Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

WTT National Qualifier THIS WEEKEND!

The WTT National Qualifier is this weekend at the Copperfield Racquet & Health Club. Winners from the local events all over the United States qualified to participate in this weekend's event. Come out and see some great tennis! Play begins on Friday at 5 pm. It then resumes on Saturday and Sunday mornings at 8 am and continues throughout the day until 8 pm. Levels participating include the 3.5, 4.0 and 4.5 levels.
Our next local event will be December 4th & 5th, 2010.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Looking backward, Looking forward

First of all, congratulations to the Fort Worth 5.0, Dallas 4.5 and Lubbock 4.0 teams as well as to everyone else who had a successful season. Different teams do and should define success differently. The Lubbock 4.0 team may not feel successful unless they win Nationals whereas the two Houston 4.5 teams should feel satisfied with qualifying for Sectionals. They reached their ceiling.

It was a disappointing weekend for the NOHO 4.5 team. Victory was in their grasp but they just couldn't hold onto it. Someone speculated that they just didn't want it enough...didn't practice hard enough and didn't have the burning desire because they'd had such recent success. There may be some merit to that. I'm secretly happy for Miller and Branch as they did it with all computer rated players (with a total of only maybe two who got there via tanking). I would suspect that NOHO will lose Thomas and Gururaj and probably retain mostly everyone else. Rest assured Red and Jason will find capable replacements and may get some bumpdowns as well. To their credit, Red and Freeman chose not to put their two stud singles players out there to tank in the meaningless final match. (If Bharath were going to tank the final match, it would have been in much more glorious fashion than a three set loss.)

With the exception of the Noho 4.5 team, I think we all knew coming in that the local (Hou/Noho) 4.5/5.0 scene was at its lowest level in recent memory this year. The records in Dallas bear that out: a combined record of 3-14!!!! What that will mean for local players is very few bump-ups in 4.5/5.0 (and perhaps more bumpdowns) as the ratings filter back down to Houston at the end of the year.

I think the local 4.0 teams were both among the best teams up there, but clearly Lubbock was a level above the rest. I figured Coleman and Schaunaman would be the best one-two punch but was surprised how good their doubles play was. I was a bit surprised that the Hurricane 4.0 team was taken out by San Angelo, but the doubles proved to be not strong enough. Whitney and Scott might have helped.

The 4.0 teams will lose more talent to bump-ups than 4.5 power teams do. If I were a betting man, I'd say that Freeman, Spoor, Nguyen and Lu will all be vying for Sectionals and/or Nationals again next year. Ristau, Ash, Rothe, Tran, Douds and some of the other competitive Houston 4.5 captains will have to up their games and step up recruiting if Houston is again going to be competitive at Sectionals. I'd love to see another aggressive 4.5 captain join the mix, and maybe challenge the Benzon/Freeman dominance. There is plenty of undiscovered talent out there...