Monday, September 20, 2010

Senior Sectionals - Nationals, Finally

Sectionals had not been kind to the Houston teams this year. It had been a rare shutout (sue me, but I don’t count Combo or Tri-Level), even for Freeman, Benzon, and Hollis (taking her customary year off). Until this past weekend that is, at Senior Sectionals in Tyler. Both 4.5 teams and the men’s 4.0 team took the titles and are headed to Nationals in Palm Springs (Rancho Mirage) in October. Congratulations to all, and thanks for salvaging a bit of Houston pride!

The men’s 4.5 team, captained by Jimmy Kilshaw, won the title on lines, after finishing with an identical 3-1 record to NETX, to whom they lost 2-1 in the head-to-head match. Say what you like about the old geezers, but it was high-quality tennis. Maybe not quite up there with Adult Sectionals, but every bit as good as city playoffs. There’s something gratifying about seeing a 50-something guy who can still bounce backhand overheads over the fence. Tom Courson, Mark Willingham, and Louie Aro all went 3-0. Juan Lopez was a remarkable 4-0.

The 4.5 women, captained by Rox Ann Schanzenbach, didn’t drop a match in pool play, nor did they drop a set in defeating Dallas in the final. Carol St. Clair was the big gun, playing all five matches and going 4-0 (not counting a retired match) without losing so much as a set. Sue Bramlette and Mary Morgan were close behind at 4-1.

The 4.0 men, captained by Ron Fisher and Mike Spoor and featuring two members of the Texas Tennis Hall of Fame (Fisher and Paul Christian), beat an extremely tough and balanced Austin team 3-0 in the final, winning all three lines in third-set tiebreakers. In pool play they beat defending national champion Fort Worth 2-1, with the lone loss a retired match once the victory was clinched. Nick Stephens and Tim Purcell went 4-0, and might have been joined in that record by Jim Wooten and Steve Smith had it not been for retired matches.

Which brings us to the subject of third-set tiebreakers – as always, it comes down to these. The 4.5 men were 6-1. The 4.5 women were 2-1. The 4.0 men were 6-0. This is what wins matches at this level. Hating them is self-defeating. Practice them – these teams do.

58 comments:

  1. I don't think anyone cares about Seniors. But good try NG

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  2. Congrats to the Houston teams. Glad to see that HTown did so well.

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  3. let's talk about the fall fest. any predictions?

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  4. The draws will be light because people already have points and the deadline has been extended once already and there will be rain. - rinse, repeat from last several years.

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  5. I'm 49 and I care. Getting older sucks big-time in terms of mobility. At singles, the difference between a younger 4.5 and an older 4.5 is tremendous, especially in the heat.

    At doubles however, the difference is not nearly so large. For me, having no singles is the primary attraction of USTA senior leagues. It sucks playing Adult 4.5 leagues and always being down 2 lines because our singles guys get wiped 0 and 1 by some ex-collegiate youngsters.

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  6. Ummmm, still don't care about seniors.

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  7. We don't care what you care about.

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  8. About 99% of all the guys at sectionals in 4.5 seniors played college tennis back in the day. They may not move as fast as you, but they can probably return serve, volley and place balls better than most. Have you played against John Burrmann before? Can you beat him in doubles? That is the quality of most players at senior sectionals.

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  9. The 4.5 senior men's team at sectionals consisted of Tom Courson, Louie Aro, Juan Lopez, Jimmy kiishaw, Walt Fortenberry, David Hall, John Burrmann, Mark Willingham, John Berryhill, Jim Hamilton, and Ward Januzzi. Houston had to sweep Ft. Worth in the final match to win. The lineup that swept was Mark Willingham and Tom Courson, Louie Aro and Juan Lopez, John Burrmann and David Hall.

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  10. It's silly and insulting that senior league doesn't have singles.

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  11. Concerning having singles in the senior leagues> Then you would have a bunch of dead men and women on the courts at sectionals. Here is how age goes:

    In your teens and 20's you can go out and excercise without even stretching.

    In your 30's you have to begin learning how to stretch before exercising.

    In your 40's, yout begin to develope injuries and other aches and pains more often, and you have to stretch before exercising.

    In your 50's, after learning to stretch well, you still are sore longer than before when excercising.

    I am not 60 yet, but I have been told that when you turn 60, things just start falling off.

    My father in law is nationally ranked in his 80's. That has to be a genetic thing,or accident of nature.

    People who are still playing in their 90's,I would just refer you back to that lead guitarist for the Rolling Stones. I believe he is 120. See what drugs can do?

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  12. here are the difference between the young bucks and old folks

    1. young bucks like to hit big points
    old folks like to win short points
    2. young bucks plays low percentage points
    old folks plays high percentage points
    3. young bucks like the bang from the baseline
    old folks like to make their way to the net
    4. young bucks love to spin and kick the ball
    old folks like to slice and keep ball low
    5. young bucks wear whatever that is clean
    old folks wear whatever that matches
    6. young bucks like to show off their girlfriends on the sideline
    old folks hide their wives at home

    --the old tennis generation is serve and volley, that's why the older players play dubs. the new generation are baseline bangers, that's why younger players play singles. the game has changed

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  13. Any comments about the top 20 finishers this year in 4.5 and any surprises and good finishes w/o fall fest and the Masters yet?

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  14. In 4.5 singles it would have to be David Guy and Emmett McCool right there at the top. How about Mr. McCool, he is 50+ and knocking off the young guys!

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  15. All levels are way down in tournaments and league but competition seems even, I guess that is all that matters.

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  16. guy and mccool are definitely top 4.5 players. they are cool on and off the courts as well. i still dont understand why those two guys would want to play for someone like red and freeman

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  17. nice post daniel. guy and mccool are definitely top tier 4.5 guys. About them playing for red and freeman who cares. Looks like guy has had a lot of success playing for them.

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  18. let's not forget old man januzzi beating young arrogant sarosh in the city playoffs. sarosh seemed to disappeared after that

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  19. What was Jannuzzi's record at senior sectionals?

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  20. 0-2. the seniors level is not much different than the regular level so there's no shame in that. i noticed he lost to kimm ketelsen who was once a very, very good player.

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  21. januzzi will always be know to be the one that sent sarosh into retirement

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  22. Questions about End-of-Year Ratings

    1) When do they come out?
    2) Any guesses on who is coming down or moving up?

    3) Antoine Ford, Odion Dibua and Matt are all guarenteed to move to 5.0.

    4) Who else moving up 5.0?

    5) Who from 5.0 may be coming down?

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  23. Usually comes out week after Thanksgiving or so. Significant bump down from 4.5 to 4.0 is Pete Rios. Hasn't been playing long but once he's gets more match time he'll be a force at 4.0

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  24. Fall Fest Draw is online

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  25. That has got to be the weakest draw I've seen in a while. I guess the bump ups have adversely affected tournament play.

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  26. Modern Family is good but over-rated.

    Top 6 sitcoms of all time: MASH, Cheers, Seinfeld, Friends, Beverly Hillbillies, I Love Lucy.

    The ratings for the last two were unbelievable. National phenomenons.

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  27. I wouldn't say over-rated, but I agree not in top 6 of all time. Arrested Development would be on the list.

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  28. Any comments about the 8.0 mxd NoHo team going to sectionals this weekend in Corpus? Do their players have what it takes to win at sectionals?

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  29. What about the Beav... and Simpsons - DOH!

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  30. Is it me, or is it no fun to play in HTA tournaments any more? Are they mean and rude or what at the tournament desk? Any comments?

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  31. No just that one old man is mean and rude. He must be from up North.

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  32. What's up with Herb Morton and Jim Wooten losing against average players (David Hall and Z Butt at best?
    Bad showing for those two local players in the Fall Fest?

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  33. Maybe their tanking to get bumped down a level.

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  34. Is Robert Collins the best player in Houston? He won the Coke and Fall Fest pretty easily. Is there anyone that can give him some competition?

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  35. A match between Robert and Evegeny, who won the Coke easily a few years ago, would be interesting.

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  36. I'm pretty sure the best player in Houston is Jack Brasington. He could probably beat Robert Collins like 3,3. Brasington has beaten Evegeny 4,1 before. I think Michael Russell is probably the best player that lives in Houston.

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  37. David Hall destroyed Herb to show you guys on the blog he is not an old fart. He can still dispose of younger 4.5 players like Herb.

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  38. Different David Hall - but thanks for using shinfo to support your point.

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  39. Herb's not exactly younger any more.

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  40. Herb is a freak of nature. Still looks like he did 15 years ago when I first met him. I actually think he's almost 40. Great player still....

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  41. David Hall from Sugar LandOctober 7, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    There are actually 3 David Hall's that I know of. There is the David Hall from the Dallas area that is about 52 years old and was ranked #1 in 50's singles last year. He would slaughter any 4.5 and probably every 5.0 in town if you have ever seen him play. I was in high school in Dallas at the same time he was. He was ranked as a junior in the top ten in Texas back then.
    Then there is the David Hall from Houston, that is the younger guy that beat Herb. He is a good upcoming 4.5 player. His style of play matches well with Herb's. Herb would beat him if he changed his strategy a little with him.
    Then there is me, the David Hall from Sugar Land that is married to Daryl Hall that most of you know form leagues around town. I am also 52, and I can play singles, OK, but doubles is my game. I AM AN OLD FART! I couldn't stay on the court, stamina wise, with you younger guys at the 4.5 level. I can however compete with any 4.5 rated player in doubles. So, rather than work on my ground strokes, I focus on my serve, volleys and overheads. I probably need more work on my returns. But I am working on that.
    That is the fun of tennis, no matter how long you have played, there is always some shot to work on.
    I love competing against all of you guys. You are all great competitors and make the game fun.

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  42. Tap the brakes on Dallas David Hall there bud. He's an above average 4.5 and that's it. Terrible on court attitude too.

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  43. He does like to play fast, doesn't he?

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  44. In case anyone was wondering, 4.5 Texas won their first match today at Nats. It should be of interest as YER will be determined by how well TX does at Nats.

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  45. 4.5 Senior Women are rocking, won their flight 3-0 and play in the semis later today, finals tomorrow. 4.5 Senior Men were the opposite story, 0-3 and on the way home.

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  46. The 4.5 senior men just had bad luck. Of the 9 individual lines played, 6 of them went to third set tie breakers, and Houston only won one. Most of the tie breakers were 10-8 or 10-7. Very close. If they had won some of them, they would have won their division. That is how sectional went as well, but Houston won all the tie breakers. Very even competition.

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  47. How come David Guy won't be bumped? He has won like 8 tournaments this year. Is it because he doesn't practice and he just shows at tournaments and wins?

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  48. Because his league results weren't all that great.

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  49. David Guy and Odion will not get bump because USTA finds it amusing.

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  50. Houston 4.0 Senior Men didn't make it out of their round robin, by the slenderest of margins. Three teams tied at 2-1, also tied at 6 lines won, but Hawaii had fewer sets lost (6 vs. 8). On the bright side, they were 2-0 in third-set tiebreaks, running their playoff record to 8-0. In lines won, Tim Purcell was the big gun for Houston, going 3-0. Mike Spoor was also undefeated at 2-0. Next up, and last chance for a 2010 National title for Houston, will hopefully be the Super Senior 8.0s in February.

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  51. Nice run guys. Sounds like some tough competition.

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  52. Houston's Super Senior 8.0 Men just earned a spot at Nationals, beating Austin 3-0 in the final in New Braunfels. It's captain Charlie McMahon's 7th trip to Nationals since TennisLink started keeping records in 2002, and who-knows-how-many trips before then. It's co-captain Mike Spoor's second trip to Nationals in 2010 alone. Tommy Connell and Scott Denison were the studs this weekend, going 4-0 without dropping a set, and averaging 5 games lost per match.

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