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.


  1. Wild San Antonio isn't in flight 4 - but Wild Ft. Worth is, and they look pretty weak. Flight 4 is SAP, NETX, Waco, Wild FW, and San Angelo. Any team but Wild FW has a shot.

  2. Oops. Misread the flights. I'll correct that. Thanks.

  3. Flight One is ridiculously tough, it seems to me. Speculation that Somabut tanked the Dallas City Finals seems farfetched unless I'm overestimating some of those Flight One teams.

  4. Whatever the results it will be hot. I am up here this week and last and have been playing and it is quite toasty.

    Is ANYONE going to the mixer on Sat PM? Nice gesture, but I think it will not get much traction.

  5. Could see a Dallas v Dallas and Houston v Houston semi.

  6. Flight 1 is ridiculous. It will be a death match between SA, FW, and Dallas. Slight edge to SA. Flight 2 is a tossup between Dallas and Austin, and a tossup between College Station and Wild Waco for last. Flight 3 - nuthin' but Canes, although SA will put up a struggle. Flight 4 - slight edge to NETX for three very tough lines, and two more not far behind. But no depth here, can the same 8 stud horses last six matches in 100+ degrees?

  7. Gonna be tough. Wish I was there for now but I'll be glad not being in the heat. Best of luck for the Houston teams.

  8. I don't think you can compare Branch and the Hurricanes as Branch has no self rates ;). While team Somabut always has strong players, he seems to make some questionable decisions. If he did indeed "throw" DCC it would appear he might have made another. Whoever gets out of that pool is going to have to play their best players a bunch in the heat and may feel it on Sunday. Has Fort Worth found some singles players to finally give them a chance at Sectionals. They will have some solid doubles but will the "old guys" make it in the heat?
    Lifetime has been talking some noise in Dallas but will they be able to make it in many of the players first 4.0 Sectionals? I think the easier pool will be very beneficial if they can manage their playing time. A Somabut-Lifetime semi would be very interesting with all the talk but I don't see both making it.
    Captain February is going to have to find a way to make better lineups this year if he wants to go to Nats. Foster and Inting have proven that they are some of the best 4.0s in the state but he'll have to unleash some unknowns to have any chance.
    Waco is always in the mix and SAP has proven people wrong thus far so maybe they'll have another surprise in them. I don't see a Houston-Houston semi either.
    Sunday will be interesting since conditioning comes more into play in 4.0 because of the extra match. I would love to see a Lifetime-Hurricane final and I think there's a 50-50 chance of that happening.
    Good luck to all.

  9. Nice summary Kern. Now onto more important matters. Will you please play on my Combo Team???

  10. I've played both Featherstone and Weymer, and there is absolutely no comparison. Featherstone is alot closer to 5.0 than 4.0. he will not lose in 4.0 period unless it is on purpose.

  11. You wouldn't know a 5.0 then.
    Based on his results against 4.5 players - he'd be a middle of the pack 4.5. At best. In fact, he lost 0,3 to FW's best 4.0 this year.

  12. With 3rd set tiebreakers in league play, almost anything is possible and anyone can get beat. 2 of 3 full sets....that's a different story.
    Featherstone is real good, but there are a few 4.0s in Dallas and other places that can beat him.

  13. Nice write up HH.

    Flt 1 is a demolition derby. Having more than 9 nuts and bolts is key to this flight. you better hope that your pit crew can still keep the gas tank full and the team in the leaderboard, or your on fumes come the finals. I am not sure I see any team winning from this flight just because it is such a terrible road with a lot of potholes along the way. By the time Sunday finals roll around, the team that emerges will have already called Triple A. Found On Road Dead.

  14. I agree, looks like the Hurricanes made a good move getting into pool 3 (pool 4 is much more difficult but not as bad as pool 1). If they can get past San Antonio then they may be well rested for Sunday. It takes a lot of energy to win a pool and teams are generally running on fumes come Sunday.

  15. Chris, do you know what it's looking like for your father-in-laws 3.5 team? What does their flight look like, chance...

  16. Not really. I have been swamped with a new project at work and have not had time to do any research.

    I know their team and they don't have any out of level studs (Like Freeman's teams -- HAHA) but are just a solid group across the board.

    They really did not expect to get out of city and barely made it out of their flight to begin with, but they just kept on winning 3-2 all weekend with some really close tiebreaks.

    I think they are all going to make it to Dallas (no conflicts) and hopefully have a good showing.

    In the past what has hurt this group is in the early part of the season they have a scheduling conflict on Thursday's with the North Suburban League (aka - the beer league) an end up having to default some lines in the first few weeks and then cannot play catchup to make the playoffs come July. That conflict did not exist this year and they made it.

    Hope they do well.

    Does anyone wonder why a big ass city like HTown has such a crappy 3.0 presence in Men's tennis? I always find that ironic.

  17. Personally I think it's a pride issue. The 3.0s don't want to rate 3.0 and they rate 3.5 or play on a 3.5 team instead. I think it messes up the quality of players up the ladder as well.

  18. I'm sure Freeman will have a 3.0 team before next year :)

  19. Featherstone was top 50 superchamp 18s and even played on the Ut-Arlington team for a period of time. if that is what passes for 4.0, the NTRP system is f'ed beyond belief.

  20. Fetherstone is not a 5.0. He maybe a 4.5 but isn't everyone at Sectionals playing 4.0? Just like all the 4.5 guys competing at Sectionals are 5.0's. Superchamp?? League Players eat Superchamp up!

  21. How old is Featherstone now?

  22. And how good is this Munz guy if he beat him 6-3, 6-0?

  23. Betsie, I heard you're going to be missing a few players next weekend. Are these impact player? Does it affect your chances for the weekend? Is one of them Cori?

  24. Considering Cori tore her calf it's probable she's out for sectionals. Betsie's team is just too deep this year. I'm sure that her team will be in full force. There will be a surprise waiting for her in Dallas though.

  25. Huntwick lost their first match this AM 1-4.

    NoHo lost too. Not a good start for the greater HTown crew.

  26. Austin wins the 3.5 trip to Nationals this year

  27. Interesting Stat for 2008. Did you know, Texas came in 11th place (out of 16 sections) for number of top 4 finishes at Nationals last year. There's a lot of blogging done regarding sandbagging. A lot of whining about players under rating themselves. This statistic would seem to indicate that Texas as a section is over rating their players. Even Caribean is ahead of TX. These are not impressive stats.

    5.0 Women 4th
    4.5 Women 2nd
    2.5 Men 4th
    7.0 Super Sr Women 4th
    8.0 Super Sr Men 3rd

    Here are the numbers:

    Mid Atlantic - 14
    Northern Cal - 12
    Eastern - 11
    Southern - 11
    Florida - 10
    Pac NW - 7
    Middle States - 7
    Southern Cal - 7
    Caribean - 6
    Midwest - 6
    Texas - 5
    New England - 4
    Intermountain - 3
    Mo Valley - 2
    Southwest - 2
    Hawaii - 1

  28. Predictions:

    Flight 1: 1 San Antonio Wild
    2 Dallas Wild
    3 Ft. Worth
    4 Corpus
    5 Noho
    Flight 2: 1 Dallas
    2 Austin
    3 Lubbock
    4 College Station
    5 Waco Wild
    Flight 3: 1 Houston Wild
    2 San Antonio
    3 SETX
    4 Midland
    5 Valley
    Flight 4: 1 Waco
    2 NETX
    3 San Angelo
    4 Houston
    5 Ft. Worth Wild

  29. Good picks. Somebody knows his stuff.

  30. Does someone have the stats on which city has sent a team to Nationals in the different divisions? Say for the last decade?

  31. Sounds like something Towle would do. Isn't he the guy who created the excel spreadsheet for mid-year ratings.

  32. Not me. My shit would be formatted better than that.

    I why would I put my own team at 4th?


  33. No, Chris, talking about you would be the one to figure out which cities have sent teams to Nationals for the last decade.

  34. Sorry. So here is the issue:

    Tennis link only goes back to 2003.

    Sorry, just too busy.

    I would think that TTA would have a nice concise summary of who/when for a longer period than could be harvested from tennislink.

    Tosha/Sue, hook us up. We know you read the blog. Your IP is your identity!

  35. I had nothing to do at work. Here's for 4.0 and 4.5 back to 2003

    08 4.0 M Lubbock W Dallas
    4.5 M NoHo W Midland

    07 4.0 M Houston W Dallas
    4.5 M Austin W Houston

    06 4.0 M Waco W Dallas
    4.5 M Austin W Houston

    05 4.0 M San Ant W Valley
    4.5 M Houston W Houston

    04 4.0 M Amarillo W Ft Worth
    4.5 M Valley W Dallas

    03 4.0 M Dallas W Houston
    4.5 M Dallas W Dallas

  36. If you count NoHo as Houston, than Houston wins the battle of the Metros. Especially if you consider Dallas sent 3 teams in 2003.

    Dallas - 6 titles
    Houson/NoHo - 7 titles

  37. If you count Ft Worth as Dallas than it's a tie, 7-7. This will be the swing year with Houston grabbing at least 2 more titles.

  38. Houston was way behind Dallas and maybe even Austin prior to the Hollis/Benzon/Freeman era of the last few years. Now it's clearly the dominant area.

    2002 4.0 M San Antonio W Austin
    4.5 M Austin W San Antonio

    In 2001 I believe Austin beat Mike O'Rear's NOHO team in the 4.5 finals to make it to Nationals.

    In 2000 I think the Ramiro Cuevas-led Valley team made it to 4.5 Nationals.

  39. Wait. Dindt Jorge and Alan's SA team go to Hawaii?