His matches are entertaining. Still haven't seen Bradley but a knowledgable guy told me I should have had him ranked ahead of Phoummarath. We may find out on Thursday. 'Canes 4-1.

Ssshhhwings at Crush - The schedule is set up for the Crush and Hurricanes to be the grand finale, but there are many obstacles in the way. I could see Carpenter taking a singles win for Rothe's team, but don't see them sweeping. One at the most. Crush's doubles are solid, but Shwings will not be pushovers by any means. I see the doubles being tight, but Kingwood coming out with a 3-2 victory.

Let your opinion be heard. Talk some trash, and then back it up.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A look at Citywides in 4.5

Well, it looks as though the Deucebags have effectively closed the book on the 4.5 regular season and we can begin to look at the playoffs, which begin in just a week. Here are the six teams and a quick look at what I feel might be a plausible lineup for them in the playoffs. Bear in mind that I have absolutely no clue about the best lineup on my own team, so these are obviously sheer speculation.


The prohibitive favorites. Nobody else in the playoff has the firepower to stay with them, although obviously "on any given Sunday..." They will have the luxury of using some of their great depth if they jump out to a good start in their first couple of matches.

Singles: Omon, Odion

Doubles: David B/Green, Burrmann/Lombardi?, Sumrall/Tam

This leaves out Phoummarath, who obviously would be moved in if one of the Dibuas slides into doubles, perhaps in place of Lombardi? I don't think the 'Canes will need to worry about their best lineup until Dallas, however.


They're solid in the singles, but will have to be totally on their game to take two doubles lines against these playoff teams.

Singles: Hasker, D.Bui

Doubles: Tran/Jannuzzi, Dugas/Dugas, Diep/M. Morales

Again, I'm just taking a stab at most of this stuff.


They're loaded with playoff veterans and should not be underestimated. (These teams are in no particular order, btw) How will Phan fare (no pun) in the heat? Which Quack Bui will show up? Can Minh/Chantz shake their postseason blues?

Singles: Phan, Bui

Doubles: Vu/Huynh, Minh/Chantz, M. Phan/Pekar?

Santiago, Kilshaw and Rios may work their way in there as well

West Side Black Sheep

They've become a fixture in the playoffs and have given some teams a scare or two, but have yet to have a breakthrough win. Will this be the year? Do they have any singles depth beyond Bradley and Lacy if necessary?

Singles: Bradley, Lacy

Doubles: Hansen/Dimitrijevic, Alzate, Ristau, Teague/Shaw

Bear in mind that this same doubles lineup was basically non-competitive in their last matchup with Kingwood. They may not have the doubles firepower to compete.


The feel-good story of the year, surprising me by doing so well without Kudrick. They had some playoff jitters last year and really SHOULD have come in second. We'll see if they get over the hump this time around.

Singles: Holmes, Bergmann

Doubles: Robins/Letan, Mazaltov/Lubrano, Thrower/Rawls

I have no idea how good Mazaltov is, but this lineup looks like it'll have its work cut out for it. Can't see them sweeping the singles against anyone's top two. Begmann has been average at best this year.


Peter Rothe somehow seems to be a "love him or hate him" type of guy. I'm in the first category, he was always fun to deal with when I was with the Mob Squad. He's been chasing after that Sectionals berth for years, and this year it really appears to be wide open. He'll need some iron-man performances out of Neil Carpenter. Not sure how much juice he still has in the tank, but Ssshhhwing will need every ounce of it.

Singles: Carpenter, Ramirez

Doubles: Rothe/Judson, Lindloff/Kim, Hall/Weinholtz

Unlike some other teams, this one has a lot of interchangeable parts. I won't be surprised if their lineup changes each time. Lindloff and Patterson have both been effective this year in singles as well, and may shoulder some of that load, though they'll be underdogs against most of the first line singles guys in city playoffs.

At this point I still don't have a pick for second place. Hard to go against Kingwood's experience though.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wild Cards

Per Diana/HTA website: The Wild Cards for Sectionals have been determined. In the Men's Leagues, Houston received a Wild Card only in the 4.0 division. Houston's ladies received wild cards in 3.5 and 4.0.

Of course, there are occasions where teams drop out of Sectionals or where leagues don't "make", etc., in which case some slots may open up. (Anyone remember the Mob Squad fiasco from last year????)

However, at this time it puts even more of a premium on each and every match during city playoffs. In the 4.5 division, unfortunately, we will see some teams basically eliminated after their first two matches. I'm sure the captains and players will be classy enough to continue to play hard even if they're "out of it".

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Well, we've reached the end of the regular season. With very little rain this year, many teams have already completed their schedules. There are still a few matches remaining with playoff implications.

The Smokers and Chancellor's 4.0 match to be played this week will presumably decide the second playoff spot in their division.

SAP and Lost Forest have a matchup that will decide who is the winner of their division (SAP beat the Rolido Boys in their recent makeup match, with John Grego showing the form everyone expected when trouncing Robert Kane). What I didn't realize is that the first week of playoffs this year (the July 9th matches) will be held at home sites and not all at LLTC. There's been some discussion about allowing the higher "seeded" team to somehow get the home court advantage (though that "advantage" does include incurring court costs and providing balls), but I'm not sure if there's any way that will/can be implemented.

Lastly, the much anticipated Ahmed-Morales final set is to be played before the Hurricanes and Deucebags battle for a third and perhaps final time. I believe Miguel and Sarosh may finish right before the scheduled match on Thursday.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

All or Nothin'

There's potentially a huge match in 4.0 this week as the Smokers take on Chancellor's. The Smokers have not reported their score from last week, but if they won 5-0, then this week's match gives them a chance to unseat Chancellor's from their playoff perch. The Smokers would be 33-7 while Chancellor's is 35-5. A 4-1 win from the Smokers would give Chancellor's 9 losses. Lakeside has 7 individual losses and figures to romp this week against Pecan Grove. Chancellor's will have to bring out its top lineup this week to ensure their playoff spot.

Last I heard, Sarosh and Miguel were planning on finishing their match tonight, but those plans were not firm. Someone update us, please, if that is the case. I would expect the Deucebags will be out in full force supporting their teammate. They're a tight group.

In 4.5 Ssshhhwing meets Copperfield's Lobsters. If, as expected, the playoffs are round robin, this match will have little meaning other than bragging rights. No Way Out plays Kingwood and would have to stomp them and hope Lakeside Estates takes some lines from the Black Sheep. Not likely.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I'm Bored.

I was just thinking about the 4.5 playoffs and the fact that there really are a lot of quality singles players. How would you rank the singles players (my guesstimate as to who they are) on the seven potential playoff teams?

Omon Dibua
Ted Pumma
Aadrian Hasker
Dat Bui
Antoine Ford
Sean Straley (maybe he'll play singles in citywides???)
Quack Bui
Steve Phan
Ted Bradley
Sean Lacy
Alex Bergmann
Sam Holmes
Neil Carpenter
Flad Patterson

I'll give it some thought and post my opinion later.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Early Updates.

It sure was boring out at LLTC tonight. The most interesting match out there may have been the practice match being played by Hiep Chung, who will probably make it to Sectionals on the Austin 5.0 team.

The Sugar Creek-Hurricane match was a dud. Sean Straley again missed the Hurricanes match, instead playing 5.0. I didn't hang around 'til the end but I believe the 'Canes swept. The only decent matchup was between Omon and Antoine Ford, which went to Omon in a third set breaker. Matt Sumrall and Soong Hay Tam were almost flawless in their doubles matchup. I think the Hurricanes may have another tough doubles team that they can count on come playoff time. It was nice to see the Aggies dominating on the tennis court. If only the football team were as talented. :)

The Hurricane 4.0 team had a yawner as well, and SAP also looked to be in control of their matchup.

As of right now the Deucebags are ahead 3-0 with the other two matches looking pretty tight. Aadrian Hasker won a tight two setter over Juan Trevino.

The Lakeside 4.0 team breezed to a 5-0 win, putting the pressure on its two rivals. It appears now that they will make city playoffs and the Smokers/Chancellor's battle will decide the other spot.

My last report was that NWO was trailing in its matchup with the Hurricane junior varsity. I heard that Roberto Narajos had easily handled Corbin Cooke and that singles specialists Eddie Janek and Ismael Dutchover had pulled out line three doubles in the third set.

Edit: Hurricanes JV ended up winning 4-1 and Kingwood beat the Black Sheep 3-2. I believe Bradley and Lacy swept the singles, beating Quack Bui and Steve Phan, respectively. If that's true, it's Steve's first ever singles loss in 4.5.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Nearing the Finish Line

Most of the playoff races have been decided, but there are a few important matches as the season enters its penultimate week.

In 5.0, the Met team is fighting for second place and faces a Copperfield team coming off a surprising loss while Willowfork has a virtual walkover in the Upsetters, who will try to live up to their name.

In 4.5, Alain Tran's Deucebags will need a blowout against Sienna. He'll need a stronger lineup than the one he had the last time he visited the Top Spinners. Meanwhile, Ken Douds' Sugar Creek team will be trying to take as many lines as possible against the Hurricanes in case Miguel Morales does end up beating Sarosh Ahmed.

Kingwood plays the Black Sheep this week. Again, every line or every set may end up being very important. No Way out faces the Hurricane B team.

Copperfield's 4.5 team has a gimme this week and Ssshhhwings are off.

It looks like the 4.5 playoffs are probably going to be round robin. Hopefully all of the captains will be honorable and continue playing hard even if mathematically eliminated. I think they will.

In 4.0, Lost Forest plays the Rolido Boys, who still have a mathematical chance of making the playoffs and will be eliminated with a loss.

Sienna has added another player, Thi Huu Bui, for this week's "big" match against the Acers. I'll be surprised if the Acers make the trip down there, to be honest.

Chancellor's, Lakeside and the Smokers all have fairly easy matches this week, and all shold be looking to sweep. If they do, the Chancellor's will have to avoid a loss of 4-1 or 5-0 next week against the Smokers or they could be on the outside looking in after being comfortably atop the division all year.

Bear Creek and the Copperheads both complete their season tonight with things wrapped up.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sugar Creek

Another exciting match between Sugar Creek and the Deucebags. I didn't see the opening two lines, as I was playing at the time. Aadrian Hasker played another tough match, beating Antoine Ford 10-8 in the third set breaker. I'm not exactly sure who won the early doubles match for Sugar Creek...I think it may have been Nick Hiemstra and Ken Douds, but don't quote me on that.

Simon Jim and Dat Bui also went to a third set breaker. There was some confusion over the score, some serving on the wrong side, but when all was said and done Bui pulled it out 11-9. Sugar Creek needed to sweep the last two doubles lines. Sean Straley and Tim Marco took down Alain Tran and Rick Boehck four and three, and it all came down to Jason Cooney and Luis Fernandez against Andy Diep and Derrick Dugas. Sugar Creek won the first set in a breaker and then closed out the final set before the lights were turned off.

I haven't done the math, but Captain Douds told me that if Miguel beats Sarosh it will probably come down to which team performs best against the Hurricanes. It seems like there's a big match for these teams every week, but they will truly need their top lineups against the Hurricanes.

In other matches, the Black Sheep destroyed the Hurricanes JV team 5-0. I believe the SAP 4.0 team won as well. The Hurricane 4.0 team rolled and Lakeside 4.0 swept. The Hurricane 4.5 team beat Sienna 4-1 with Trevino taking line 2 singles for Sienna. Also, the 5.0 Hurricane team lost its first match, against Willowfork, led by Nick Frank.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Not Much Goin' On.

As has been mentioned, the big 4.5 match this week is between the Deucebags and Sugar Creek. There have been a lot of twists and turns in their division, but it appears that this COULD decide a playoff berth.

In 4.0, Lakeside looks to crush the Spin Doctors to keep an edge in their three way battle. That division figures to get even more interesting as the season comes to a close.

In news across the state, it appears that Dallas 4.0 player Andre Vahdat and Corpus Christi 4.5 player Burke Marold have been DQ'd (based on the fact that their ratings have gone up when you click on their names in Tennis Link). No matches have been reversed at this time.

Marold is also playing on the Mason Creek 9.0 mixed team.

Friday, June 5, 2009

"And DOWN the stretch they come!" --- Dave Johnson

The playoff picture is starting to come into sharp focus.  Let's take a look at the interesting races for playoff spots.  

In 5.0, it's all over but the shouting.  There are occasionally wild cards available in 5.0, in which case it's still a three horse race with the Met, Black Sheep and Willowfork all in contention.  The edge may go to the Black Sheep, who have no more matches with Copperfield.  

In 4.5 Division I it's pretty clear that Copperfield and Ssshhhwings are both going to the playoffs. Copperfield is a great story...they've managed to overcome the loss of John Kudrick without skipping a beat.   The addition of Samuel Holmes (seen here in his youtube video) makes them a very interesting.  (This blog is not about social commentary, but I think it's great that league tennis has become SO much more diverse than when I first started playing).  Shwing still needs to get Neil Carpenter qualified.   I've not seen Holmes play, but if I had to make a list of the "elite" singles players in the Houston 4.5 league, I'd say: Dibua, Dibua, Phoummarath, Phan, Carpenter, Holmes, Bradley, Trevino, Straley, Hasker).  Playoff teams lacking a singles player of that caliber will not have a prayer.   

In 4.5 Division II, Kingwood has a leg up on both Westside teams, but doesn't have things clinched, as they play NWO and the Black Sheep in the last two weeks of the season.   If we assume the Black Sheep sweep Lakeside Estates in the final week (other than Orozco their roster is very weak), then the two Westside teams will be tied at 4-2 with 20 individual wins and 10 losses and both will have a match against Hurricanes 2 and Kingwood. Whichever team performs best in those matchups will make the playoffs.   Any "throwaway" lines may come back to haunt either of these teams.

In 4.5 Division III Sienna has made things interesting, and they're actually mathematically still alive for a spot in citywides, but with two matches remaining against the Hurricanes their chances are slim and none.  So, it'll come down to the Deucebags and Sugar Creek if Miguel Morales can pull out that third set breaker.  If he loses, the Deucebags chances may just evaporate.  

In 4.0 Division I, it's Bear Creek and Copperfield.  Willowfork still could tie in wins and losses, but is too many lines behind to realistically have a shot.

4.0 Division II is the most interesting Division to me.  Despite its undefeated record, Chancellor's is not assured of a spot.  They dropped two lines last night.  If the Smokers swept, then Chancellor's will have dropped 5 lines on the season, Smokers 6 and Lakeside 7.  Chancellor's has the toughest schedule down the stretch, playing the Spin Doctors and Smokers.  A loss to the Smokers gives all three teams a shot. 

4.0 Division III has the Hurricanes somewhat comfortably on top, but still in slight danger as they play JCC in the season's final week.  Right now Sienna and JCC are tied in wins, losses and individual lines won.  Sienna could be in the interesting position of NEEDING a Hurricane victory in the final week to even make the playoffs.  

4.0 Division IV has SAP and Lost Forest with berths sewn up.  The only drama will be which team wins the division.  SAP with the edge right now, but the teams meet again in the season's final week.  

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Early results

The Deucebags-Hurricanes 4.5 match is still being played but Aadrian Hasker squeaked out a win in his rematch with Ted Phoummarath 10-8 in the third set breaker.  The Dibuas had won their line one doubles match against Dugas/Jannuzzi.  

A good matchup on another court as Ryan Cooper was taking on Samuel Holmes in the Copperfield/Jedi Knights battle. 

SAP won its big match with Lost Forest 3-2 as Chris Towle and Eric Urban won the decisive line in a third set breaker.   The Hurricanes 4.0 team won an easy one over the Acers.  

No word yet on the big battles between the West Side 4.5 teams or the JCC=Sienna 4.0 matchup.  

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New Rule

I like this.  There has been some shadiness in the past, including at Nationals, which may have been the impetus behind this.  I certainly hope that the rule is in place at Sectionals, where it's easier to pass someone off as someone else.  

Hey Team Captains,

Please note:

Effective Immediately, June 3, 2009: Team captains may request a picture identification (drivers license) to verify opposing players identification.  The league committee may take any action they deem necessary for failure to provide this information upon request by the opposing team captain.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Across the State

Austin Wild won the big battle with Old School for 4.5 supremacy in Austin, 3-2.  The decisive match between Juan DeKruyff and Chad Case was 6-7, 7-6, 10-7 to Case.  

San Antonio had its 4.0 playoffs this weekend.  Michael Spadoni's team featuring James Murray and crafty veteran Armando Abney prevailed after finishing the season undefeated.  Second place team Smash was upset in the semis, perhaps costing itself a berth at Sectionals.  

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Remi Osho

Unfortunately the traffic on this blog is at its lowest on Sundays but I hope people will get a chance to see this.  Rest in Peace, Remi.

To all tennis players,

Remi Osho has passed. His family and friends are having a memorial/fundraiser for him this evening at Woodlake tennis center at 7pm. Address is 2200 Tanglewilde. Thanks to all for your thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I just completed my 300 mile drive home from the remote outpost of Sienna Plantation and figured I'd share the results with y'all.  

In 4.5, the Deucebags had an interesting lineup.  Aadrian Hasker, James Bui and Miguel Morales were all missing for various reasons, (Hasker had a commitment to a friend and I was told that Bui and Morales didn't want to make the long drive, but that may not be true) but Alain Tran and Derrick Dugas were both there to cheer their teammates on.  Captain Tran decided to leave himself and Dugas out of the lineup.  

Without Hasker, the Deucebags were shorthanded in singles and Sienna took advantage, as Juan Trevino and Andre Costilla both won.  The Deucebags took the first two doubles lines and the match came down to Ward Jannuzzi and Ed Mouton against Ian Bird and Justin Smith.  Last year I played some 4.0 and 4.5...Bird kicked my ass in a 4.0 match and he was every bit as impressive as any of the 4.5 players I played.  Tonight he and Smitty came up big, winning the clincher for Sienna.  

Sugar Creek will benefit from the Deucebags loss, but also lost themselves tonight by a 4-1 count to the 4.5 Hurricanes.  Omon Dibua trounced Simon Jim and Odion squeaked past Antoine Ford in a third set breaker.  Phong Regent saw his first action for the Hurricanes and came through with a W.  

In 4.0 out at Sienna, the Hurricanes squeaked out a 3-2 win.  I'll be honest, I was expecting a more lopsided score.  The Hurricanes played many of their new players, but all of them were in dogfights with the tough Sienna players.  

Daniel Durand is not an impressive looking player.  I'm sure most spectators were thinking "I'd kill that guy", as he continually floated balls back at his opponent and hit first serves that may not have broken the speed limit.  But the guy is good at what he does, and has frustrated many an opponent.  He came through with another 3 set victory tonight over Hank Kravec.

Greg Dwyer pulled out a tough win at line 2 singles for the 'Canes over Doug Whitehead, a class act whose son will be attending UT next season on a tennis scholarship.  Bruce Inting continued his remarkable run...he's now 20-1 this year in all of his league matches (HTA, USTA, mixed, tri-level, etc.)  after having a similar record last season.  He teamed with rookie Tu Tran to pull out an 11-9 win in the third set breaker.  

Ronnie Kwan and Ed Metoyer pulled out a big win over Scott Foster and Sebastien Chambert, both of whom have had success at the 4.5 level this season.  Kwan and Metoyer played solid tennis and really frustrated their opponents with some well-placed lobs, winning in straight sets.
So, the two matches between the Hurricanes and Sienna 4.0 teams both went 3-2 and could have gone either way.   The division winner will probably come down to lines or even sets won.  

As noted, some other results are trickling in....Bear Creek pulled out a win in their showdown and NWO continued to roll.  Kingwood Crush also had an easy victory over the Hurricanes 2 team. Also, Lakeside won their battle with the Smokers 3-2, making it a three horse race in 4.0's most competitive division.

Monday, May 25, 2009

4.0 Takes Center Stage

It's already been touched upon in the previous thread, but there are at least 3 big matches in 4.0 this week.  

For my money, the Lakeside-Smokers battle is the biggest.  Many people "in the know" feel that Lakeside has the most dangerous team in the division, but has had its back against the wall since its week one loss to Chancellor's.  A Smokers win will make it almost a foregone conclusion that Chancellor's and the Smokers will be the division's city playoff representatives.  A win by Lakeside makes it a three horse race.

Sienna and the Hurricanes have their second battle of 2009 after round one went down to the wire. I expect that both teams will have radically different lineups this time.  The loser will still have a big leg up on JCC for the second playoff slot.  Look for the Hurricanes to exact some revenge in this one.  

Bear Creek and Copperfield both put their spotless records on the line in a match that is mainly for bragging rights.  With the way the playoffs have been set up in recent years, there really is no advantage to winning your regular season flight.  Both of these teams have fallen somewhat under the radar and will have a chance to earn some much-needed respect this week.  

There have been a few lineup additions to some 4.5 rosters again in recent weeks that I failed to mention.   Sam Holmes and league veteran Chris Lubrano (who introduced me to USTA league way back in 1997) have joined the Copperfield roster and the 4.5 Hurricanes have added former SuperChamp and Aggie Soong Hay Tam.  Holmes crushed Jochen Moser in his 2009 debut and will be a nice addition for the Lobsters.  

The Hurricane 4.5 team faces Sugar Creek this week...hopefully Sean Straley will be available for this one.  The Deucebags travel to Sienna in the other match in that Division.  Not too much else of interest in 4.5 this week. 

5.0 is a runaway at this point.  The battle is for second.  Willowfork has a chance to get in the conversation if they can beat Westside this week.  

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Any Scores Rolling in yet?

Any early results from tonight?

I hope the Kingwood v. Westside (what was their name again?) smack talking was settled on the court.

I saw the that 4.5 Hurricane team was done quickly tonight and shared some remarks about having to play the weakest team in their division.

What else happened?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Last week

I forgot to mention something about last week's matches. Yes, he's out of practice. Yes, he's not in the shape he once was. But he's still dangerous. Steve Phan ran his career 4.5 singles record to 18-0 last week. In fact, it was the first time he's ever dropped a set.

He's got some work to do, but if his being in the lineup is an indication that he's "getting back into it", things could get interesting come playoff time in 4.5.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Week Five

The schedule, like the weather, is starting to heat up.  We've been lucky this year with no rain on Thursday nights...let's hope that continues.  

There are a few good matchups in 4.5 this week.  There has already been a lot of discussion about the Kingwood Crush matchup with Westside's No Way Out.  Maybe I'm biased, as there are six former teammates/friends on the Kingwood team, but I'd be shocked if No Way Out pulled off the upset here.  

Every week brings an intriguing matchup in 4.5 Division III.  The Deucebags will be taking on a much stronger Sugar Creek team that has its back to the wall.   Sugar Creek will be at home and should be able to get Straley, Jim and Herr in the lineup.  Look for this one to come down to the wire.  We'll see if Alain Tran stands pat or adds some talent to contend with the very tough division competition. 

The top two teams in Division I also face off as Ssshhhwings take on Copperfield.  The Shwings haven't been tested yet, and quite frankly won't get the kind of battles in Division I that some of the other teams will see during the regular season.  

In 4.0, division leader SAP will be taking on a 2-2 (I believe they lost last week) Rolido Boys team whose season is in jeopardy.  An SAP win all but assures SAP and Lost Forest trips to Citywides.

Two of the five quality teams in Division II square off as the Smokers take on a Phoenix team that experienced their first loss last week.   The Phoenix can make things interesting with an upset here.  

Finally, the Hurricanes 4.0 team has been somewhat of a disappointment thus far, and has a tough matchup with a veteran JCC squad.   Is it possible that Freeman's bunch will be on the outside looking in come playoff time? 

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I've been too busy watching the gutty Rockets  to get much of an update about tonight's matches. 

I did hear that Kingwood won 3-2 in the big battle with the Black Sheep.  I believe Don Rios and Raymond Santiago/Bao Vo Dinh surrendured the two lines for the Crush.  The other Westside team won 4-1 and is in the hunt for that second playoff spot.  

Lakeside beat the Phoenix 4-1 and kept their season alive, silencing the naysayers.  Roscoe Trujillo is an impressive player for the Phoenix and won his singles match comfortably over Omel Ruiz.  

In 5.0 Copperfield dominated the Met and all but officially wrapped things up.  Jason Pieters handled Amit Garg pretty easily.  

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


The NCAA tennis championships are being held at Texas A&M, starting Thursday.  The women and men's championships are now held at the same site.  Both the Aggies and Longhorns will be competing. 

For those interested in attending or following the action, the Texas College Tennis Blog does a great job of covering college tennis.  

In other non-league related news, the Austin Tennis Academy has been named the third USTA regional training center.

Monday, May 11, 2009

This week's slate

It's been a slow couple of weeks, but hopefully the matchups this week will be a bit more intriguing.  

Discussion has already begun on the Sienna/Hurricanes 4.5 matchup. (Oops...Should have checked that...Sienna plays Sugar Creek)  Still wanna' see Costilla versus Straley or Jim... 

The Black Sheep are smarting from last week's shocker, but still appear to be in no jeopardy of missing the playoffs in their two-tiered division.  I'm sure they will bring all of their big guns this week and Kingwood will get their first test.  I'm curious to see how Kingwood will line up...still no Juan Lopez or Minh Phan (nursing a wrist injury) on the roster.  I hope Steve Phan gets out there...he's too talented a player to be sitting on the sidelines but I'm sure he's pretty rusty.  

Intriguing matchup in 4.0 as the West Side Phoenix, unmentioned in this space yet sporting a perfect record thus far, take on the grizzled Lakeside team.  Omel Ruiz has an accurate and dangerous forehand but a vulnerable backhand...will the Phoenix singles player be able to exploit him?   It's do or die for Lakeside this week...with 5 solid teams in that division two losses early would be almost fatal. 

Also, the Rolido boys have their backs to the wall and take on undefeated Lost Forest Hackers. With a solid SAP team also in their division, this one is crucial for the Rolido Boys. 

In 5.0 the prohibitive favorites, the Hurricanes, have a bit of a test, taking on the 2-1 Met team captained by David Toney.  Expect to see Amit Garg or Arun Nanjappa at singles for the Met, who appear to be outmanned at every line.   

Plenty of other ok matchups this week....Discuss.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Quick Update

The Hurricane 4.5 team took down Sugar Creek 4-1 tonight.  Odion Dibua beat Simon Jim in a tight and at times contentious match.  Ted Pumma waltzed past Samir Chiali.  David Herr made his league debut a successful one, teaming with Nick Hiemstra to take down solid veterans Burrmann and Day in three sets.  Omon Dibua and Ricardo Martinez took out Jason Cooney and new self-rate Luis Hernandez and David Lombardi and Wayne Morgan won their line very quickly and easily.

Ken Douds is doing everything in his power to improve his roster, and has made some really nice additions.  Assuming that neither team takes down the Hurricanes or stumbles against Sienna, Sugar Creek will have to sweep their remaining two matches against the Deucebags to make the City playoffs.  

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sugar Creek v. Hurricanes

Sugar Creek travels to the 4.5 Hurricanes in this Thursday's most intriguing match.  It's a short drive up 59 for Ken Douds' crew, and hopefully he will get all of his stars to make the trip.  With Straley, Herr, Jim, Chiali, Cooney and some of the other veterans, he can field an imposing lineup. Finding the right combination will be a challenge.  I'm sure the Hurricanes will have most of their big guns there.  A loss to Sugar Creek will make things interesting...I wonder if the Deucebags are rooting for Freeman/Benzon's boys or so they still have their sights set on winning the division?

It's early, but my impression is that the other "teams to watch" (besides the three already mentioned) in 4.5 are the Crush, Black Sheep, and Ssshhhwings, with perhaps Copperfield and Jedi Knights also in the playoff mix.  None of those teams have particularly difficult matchups this week.

Likewise, in 4.0, the teams I have on my radar so far are Sienna, the Hurricanes, SAP, Rolido Boys, Chancellor's, the Smokers, Lakeside, Copperheads and Bear Creek.  Certainly other teams may emerge as the season progresses, but on paper all of these teams should breeze through this week as well.  

I'm curious to see how some of the newer roster additions play out this week.  David Herr has been mentioned.  Sienna's 4.5 team added a 19 yr. old superchamp in Andre Costilla.  I'm sure we will see more talent being added to some of the heavyweights as the season progresses.  

Friday, May 1, 2009

Not much news

I was playing out at Memorial Park last night and it was definitely pretty dead out there compared to your typical Thursday night.  

There were only two matches last night which interested me.  The Deucebags were again at the center of things.  Coming into the week, it looked to be a cakewalk for Alain Tran's bunch, but veteran captain Ken Douds had some tricks up his sleeve and had four last minute roster additions to make his team formidable.  It was a nice move, perhaps designed to catch the Deucebags by surprise if they brought in a mediocre lineup.   Sugar Creek added Sean Straley, Nick Hiemstra, Jason Cooney and a player who is unknown to me:  David Herr.  

I only have third hand information on the match last night, but I understand that the Deucebags took the match 3-2.  Aadrian Hasker again had a tough matchup (and a toothache).  Last year he was stuck in an easy division and was untested during the regular season.  Simon Jim gave him a tough battle in the first set last night, but Hasker pulled it out and cruised in the second.  The Deucebags also took line 2 singles as Douds used Straley and Cooney in doubles, where they both won their matches.  

The Deucebags as a team have made great strides and are a close-knit group.  They have weekly team practices on Wednesday nights and recently had a team tournament at Seven Lakes high school.  Some emerging 4.0 stars like Rafah Ahmed also practice with the team as Tran looks to groom players for the future.  

I've not heard any news from the other "big" match of the week where the Sienna 4.0 team hosted JCC.  Sienna usually reports scores promptly...makes me wonder if there might have been an upset?  

At MPTC last night, the 4.0 Hurricanes cruised over the Acers and I believe the Breakers pulled out a 3-2 win in 4.0 over Double Trouble with recently married Allan Chiu manning the number one singles slot for the Breakers.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Boring Week

I took a quick look at the schedule this week and there doesn't appear to be many (any?) intriguing matchups.  About the only decent match I saw was the 4.0 contest between Sienna and JCC.  Jedi Knight and Copperfield in 4.5 is an ok matchup as well.

In 4.5 and 5.0 the "power teams" either have a weak off or are playing also-rans.  Until I see evidence otherwise, the 5.0 Copperfield team doesn't appear to have much standing in its path to Sectionals, and I certainly don't think the Upsetters will live up to their name this week.  

Some of the stronger teams will get an opportunity to work some players into the lineups this week or experiment with some combinations.  Or tank...but that never happens.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Drama at LLTC

Omon said it best (or was it Odion?  I still can't tell the difference and usually mask my confusion with a "How's it goin', big guy?"):  "This is why we love league tennis."

Both Hurricane matches at Lee Leclear went down to the wire with a third set breaker at line 2 singles deciding things.  In 4.5 it came down to former teammates Ted Phoummarath and Aadrian Hasker.  Aadrian was rocketing bullet forehands and Ted was running and scraping balls back and mixing in the occasional passing shot and even an ace which shocked the crowd.  In the end, Pumma won an anti-climactic tie breaker as Aadrian finally ran out of shots.  

The Deucebags looked to be heavy underdogs when the lineups came out, as Miguel Morales and Rich Ryu were not present.  Captain Tran split up the Dugas brothers, and he and Trey pulled off a shocker, beating Odion and fellow Aggie Matt Sumrall.  Props should go out to Alain, who has improved as much as anyone in the league over the last five years or so and was continually hitting crisp volleys tonight.  Derrick Dugas and Bobby Trinh took down Sarosh Ahmed and David Lombardi and Omon handled James Bui at number one singles.  Line one dubs went to the Hurricanes easily as Burmann and Day continued their dominance.  

The Hurricane 4.0 team was not as fortunate.  Similarly, the line two singles match came down to the aggressor against the scrapper....maybe defense DOES win championships.  In this one, Daniel Durand came back from an early deficit to beat Phong Hau 10-8 and give Sienna the victory.   Scott Foster was dominant for the Hurricanes at line one singles, and truly looked to be playing at a different level.   Bruce Inting kept up his winning ways at line 2 doubles, but Sienna's Donn Nguyen and Ronnie Kwan dominated at line 1, and Scott Boarman and Dean Cushing pulled out a tight one in a well-played match at line 3 doubles.  

The Hurricane 4.0 team went the entire local season last year unscathed, and is already 0-1 this year.  It's pretty clear that this team is not of the same caliber as last year's team.   Freeman lost 8 guys from last year's team to the 4.5 ranks, (one of them, Roberto Narajos, was giving Don Rios all he could handle tonight and will be a high quality 4.5) and thus far it looks as though only one impact player has been added:  Inting.    Sienna has established itself as the favorite in that division, and the Hurricanes will have their hands full making it to the playoffs with JCC and the Nights both having strong rosters.  

Quick Look at 4.0 and 5.0

I haven't really looked at all of the rosters, and quite honestly don't know most of the players at the 4.0 level, but my impressions are that these are some of the teams to watch.

In Division I, the Copperheads look loaded.  They've added Bo Bassett and JJ Deleon to a team that was already quite talented.  I would expect them to take the division. Bear Creek has a lot of their talent back from a successful team last year.  Juan Pacheco will again be a tough out in singles. 

In Divsion II, the asians will probably dominate.  Chancellor's and the Smokers look to be the top two teams.  Chancellor's has added Bernie De La Torre and Danny Do in an attempt to replace their singles losses from last year.  Bernie has wins over Brian Robins, Robby Wolf, Wade Karel, Quach Bui, Jonathan Hao Nguyen and Mike Giordanelli  in the last 3 years and Do gives coworkers Jerry Pham, De la Torre and Phuong Le fits in their lunchtime battles.   The Smokers may have a healthy Duc Nguyen this year and added a new unknown in Khoi Bui.  

In Division III, there are three quality teams battling for two spots in the citywide playoffs.  JCC has a bunch of crafty older doubles guys in Joe Warren, Chuck Stasny and Harold Graham, among others.  They may not have the singles firepower that some other teams have, however. Sienna has emerged as a power in the last year or so, but I'll be honest, their roster is so damn big I don't know what to expect from them.   The Hurricanes seem to have a lot of guys who can play singles, but I'm still curious to see what their doubles lineup ends up looking like.  Almost everyone on the team had singles success at the "Coke", and Freeman will have his hands full trying to find a lineup.  Scott Foster looks to be the star after his success in 4.5 at the Gallery Furniture tournament.

SAP looks to be the class of Division IV, with the Rolido Boys looking to give them some competition.  Word on the street is that John Grego may be the top 4.0 player in the league, and he's fresh off a 2007 National Campus Championship team at Texas A&M.  The rest of the roster looks strong as well, headed by doubles specialists Chris Towle and Michael Tran.  

Red Benzon's 5.0 Hurricane team looks to be the class of the league at this point, although the rosters are still quite incomplete.  Former Longhorn Otis Sadler, Sean Straley, Brian Smith, John Kudrick and Jason Pieters are just some of the ridiculous talent assembled here.  They may get a singles test tonight in week one as I've heard that Westside's Eric Kruseman is a former Davis Cupper and will be tough for anyone to handle.  Hernan's Lost Forest team and the Met are usually in the hunt when all is said and done, and Willowfork may put together a nice roster as well.