Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Boring week

There are not any/many interesting matches on the docket this week.

In 4.0, Copperfield's Shock and Awe takes its 4-1 team on the road to play Cinco Ranch's undefeated Comets. Copperfield has a huge defecit in a tiebreaker situation. They will need a win this week and some good breaks the rest of the way to make it to city playoffs.

In 4.5, Ssshhhwings host Lakeside in an effort to keep their small playoff hopes alive. Lester Callaway was impressive last week in the #2 singles slot for Shwings and is now 4-0 on the season.

Division III has a virtual 3-way tie for first place, but none of the teams figures to be tested this week. Every set may end up being crucial. The Hurricanes have the toughest match this week, but we'll see what kind of Taylor HS brings on its trek to LLTC.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Another WTT is almost here!

June 12th/13th

3.0 & 4.0 levels play on the 12th

3.5 & 4.5 levels play on the 13th

Teams consist of a minimum of 2 males and 2 females with a maximum of 10 players.

Cost for the entire event is $100/team or $25/person. You are guaranteed 3 matches.

Play format for each round is as follows:

1 set of men's doubles

1 set of women's doubles

1 set of men's singles

1 set of women's singles

1 set of mixed doubles

1 set of mixed doubles

for more information and to register go to:

Lance Loken


Friday, May 21, 2010

4.5 Tidbits

- Nice win by the Deucebags last night. Clutch performance by Andres Ballesteros and David Huffman pulling out the third set breaker. Another nice win from Hung Nguyen at one singles. Alain Tran is now 12-2 in doubles this year.

- Some nice new 4.5 roster adds this week: Peter Hansen, David Huffman, John Burrmann, David Herr, Murray Fonseca, Adam Kent.

- Was surprised to see Mark Keener in singles for the Black Sheep with Pio Davila in doubles. Keener hasn't played much in 4.5 but it looks like Tommy Ristau has a lot of options.

- We're halfway through the 4.5 season and there's no obvious favorite yet. What would the Vegas odds be for winning citywides? I'll throw some out there off the top of my head for fun (assuming rosters stay as is and everyone plays in playoffs). Rank 'em yourself if you want.

Lakeside 4-1
Black Sheep 5-1
Deucebags 5-1
Copperfield 6-1
Hurricanes II 8-1
Hurricanes III 8-1
Westheimer Indoor 10-1
The field 50-1

I probably underrated Lakeside's chances (4-1 gives them just a 20% chance). The smart money would probably be on Lakeside at those odds.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Great week

The schedule is jam-packed with good match-ups this week in both 4.0 and 4.5.

In 4.0, there is a bit of intrigue in Division I after Kevin Lim Cunningham's disqualification this week. His four matches were defaulted, which managed to vault Gleannloch Farms into the second place spot ahead of Cunningham's Ace Makers. Lakeside will be favored over Gleannloch Farms this week, and we could see GF and the Ace Makers battling it out for that second place spot until the final week.

In Division II, top team WSTC-Phoenix plays upstart Double Trouble, who have a surprising 3-0 record despite losing Rafah Ahmad and Ed Galvez from last year's mediocre team. In Division III, two Cinco Ranch Teams are filled with unknowns, but have dominated the division thus far. Lance Loken is hoping his Copperfield squad can remain in the hunt until their match next week with top-ranked Cinco Ranch Westside Comets.

In 4.5 Division I, the top four teams will be tested in crucial match-ups this week. Lakeside faces a desperate GTAC team fresh off its first loss last week. A potential line one singles match between Moser and Hess will be worth watching. Quack Bui would be a favorite over Sandblom at the other singles spot, but could have trouble with Benton if he's used there. Lakeside would seem to have the edge in doubles. The Deucebags have a talented roster, and on paper would seem to be the favorite. They're in a precarious position in my opinion, however. Peter Borkop has been destroying people. TOO EASILY. Should he fall victim to the "three strikes" rule, as did Austin Wild's John Swords and the aforementioned Kevin Cunningham, the Deucebags' season would be over. Luckily for Borkop, his opponents have not been very strong and he has been spared from disqualification.

In Division II the Hurricanes II take on the Black Sheep in a battle of unbeatens. Recently added Murray Fonseca and the dominant Pio Davila give the Black Sheep an intriguing one-two punch (Humberto Alzate gives them a nice third singles option). Sean Lacy and Wayne Morgan look to rebound from a puzzling loss last week to Metoyer and Champlin.

In Division III, top dawg Copperfield plays Westheimer Indoor, who is tied with the Hurricanes in second place. With the Hurricanes having a bye (aka Lost Forest, who has yet to pick up a line this season), the Titans will be behind the eight ball with a loss. Copperfield looks to have the stronger roster. Simon Jim has yet to be seen for Ken Douds' crew. They may need him this week.

Friday, May 14, 2010


- I'm glad to hear that Hung Nguyen played last night. In all my years of playing league I don't think there has ever been a player about whom I'd heard so many contradictory stories. I was mistakenly informed that he wouldn't be playing for the Deucebags, that he was signed up against his will, that he played for the infamous 2006 Backesto Park team, etc. All of them have proved to be false. The one constant story I've heard is that this guy is GOOD. It sounds like he proved it last night.

- Alain Tran worked harder in the offseason than any other captain, and the results are starting to show. A case could be made that he has the best starting lineup in the city right now. I'm not sure what his top 8 would be, but with Nguyen and Borkop in singles and veterans Tran, Ballesteros, Jannuzzi and Teague (will Huffman be joining them soon?) he's got a solid foundation. One thing worries me about the team, but I'll hold that thought for now.

- I noticed Freeman changed the names of his two Hurricane 4.5 teams. I'm officially taking the "B-team" label off of Hurricanes II. Since receiving that moniker they've added McCool, Lombardi, Guy and Raymond Martinez. They're now very formidable.

- I really can't believe Willy Lock has lasted this long. Is he the best player (resume-wise) to play in the Houston league in this century? I remember getting lambasted after adding Farzad Heidari to my roster (and filling out his self-rating form without knowing his background). He got DQ'd to a 6.0 level, somehow. (he actually legitimately lost a set to one of my teammates in practice) Lock's background dwarfs Heidari's in accomplishments.

- Still, I'm glad Lock, Gururaj, Borkop and Nguyen are all playing. With all of the talent losses the league needed some competent new blood to avoid becoming too stale.

- Nice win for Ricardo Martinez last night. He and Roberto were the two singles players on Freeman's Hurricane 4.0 team two years ago. I don't believe the two ever played back then, but I think most of us assumed Narajos was the number one guy. Heck, even Ricardo might have agreed. Ricardo has a great game but has always been really lacking in self-confidence and sometimes struggles with nerves. It'd be nice to see Ricardo lead Copperfield on a playoff run. It's hard to believe a 4.0 team with those two singles players didn't do any damage at Sectionals.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Week Four

The standings have begun to take shape, and this week there are a few match-ups that will have a big impact on playoff positioning.

In 4.5 GTAC will take on the Deucebags in a crucial match-up for both teams. There are four quality squads in Division I, and all four should be expected to sweep the five also-rans. So, how the teams fare in the three "big" match-ups will decide their fate. The Ball Busters have faithfully fielded teams for the last decade. They haven't made the playoffs since 2002 and in fact went 3-28 from 2005-2008, so Denny Dantimo should be commended for their resurgence. Jochen Moser must be considered among the top singles players in the league, and Ashley/McKeithen are a quality team, but I see the Deucebags squeaking out a 3-2 victory.

Copperfield hosts the (non-Morton? A-team?) Hurricanes in Division III. Both teams are undefeated and the loser will move into a tie with the Titans for second place. Dave McMullan and Ricardo Martinez have been solid in singles for the Lobsters so far. Copperfield's top two doubles lines have looked good thus far, but line three has been suspect, filled with 4.0 bump-ups.

The Rolido Boys and Hurricanes bump heads in 4.0, both entering the match-up with 3-0 records. The Rolido Boys managed to avoid the massive 4.0 ratings inflation that afflicted many teams, retaining Robert Kane, Greg Moran, Richard Walker and Randy Lawton. Kane and Walker are a combined 6-0 in singles this season. Tunde Olu has pitched in with three three-set victories this year as well. Still, I don't think the Rolido Boys are gonna' be able to match the firepower that Freeman will put out there in a "big" match.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Week Three

The big matchup in 4.5 last night was between the Hurricane "A" team and Sugar Creek (oops...Westheimer Indoor). Last year Antoine Ford played four singles matches and lost three of them in third set tie-breakers...against Aadrian Hasker, Omon Dibua and Odion Dibua. Yesterday he went down to Bharath Gururaj in straights. 'Nuf said. The big decisive line one doubles match in a fairly important regular season matchup was won by Ayman Abouelchabob and Richard Perreras over Stephen Epstein and Lito Diano.

The season thus far has been fairly uneventful, but I think we'll have a little drama on the horizon in the coming weeks. With only two or three weeks into the season, the playoff picture is fairly clear already in 4.0, unless I'm reading too much into these results. I'm assuming two teams from each division will qualify for Citywides.

4.0 I: Lakeside and Gleannloch/Ace Makers
4.0 II: Phoenix and SAP
4. 0III: 2 of the 3 Cinco Ranch teams
4.0 IV: Hurricanes and Rolido Boys
4.0 V: Sienna and Chancellor's

4.5 is actually still quite competitive, perhaps the most competitive it's been in quite a while. The Hurricane/NWO result has not been posted yet, but the winner will have a big leg up on a playoff berth in Division II. Division I still has at least four teams vying for the two spots. Hurricanes, Titans and Lobsters are all in the hunt in D III.

5.0 appears to be a runaway. David Toney's Met squad is nowhere near as loaded as Houston's top 5.0 team last year, but appears to have things well in hand, although Willow Fork has the talent to make a push for the title.