Tuesday, December 27, 2011

WTT event in January

The next WTT event will be held January 21st/22nd at the Copperfield Racquet & Health Club. On January 21st the 3.0 and 4.0 levels will participate and on January 22nd the 3.5 and 4.5 levels will participate. Winners of each group will have the opportunity to compete in Sectionals February 18-20 and winners from the event will participate in the National Championships in Indian Wells, CA in early November! In order to participate, just go to www.wtt.com and search for the Houston event under Recreational events. You may register as a player that needs to be placed on a team or get a team together yourself! The rules and details are on the website as well. You need a minimum of 2 males and 2 females to form a team. The format is as follows: one set of men's and women's doubles, one set of men's and women's singles and 2 courts of one set each of mixed doubles. You will play a total of three matches. For more information, you may contact me at lance@thelokengroup.com or 832.387.8248.
A direct link to the website is: http://www.wttrec.com/recleag/league_info.asp?s=764&t=1&l=4518&f=2028&shw=gi

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tennis Warehouse 50% off select items until Dec 23 5pm PST

Tennis Warehouse 50% off select items until Dec 23 5pm PST

They reached 50k fans on facebook and wanted to give nice discounts on tennis gear. 50% off all listed prices. Would be a good deal for a racquet or shoes. Picked up Nike Air Court Ballistecs 3.3 for ~50 bucks. If you don't see the prices right away in your cart, try refreshing.

Tax in CA.

Free 2 day shipping for purchases over $75


Repost from Fatwallet BTW


Monday, November 28, 2011

New Ratings Out Today

According to TennisLink, the year-end ratings will be released today sometime before 5PM Eastern. As usual, I would expect a lot of movement from 4.0 to 4.5 but not too much movement in the other direction. Most local 4.5 players should be safe unless the USTA makes a conscious effort to bump a much higher percentage of 4.5 players this year.

Feel free to speculate/discuss. I won't be monitoring TennisLink continuously today, so if anyone hears that the new ratings are released, please hit me on twitter @HtownHacker.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tennis Express Groupon through this weekend

Might as well save some money as you are going to spend it there anyways...

Tennis Express Groupon

Happy Thanksgiving,

Monday, November 14, 2011

Rice Tournament

There will be a one day tournament held at Rice University this Saturday. It looks like it's cheap and might be some good competition. See below for details.

Rice Tennis will host a USTA Campus Showdown on the Rice University Campus on November 19, 2011. This event is open to tennis players of all levels and ages. It will be a one day tournament with a separate men's and a women's draw.

Entry fee will be $5 for singles and $10 dollars for both singles and doubles payable on the day of the tournament.

Please contact Men's Assistant Coach Efe Ustundag at efe@rice.edu or Women's Assistant Coach Younes Limam at younes.limam@rice.edu to enter.

Join us for a great day of tennis on Rice Campus.

Friday, October 28, 2011

4.5 Nationals

Joel Pickett's Dallas 4.5 team travels to Tuscon this weekend for Nationals. They've been placed in what appears to be a fairly tough flight. Traditional powers Northern California and Florida as well as a Seattle-based Pacific NW team (coached by Roger Mark?) will all be tough outs.

The Texas Section has been successful on the men's side at Nationasl this year, with runner-up finishes in both 5.0 and 4.0. As you probably know, this will probably result in some ratings inflation and significant "bump ups" throughout the state.

Ratings for the 2012 season will be published sometime in late November or early December.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Weekend Results

It was the last busy tennis weekend of the year for many local players, as Mixed Sectionals and the Fall Fest filled the schedule on a beautiful tennis weekend.

There were some interesting results at the Fall Fest. First of all, kudos to Jason Cooney and Musa Salihu for taking the Men's 4.5 and 4.0 singles titles. Doubles winners were the teams of Roberto Narajos and Hung Nguyen in 4.5 and newcomers Alex Truong and Andrew Wu in 4.0. Winning the mixed were Hall/Hall and Vu/Houston.

Former 4.5 superstar Odion Dibua won the Open doubles. 4.0 rated George Hernandez toppled Quack Bui in the first round of the 4.5 and then was soundly beaten by Foad Ansari. Hersh Pise, playing on the Deucebags fall team, won the Open consolation.

Local mixed teams met with some success at Sectionals in Southlake. Monty Lindloff's 9.0 team won the title behind wins from Arnold/Breaux and Taylor/Corbin in the finals. SA imports Orlando Galvan and Cynthia Rice and Brett Bernstein/Melinda Montes were both undefeated as Robert Plummer's 10.0 mixed team also made it to Nationals. Michael Tran's 8.0 team didn't fare as well.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


What a great year it was, despite the disappointing finish. Some observations:

Roger Mark, de facto captain of the Seattle team that beat us in the finals, won his sixth National championship as a player and "coach". He has taken twenty teams to Nationals. As with most successful captains, he is a charming, gregarious and very likeable guy that players love to play for.

Having been associated with several Freeman teams now, this is the first time I felt we truly came together as a real team as opposed to a collection of pretty good tennis players who happened to play for the same team. It almost reminded me of the old Mob Squad days, minus the cheering. The players, wives, girlfriends and mothers all hung out with each other and truly supported each other. It makes League tennis much more enjoyable. However, as with many other Freeman teams, we were not all that vocal and were drowned out by the cheering of the Seattle team. Players can feed off the crowd and that could well make a difference in a match where we were just a couple of points away from a National Championship. Brad Beinart was awesome in support and had a nice doubles win as well.

Still, second place out of the literally thousands of 4.0 teams across the country is something to be proud of, and far exceeded my expectations at the beginning of the year.

One byproduct of the successes of the Houston 4.0 team and the Austin 5.0 team will be a ratings inflation in Texas next year. A rising tide floats all boats, and the high ratings of many of the players who went to Nationals will filter down to all local players. We'll see how Joel Pickett's 4.5 team will do in a month or so.

As always, thanks go out to Freeman, Red, Tuyen and everyone else who helped out with the Hurricane team this year. A job well done.

Friday, September 23, 2011


We have arrived in sunny Tuscon and play our first match this morning against the Intermountain team from Idaho, followed by a match against the Northern Section winner from Minnesota. Tomorrow we will face Florida and New England. There's really no way to tell at this point which of those teams will be the strongest, though I would guess Florida would be your best bet.

Some of us went out and scrimmaged with some of the guys from the Pacific Northwest team today, and I think we would do well against them in a real match. There's quite a big difference in the way the ball carries in the thin air here compared to the humid air of Houston.

I will try to update as much as possible.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

USTA League Rules for 2013

Here is the 411 on the league changes coming in 2013

This is a note from USTA Texas League Coordinator.

Link is to flyer from USTA on changes

I have some more information on the 2013 league restructure. I was in New York last week and there were a few new things that were approved for the restructure.
For the 18 & over division, the 5.0 level will now be 5.0+ which allows 2 players that are rated 5.5 to play on a team.
For the 40 & over division, the 4.5 level will now be 4.5 + which allows 2 players that are rated 5.0 to play on a team.
These players can play anywhere in the lineup. The reason they will be allowed  to play anywhere in the lineup is that there is not a way for Tennislink to monitor which line they play and we did not want to put more work on coordinators and captains having to monitor this.

For the 70 & over we will continue to offer a sectional event for these players.

I've included some flyers for you. There is one for coordinators, one for facilities and the other is a general one for captains and players. Please feel free to send these out. In the next month we will let you know what time of year we will be holding the sectionals for each of these so you can start to plan locally.  It is still early but the sooner we have it all planned out the smoother I think it will go.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Adult Sectionals

The Beaumont Labor Day Open Tournament was cancelled due to the weather this past weekend. The year's biggest tournament, Texas Adult Sectionals, will be contested this coming weekend.

Some local players received high seedings based on their success over the past year. In 4.0 singles, Matt Drake is seeded first, but in my mind will be an underdog in his first match against league player Kevin Pimm. Carlos Quijano was awarded the second seed. Brian Goldberg, Herb Morton and John Griffin join top seed John Patch among the seeded players in Men's 4.5. Tim Green and David Guy are the two seeded players in 5.0. Guy will face Jason Gound in the first round.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sectionals Results.

I'm sure most of you know the winners. Congrats to Austin's Eric Strawbridge (who just a couple of years ago was starring at 4.5 Sectionals) and his Austin 5.0 team, Joel Pickett and his Dallas 4.5 team and Jason Freeman and his Houston 4.0 team.

There are just so many teams in 4.5 and 4.0 that putting a winning team together is truly a year-long (or even two years) process for a captain. I know Pickett and Freeman (and Arcaria, Somabut, Benzon and many others) put their hearts and souls and energy (365 days a year) into putting together a team that can win. This year it was Freeman who pushed all the right buttons. There's always some luck involved, but his lineups just seemed to work out perfectly each time. (Yes, Kern, Captain February disappeared this year) I just want to publicly thank him and all of the other people who helped me piggyback my way to Nationals after so many near misses in all of those trips to Sectionals. So, thanks to Freeman, Red, Tuyen Nguyen, Michael Tran, The Chancellor's 4.0 team who was so supportive of us, Cheryl, Diana and all of the others who selflessly helped us achieve our goal. We were able to use six different singles players throughout the weekend, and that singles depth really helped us have some key fresh legs as we got to Sunday.

Props go out to the Houston 5.0 team, who were able to come within a whisker of getting to Nationals. Aadrian Hasker was a beast all weekend long.

A disappointing year for the Houston 4.5 teams. After dominating the state for so long, Houston's 4.5 division is in a down cycle. Pickett's Dallas team was able to win with some significant contributions from a number of recent 4.0 players (Jean Nguyen, Hai Nguyen, Johan Mudsam and others), so one would have thought the door would be open for a Houston team to compete with them, but the Houston teams' rosters were just not strong enough. I expect that next year will be a different story.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Links to Results from Sectionals

Got tired of dancing around tennislink this AM looking for results.

Looks like Htown (Winner, Wild and Noho) are doing well thus far.


From there you can drill down to the level of choice.

Monday, August 8, 2011

No preview this year

Sorry, I've been bogged down with other things and don't have time to preview all of the levels and flights this year. My quick impressions on Houston's teams:

I think the 5.0 team will have its hands full with the Fort Worth and Dallas teams. Austin doesn't look that strong and Noho is a virtual walkover. I've played (and been crushed by) Dallas singles guy Chris Walker (James Blake's half brother) and am curious to see how Hasker will fare in the battle of lefties. I've seen Walker wear down in the heat, but Hasker looked gassed in the afternoon heat yesterday as well.

The Hurricane 4.5 team has certainly benefited from some very friendly flights this year. Their success at Sectionals depends greatly on the aforementioned young singles guys on the Corpus team. Many of the Corpus players (Barre, Whitehurst, Shandy, et al.) have been traveling to Dallas for Sectionals for a decade or so, and are competent players, but the eligibility of the youngsters will decide whether the team is a factor or not. The Canes may make it to Sunday, but they will be huge underdogs to go any further.

The Lakeside 4.5 team got stuck in a tough bracket. Dallas, San Antonio and the Valley fill out their flight. Will Hess and Bui play singles in each match? Lakeside has three lines that can compete with most teams and will be dangerous, but I just don't see them emerging from this tough pool.

The Chancellor's 4.0 team has been practicing very hard getting ready for the heat in Dallas. Bao Hangoc, Tuan Tran, Minh Hoang and Cuong Truong, among others, all braved the afternoon heat at Memorial Park for hours yesterday and seem accustomed to outdoor play. As you probably know, 4.0 Sectional pools are one team bigger than 4.5 flights, so a champion is required to play 6 matches in three days. Chancellor's has shown little depth in singles. Can Hoang and Truong play two singles matches each day and be at their best?

The Hurricane 4.0 team could have a similar problem. Singles depth should not be a factor for the 'Canes, as they have a number of quality singles players. The overall depth is a question mark, however. The team has a number of young players who (one would think) should not be affected by two matches a day in the heat.

Monday, August 1, 2011

For those headed to Dallas

For those headed to Dallas for sectionals at any level I wish you well in playing that 4p match.

This was taken on 75 near Spring Creek after being in the car for 20mins.

Fluid up and hope you have 18 capable players on your roster.

Best of luck to all!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Weekend Wrapup

Congrats to the Hurricane 4.5, Lakeside 4.5, Chancellor's 4.0 and Hurricane 4.0 teams, as all secured berths to Sectionals this weekend.

What stood out for me:

Ed Hess's dominance over Pete Taylor.

Tommy Connell. How old is that guy, anyway?

The other "old man" Ward Jannuzzi winning two singles matches in Sunday's heat to give the Hurricane 4.5 team a slot in the "easy" pool up in Dallas.

Kevin Lotz, who showed he could be competitive at a higher level.

The "David and Goliath" match between Minh Hoang and Musa Salihu.

The Chancellor's 4.0 team, who breezed through the playoffs, winning 23 lines and dropping only two and avenging their losses to the 'Canes while using fewer "starters" in the final match.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Big Weekend

Sorry for my recent Blog neglect.

Nothing earth shattering happened in last night's round of 4.0 playoffs. It will still, in all likelihood, come down to the Lakeside/Chancellor's and Hurricanes/Unicorns matchups on Sunday morning.

It's earlier, percentage-wise, in the 4.5 playoffs, so there is still a chance for a team who lost their first match to sneak into Dallas (at least in theory). However, it's probably a safe bet to say that the Blast/Lakeside and Hurricane/Black Sheep matches will both be for a trip to Sectionals. A close Hurricane win against the Black Sheep may still leave the door open for Copperfield on Sunday afternoon.

My picks: Lakeside and Hurricanes earn trips to Dallas.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Not too many surprises

The 4.5 playoffs got underway last night. I suppose there was a mild upset as the Black Sheep took down Copperfield 3-2, but everything else went according to form.

I haven't seen the "box score", but I heard Arin Faggard played singles for Copperfield. That's a head scratcher, for me. Where were Patel and/or Martinez or even McMullen?

Also MIA were Muhala and Ellingsen as the Gypsies put up little resistance for the Blast, getting shut out. Another good win for Kiser/Giordanelli, who beat the veteran team of Regent/Li in three sets.

Perhaps NumbersGuy could tell me, and if I have a chance today I will do some research, but I would guess that the team that sweeps the singles win postseason matches close to 95 percent of the time (yeah, I know the Hurricane 4.5 exception a coupla' years ago). Greg Schmucker did his best to get the singles split, but Quack Bui was a little better and Lakeside prevailed.

A nice win for Roberto Narajos over Jason Cooney for the 4.5 Hurricanes. The number two singles spot is a question mark for the 'Canes, and Narajos may be an answer. He certainly has the talent, but I was unsure of his fitness level for singles. I'm sure Cooney made him hit a lot of balls...

The 4.0 matches were even less surprising. Chancellor's dominated, the Unicorns swept, the Hurricanes rolled and Lakeside cruised. It's looking like Sunday morning will feature two matches for all the marbles when Chancellor's/Lakeside and Hurricanes/Unicorns butt heads.

Kevin Lotz again dominated for the Unicorns. He may be the best 4.0 player in the city.

Sienna's Nicholas Lucidi was ruled ineligible and his win over Lakeside last week was reversed. He had already advanced in the postseason with a team from Baton Rouge and was thus not eligible to play for another playoff team, so last week's double bagel gets stricken from the record.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Playoffs Heat Up.

Well, the playoffs finally get into full swing this week as both the 4.5 and 4.0 divisions have four matches scheduled for Thursday.

Is there a prohibitive favorite in 4.5 this year? I think not. Copperfield, Lakeside, the Hurricanes and the Blast are all considered the frontrunners by some knowledgable observers. None of these teams face each other this week, but all will be tested.

Lakeside takes on the Deucebags at home. It's hard to see the Dbags winning without splitting the singles, especially if Connell/Wright take the court. Quack Bui will be their target...can Nazario or Bishop (or Schmucker/Goldberg/Chavarria) take him down? I'll take Lakeside to win.

The Blast take on the Gypsies. Who will join Pete Taylor in the Blast singles lineup? Li/Regent seem to be the strongest doubles pairing on the two teams, but can the Gypsies eke out two more lines?

The Hurricanes take on Sugar Creek. Douds' guys were overlooked last year and shocked the 4.5 world. There's no Antoine Ford on the team this year, but the Hurricanes don't have any singles juggernauts themselves. I think the 'Canes take this one based on their doubles.

Finally, Copperfield hosts the Black Sheep. The Lobsters were once looked upon as heavy favorites, but there hasn't been an Adam Kent appearance since April. Shaan Patel may provide the margin of victory. As an aside, does anyone else feel that the USTA may have changed their "tolerance" level for three strikes this year? Yes, I know score managing has increased, but it seems to me there are some players out there who would have been DQ'd in previous years who have escaped in 2011. Perhaps Patel will be fine.

The 4.0 division also has four matchups this week. Some teams will be making their first appearances after having a bye last week, so we may find out a little more about some "unknown" teams.

One of those teams, The Good Guys, went undefeated this year and plays a tough Chancellor's squad that pulled off a sweep last week. Incidentally, Flight One appears a bit tougher to me, and it's possible that three teams could end up with one loss when all is said and done. The Good Guys are solid at four lines. Chancellor's Cuong Truong flirts with danger every week. Do Kiss or Mei have enough game to beat him?

Lakeside got their two "easy" matches upfront and shouldn't have too much trouble with Copperfield this week.

The Hurricanes travel out to Cinco Ranch to face a mystery team that has completely dominated their division during the regular season. Not many big names on the Cinco team, so we may find out a lot more about them this week.

Finally, The Unicorns take on an RPM team that surprised a lot of people last week, but probably doesn't have doubles depth to take three lines.

BTW, I got this from Anthony Tatu on the Austin Blog: Evan King is blogging about practicing with the U.S. Davis Cup team. I found it interesting.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Gypsies/Shwings results are interesting. I was surprised to see Rothe/Hall and Kim/Kim taken to the woodshed like that...

Where was Callaway???

The Hurricane 4.0 team is overrated. If Soda Heng doesn't cramp up, we might be talking about a huge "upset" last night...

I am curious to see just HOW MUCH tanking goes on in the remainder of the 5.0 season with nothing on the line. Will there be roster additions simply for tanking purposes???

Looks like Copperfield 4.5 swept out and took the division crown. Not surprising...

What IS surprising is that nobody told Shaan Patel about "score managing". Two double bagels? Yikes...

Lakeside 4.0 may find the playoffs just a BIT tougher than regular season matches in their easy division. Good job pulling out a win last night...

Minh Hoang was in the singles lineup last night. Glad his knee has healed. His presence in singles makes a huge difference for them...

Kevin Lotz played singles for Unicorns last night, shoring up what looked to be a weakness. Unicorns have emerged as the favorites to win their pool...

Anyone have any news on Clambakes-Big Bangers? I haven't done the math...are the Bangers still in the hunt???

Black Sheep won about 64 pct. of games last night. Will that sew up a spot???

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

4.0 Playoffs Start, 4.5 in Home Stretch

Sorry I have been negligent this week. It's come down to crunch time. In 4.0, the first round of playoffs begin on Thursday, with some top teams in action hoping to avoid an upset. In 4.5 there are a few matches remaining that will decide who gets those last spots. Again, I'm not privy to the game count, so your guess is as good as mine as far as who is "in the lead".

There are four playoff matches in 4.0 this week: Lakeside/Sienna, Copperfield/Chancellors, Hurricanes/RPM and Unicorns/GTAC. All feature division winners against wild cards.

Lakeside, who skated through what appears to be an easy division almost unscathed, will face its first test of the year against a Sienna team that improved itself vastly as the season went along. A couple of key additions have turned them into a team that can be dangerous. I'm looking forward to a Lucidi/Etienne matchup.

By virtue of winning its division, Copperfield will get to host Chancellor's, though they remain an underdog according to Vegas. Has Minh Hoang's gimpy knee healed? Will they need to use him in singles against a Copperfield team that appears weak in that area? Can't see anyone on Copperfield taking out Cuong Truong. Tuan Tran is playing some good ball. I'll pick Chancellor's, but it may be a close one.

Can GTAC threaten the Unicorns? The Unicorns may have the best doubles lineup in the city, but has not proven itself in singles...yet. Sumit Arora has been MIA for GTAC since April. Can he and Curren sweep the singles and put a scare into the Unicorns?

Two beloved captains, Freeman and Soewito, square off in the last 4.0 battle. RPM has a solid doubles lineup and the Hurricanes have shown weakness in that area. Steven Herold has been virtually unbeatable for Freddy's crew and could help make this competitive, but it's hard to see RPM's singles hang with the Hurricanes.

In 4.5 No Way Out will have its hands full this week with Lakeside Country Club. A win is necessary, as a loss will see the Coaches take second place in that division. Will NWO gamble with Westen at line one or put him at two and try to take two of three doubles lines if he beats Quack?

Fresh off Alex Ellingsen's great comeback, the Gypsies continue their improbable run to a division title by traveling to play Ssshhhwings this week. With the Black Sheep beating up on the Phoenix this week, Rothe's guys may need a resounding win (or a last second DQ) in order to even be in playoff consideration.

Copperfield played a match last night and has another bottom feeder on Thursday. Two sweeps give them the division title and perhaps the top seed?

The Big Bangers take on the Clambakes. Are they in the running, games-wise? Will Facker and/or Cannon get protested this week? I wouldn't be surprised if it's too late, given the way these things work.

Friday, June 24, 2011

4.0 Playoff Picture (90/10)

4.0 playoffs are almost settled, 9 out of 10 places are decided at least according to my math. Hopefully it matches HTA's math. HTA has posted on their website that it's games-won percentage that determines which four of the six second-place teams go to the playoffs.

One match remains to be played that has playoff implications, Cinco Ranch Comets vs. Mason Creek Stars, scheduled for tomorrow. The winner will finish 2nd in that flight. However if Comets win, their games-won percentage (currently 6th out of 6) won't be high enough to get them into the playoffs. If Mason Creek wins, it depends on their scores, as they're right on the knife edge. Either they'll go or WSTC Warriors will. Currently Mason Creek has won 52.61% of their games, Warriors 52.57%. That's what I call close. Likely they'd stay ahead of Warriors if they win the match, but not guaranteed. I'm sure both teams are stand-up guys so if I were Warriors I wouldn't bother to send a scout to observe... GTAC, MPTC-RPM, Chancellors, and Sienna look to be in the playoffs by my calculations.

Seedings are another matter. Nobody but HTA knows what the seeding criteria will be, and possibly they don't even know yet. Perhaps some judgment will factor in, as you'd hate to see (say) Hurricanes, Chancellors, and Lakeside all in the same playoff flight simply by virtue of dumb numbers. But if it's done by numbers, then no matter which statistic is used (match winning percentage, line winning percentage, whatever), Lakeside would be top seed followed by Cinco Ranch Wranglers. After that it would depend on which statistic is used. If it's percent of games won, and assuming the flight winners are seeded ahead of the 2nd-place teams, then Unicorns, Good Guys, Copperfield, and Hurricanes (the price paid for score management) would be 3rd through 6th seeds. If it's by any other statistic - well you can read the standings as easliy as I.

A new post

Commenting has been fast and furious of late, so I'll start a new thread.

Did rain affect any matches yesterday?

Not too much of interest last night at LLTC, other than the constantly circling helicopter. I DID finally get to meet the Sandwich Blaster. He and Pete Rios were both on the grounds, but there was no sign of Babu. Still haven't managed to make the acquaintance of the World's Most Interesting Man. Perhaps during the playoffs.

Somebody made a statement to me that Hung Nguyen is the second best (behind Kudrick) singles player in 4.5 this year. Interesting. Word on the street is that he is playing at a much higher level than last year. It's too bad his team wasn't able to put it together enough to get into the postseason. It would have been interesting to see how he would have fared. Wish he had played Taylor instead of Medford in the last matchup.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Not Much Going On

There's not much to focus on as the season winds down. One negative to the games percentage thing is that it's hard to know at a glance where a team stands in the playoff hunt. One thing is certain: to be eligible for wild card consideration a team must finish in second place. In 4.5 we still have some battles for second: Chancellor's/Sugar Creek, No Way Out/Katy Coaches and the three way logjam between Black Sheep, Gypsies and Ssshhhwings. One wild card slot is sewn up, presumably (Copperfield or Dbags). 4.5 Playoffs begin July 7th (4.0 on June 30th), so many important matches will not be played until next week.

I know I shouldn't have to say this, but please try to refrain from the personal, non-tennis-related attacks. I try to delete them as quickly as possible, but I am certainly not monitoring this blog 24/7. Hopefully Chris will be able to get some of the ones I miss.

Blog MVP voting for 2011 will begin soon. Rios, Babu and the Sandwich Blaster are the heavy favorites.

Friday, June 17, 2011

One more week

We had a fun night out at LLTC last night. Chancellor's and The Hurricane 4.0 team matched up again. Both teams were loose, as most figured that the teams were playoff-bound, win or lose. Chancellor's is a likeable bunch and I'll be rooting for them in the playoffs.

As it turned out, we pulled out a 3-2 win. Again, it could have gone either way. Arata Yamaguchi squeaked out a win over crafty Cuong Truong to provide the margin of victory. There were multiple representatives from other playoff teams "scouting". I doubt they came away impressed, as there was some spotty tennis going on and the match didn't quite have playoff intensity.

In another 4.0 matchup where both teams should feel good about their playoff chances, The Good Guys took out RPM 3-2 last night at Memorial. Word on the street is that there were some impressive looking doubles teams in that matchup.

It looks as though the Sienna Aces and Pecan Grove played two matches yesterday. I am assuming that one of them was a continuation???? If that is the case, I have a question: How did Baton Rouge native and recently added Nicholas Lucidi get into both matches? I'm not making accusations...I haven't watched their roster closely enough to know when he was added, but it sure looks fishy. Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

Lakeside 4.0 stumbled and lost its second line of the year last night.

The Deucebags got a walkover against the Ball Busters the other night. I believe the Busters defaulted two lines last night. Is it me, or have there been more unplayed lines in 4.5 this year than in years past?

The Blast took down Chancellor's 4.5 3-2. Nice win for Hung Nguyen over Greg Medford.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Notes on this Week

The season is winding down. Keep on eye on rosters this week as teams try to add players in time to get them eligible for the playoffs. For instance, the Sienna Aces have added Nicholas Lucidi, who has been tearing up the Baton Rouge league. Also the Copperfield 4.5 team added Shaan Patel, former superchamp and star at Cy Falls High School under coach Joiner.

There are quite a few matches with playoff implications this week as several wild card spots are probably still in play. I'm guessing that only two people have actually done all of the math to calculate the games won percentages, so at this point most people are making educated guesses as to where teams actually stand.

In 4.0 the previously discussed matchup between Chancellor's and the Hurricanes takes place at LLTC on Thursday. Both teams appear to have a good shot at grabbing a wild card spot, but as I said, at this point we just don't know. Also, the Good Guys and RPM vie for supremacy in division II, playing the first of two matches within the next week. If the Good Guys dominate the two matchups, RPM could potentially drop out of the playoffs. Lastly, the CR Comets and Mason Creek square off for second place and consideration for a wildcard slot.

In 4.5 the Black Sheep and Ssshhhwings play for the second time in the last few days. Their match scheduled for 6/13 has not had its scores reported. Does anyone have any news on that one? The playoff situation in that division is, quite frankly, a mess. There has been no resolution to the disputed match between Shwing and Katy HS, but I suspect it will be finished up on the court.

The Hurricanne 4.5 team takes on the Big Bangers, who are still mathematically alive. Also, JCC Blast take on Chancellor's. The Blast have basically sewn up the division title, though technically they still could collapse. Chancellor's has been a disappointment but still may qualify for the playoffs. They have Sweetwater in the final week, so they can certainly fatten up their game percentage should they still be in the hunt.

I have a hypothetical question. Let's say that I knew about five or six players who had illegally self-rated. Having them disqualified may have some impact on the playoffs and could actually help some of my friends make it when they otherwise wouldn't. Should I snitch?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Congrats are in order..

Congrats to Lakeside 5.0, JCC-Blast, the Deucebags and Lakeside 4.5, all of whom had a nice night last night for one reason or another. At some point or another this season, I've underestimated all of them.

Greg Schmucker had a nice win last night over Ricardo Martinez. Renish Halani has been impressive in his 4.5 matches and should be tough in the 4.0 playoffs. Jaison John and Shibu Ninan with an impressive debut for the Sienna Aces last night. Will the Aces be a playoff factor?

One byproduct of the "games" element used in wild card calculations may be some teams giving their all up until the final bell sounds. Katy Coaches had a bad loss last night...but are they still "in it" for a wild card? I haven't done the game calculations, but I would think they still have a shot.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

6/9 Matches

The 5.0 matches (that count) conclude Thursday with a Sectionals berth on the line. Lakeside has a lead but has left the door slightly ajar, and I'm sure Willowfork will put their best lineup out there Thursday in an attempt to win by a nose at the finish line. I will be interested to see what kind of lineup David Toney is able to muster as the Met travels to Willowfork. We've already seen that some Met players are reluctant to travel, and the team has very little incentive to win. As previously noted, WF can not drop a set and must hold the Met to fewer than 31 games if my calculations are correct. With just three lines contested in 5.0, the games number is well within reach. I give Willowfork a decent chance to sneak into Sectionals.

In 4.5, there are several good ones this Week. The Blast come in 5-0 (they've not yet reported the results of their walkover (Sweetwater) last week), but still have not clinched anything. They've dropped only 5 lines, so they should be in good shape in the event of a three way tie, but can sew things up this week with a win. I saw Pete Taylor hitting in the 102 degree heat on Sunday afternoon and he looked in fine form. Erik Kiser and Mike Giordanelli have given the Blast a reliable doubles line, and may be the key to this week's match.

As noted, Copperfield and the Deucebags will contest round two this week. Copperfield dominated the first battle. They'll have to put a dent in Copperfield's singles. Newcomer Alejandro Nazario was a disappointment in his first outing, so the D-bags may be in for some rough sledding against Kudrick and company. Both teams look to be in good shape for the playoffs, however.

The Katy Coaches must mount their best effort of the year. It's again do-or-die for Burford's crew as they take on Lakeside. Lakeside has gotten little attention this year. The perception is that they lost Hai Vu and Greg Zachary from a middle of the pack playoff team (13 lines won, 12 lost) and haven't added a really significant player to replace them. Thus, there's little buzz around the team, but they could surprise.

Finally, you're gonna' laugh, but the Big Bangers vs. Clambakes is actually a match with possible playoff implications. The Bangers lost to GTAC (allegedly) last week, so it may actually be the Clambakes who bear watching for the playoffs. They've already played the Hurricanes twice, so a sweep of the remaining matches may get them in. The Clambakes have perhaps one or two legitimate 4.5 playoff caliber players, but can put themselves in the hunt with a win this week. Do the Clambakes have anyone who can beat Alleverdian? Will Mitchell or Shermer be in the Bangers lineup? I'll take the Bangers 4-1.

Finally, 4.0 is a dead zone this week. There are a few matches with some wildcard implications, but nothing remotely interesting.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Results discussion

I understand there may have been some controversy out at Taylor High School last night. This is third-hand information, so the information may be faulty.

I believe that the Shwings singles player was serving at 4-5 in the second, down a set (?) when the lights went out. The overall match score was 2-2 at the time. Now, there has been a lot of discussion on here that the home team would have to forfeit in this situation, and my understanding is that Peter Rothe pressed the Taylor team for a forfeit.

I really have no idea what the actual rule is in this situation (it may be time to do some homework!!!), but it seems unfair to me that the home team should have to forfeit. We would run into situations, with our public facilities controlling the lights, where teams stalled, took bathroom breaks, etc. in order to earn a cheesy win. On the other hand, I do see the merit in a visiting captain feeling that the home team has a responsibility to provide courts after his team has made a fairly lengthy drive to play.


Katy Coaches beat NWO 4-1 last night. Great job by the two-handed forehand of Chris Lubrano in beating previously undefeated Maximiliano Westen. Trip Norkus was a DNP for the Coaches, but apparently they didn't need him.

Copperfield 4.0 blanked GTAC to take over first place in their division. Nice win for Loken's crew.

As has been mentioned, the big match in 5.0 went Lakeside's way. Laurence Sombito came up big in Aadrian Hasker's absence.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This Week's Headliners

Here's a look at what's on the docket for this Thursday (it's Tuesday already!):

Probably the biggest match of the week comes in the 5.0 division, with Lakeside taking on undefeated Willowfork. Lakeside will reportedly be without Aadrian Hasker, so the question of who will replace him in the singles lineup is an important one. Laurence Sombito? Greg Jones? Your guess is as good as mine.

In 4.5 there are a few matches with playoff implications. According to tennislink, the Big Bangers and GTAC have two matches scheduled (finishing one up, I assume), so that may shed a lot of light on who is the potential wild card team from that division.

Also, the Katy Coaches continue to hang on by a thread, and will have to beat early-season surprise No Way Out to stay in the hunt. I'll go with Karl's guys to win this week.

Finally, Ssshhhwings and the Taylor HS Gypsies square off. Will John Kim be in the singles lineup? Is he better than his first outing might indicate? Will rookie of the year candidate Juan Muhala bounce back this week? I think Rothe's guys will take it.

Lastly, in 4.0 GTAC takes on Lance Loken's Copperfield team. I won't be surprised to see some interesting developments in this one.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Playoff Picture.

It's dead at work today. Can you tell? There are still a few events which could dramatically change things, but here is how the playoff picture looks right now. I expect a little drama before all is said and done, however.

Obviously in 5.0 Willow Fork has become the favorite with Sugar Creek's win last night. They've got a big one with Lakeside next week, and rumor has it that Hasker may be out of town. Willow Fork is in the driver's seat. The interesting question is: will there be a second 5.0 team from Houston at Sectionals this year? In 2009 there were two 5.0 wild card teams at Sectionals, in 2008 there was one, and there were none last year. It's a longshot.

As you probably know, the 4.5 playoff qualifiers will be the five division winners and three wildcards. I think that Copperfield, the Hurricanes, the Deucebags and JCC-Blast are pretty much automatics at this point, leaving four spots. I expect Lakeside to win their division, so let's make it five. Can NWO or the Coaches put up a good enough record to get a bid? A similar situation exists with Taylor HS, Shwing, and the Black Sheep. There just aren't enough scrubs in those two divisions to ensure the second place team of a playoff berth. In fact, if Freddy's RPM squad turns out to be even remotely competent, they can fatten up on the dregs of that division to sneak into the postseason, perhaps at the expense of teams like Black Sheep or the Coaches. Chancellor's ugly loss last night makes it unlikely, but still possible, that a second team will come from the Blast's division. Sugar Creek or Chancellor's will probably have to beat the Blast to make it in.

In 4.0, there are still a few question marks, but much of the playoff picture is clear already. Similar to 4.5, the six division winners and 4 wildcards will qualify. For now, it looks like CR Comets, Lakeside, Unicorns, Hurricanes, Chancellors, The Good Guys, RPM and GTAC all have things almost locked down. Copperfield, Mason Creek, Sienna Aces and Westside Warrior appear to be fighting for the final two slots.

Last night's matches

The big news, for me, was that Sugar Creek's 5.0 team beat Lakeside. We have a multi-horse race in 5.0...it appears to be the most interesting and exciting division this year. I don't have details on the match, but did hear that Bharath Gururaj beat Aadrian Hasker 7-5, 7-5. Sean Straley and Antoine Ford won the doubles line for Sugar Creek.

I digress, but it really makes me wonder how that NOHO 4.5 team from last year didn't even make it out of pool play at Sectionals. In Femi Thomas and Bharath they had two super tough singles guys. Add in doubles players like Odion, Matt Sumrall, Jason Kern, Red Benzon, John Burrmann, Jacob Vernon and others (not to mention benchwarmer HtownHacker!) and it's really got me scratching my head.

Anyway, I'm not too up on all the news from last night, but did hear that Sugar Creek's 4.5 team was having their way with Chancellor's, who had a surprising lineup. The only result I heard from that one was Hung Nguyen squeaking past Jason Cooney in singles. It wouldn't shock me if Sugar Creek finished the season 6-2 and in the playoff hunt. They will have to get by JCC on 6/9 at home.

Jose Orozco continues to impress in singles, destroying Aaron Layman. He's been overlooked, but needs to be mentioned when talking about the top 4.5 singles players.

It's possible Javier Chavarria is the Deucebags best singles player. He's had some good practice results lately and definitely has the fitness level to handle the heat of city playoffs.

In 4.0, the news is that Chancellor's added a new guy, Edgar Dean, who is reportedly very good. Bao Hangoc continued to roll along. I don't think Chancellor's has put out their best lineup yet, but when they do, they very well may be the team to beat.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May 26th Matches

It's time for a new post.

There are a few interesting matches on the slate this week. Starting in 4.5, Lakeside takes on surprising No Way Out in a battle of unbeatens in division I. LCC survived a scare last week against pesky Lakeside Estates, with Ed Hess falling to Jose Luis Munoz Orozco (longest name in the league???). Lakeside hasn't seemed to be hitting on all cylinders thus far. Their MVP's to this point may be 4.0 alumni Jim Wooten and Eddie Perdomo, who provided the winning margin against Lakeside Estates after tripping up Norkus and Weaver in week one.

Another early season surprise is the team from Taylor HS. They can deal a crippling blow to perennial playoff qualifiers Westside Black Sheep this week. The Black Sheep survived Cinco Ranch last week despite, quite frankly, a very weak lineup. The will need all of their horses this week. Juan Muhala is definitely in the hunt for the 4.5 Summer League Rookie of the year award and has added some meat to the top of the lineup for Taylor HS.

Chancellor's also takes on Sugar Creek, who will need to go on a late season run to be a factor this year.

In 5.0 Lakeside takes on the surprising Sugar Creek team fresh off its upset of the Met last week. Sugar Creek probably enters the match with a 3-1 record and have snuck into the hunt for a berth to Dallas. Aadrian Hasker has been money for Lakeside, though he showed some vulnerability against Neil Carpenter last week.

In 4.0, the much-discussed Unicorns take on the Sienna Aces, who come in with a 3-1 record. The first match between these two teams was fairly one-sided, and it's hard to see Sienna causing many problems. The Unicorns appear to have two elite 4.0 doubles tandems in Yang/Arellano and Galvez/Ahmad. Will Russell be their ace singles guy to carry them to playoff success, or have they got other hidden talents?

Finally, out in Cinco Ranch, the division leading Wranglers take on the 3-1 Comets. Patrick Newton and Benjamin Hughes have been solid for the Wranglers.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Is there anything interesting going on this week? I don't think so. I was gonna' do a preview, but couldn't find anything to write about. Is it playoff time yet???

Maybe something interesting will happen in a make-up match...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Last night's matches

I was a part of a very good match last night between Chancellor's 4.0 and the Hurricanes. The quality was fairly high for 4.0 and 4 of the 5 matches went to third set tie breakers. The only thing preventing it from being a great regular season match was an absence of true intensity. I went in prepared to dislike Chancellor's, having heard some snide comments on here, but have rarely come across a team as nice as they were, with Jeremy Ang and captain Joseph Mai at the head of the list. I truly hope the two of us make it to Sectionals, but we both have a lot of work ahead of us.

As for the match, the much-anticipated matchup between Danny Vu and Minh Hoang lived up to its billing. Not too many cheap points, and a lot of long rallies. The diminutive Hoang was very crafty and not afraid to come into the net, where he displayed some great hands. In the end, it was a match of attrition, as Minh had to retire with cramps (indoors at Chancellor's...you can imagine how grueling the points were) at 2-2 in the third set breaker. It looked very similar to the matches these two used to play over a decade ago.

Line one doubles went the Hurricanes way, but Chancellor's pulled out #2 doubles and slicer/dicer Cuong Phuoc Truong again outlasted another opponent at line 2 singles. It all came down to line 3 doubles, where Alex Montes turned on the heat at 5-5 in the third set breaker and strung together several stinging shots to earn his team a 3-2 win.

In the big 4.5 match between JCC Blast and Chancellor's 4.5, apparently there was some controversy regarding the lineups. Not being in attendance, I won't touch on who was at fault or give any specifics...I'll leave that to the commenters. Obviously, the most impressive result was Pete Taylor's shellacking of Dat Bui. Bui has received a lot of praise in these parts but has yet to truly prove he's a top 4.5 league singles player. Almost equally surprising was Medford's loss in doubles to 4.0 bumpup Tom Le and Charles Nguyen. A little bird told me earlier in the year "Medford's mobility is significantly worse than it used to be." I scoffed, but now that he seems to be relegated only to doubles and is showing some vulnerability there I wonder if I should have listened more closely.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

This week

For those of you sick of seeing the names "Chancellor's" and "Rios" in this space too often, bear with me, as they are central to this week's big matches.

Chancellor's is featured in both of this week's headliners: in 4.5 they travel to JCC to play the Blast, who are looking like a surefire playoff team after last week's easy win over Sugar Creek. I was interested to see that JCC used Taylor and Rios in singles last week and pushed Medford to doubles...I had assumed that Medford and Taylor would be the singles mainstays. Who will Chancellor's use in singles? James Dat Bui? Huy Nguyen? Hung Nguyen? I'm picking Chancellor's in a tight one.

Chancellor's 4.0 juggernaut faces Rios' other team, the 4.0 Hurricanes, indoors on Thursday. The two teams are undefeated and between them have dropped just one line along the way. I hope Minh Hoang is able to make it for Chancellor's...I remember what an exciting player he was back in the late nineties and am curious to see how his game has held up over the years. Former Met member and Chancellor's newcomer Bao Hangoc has been very impressive this year as well.

Anything else interesting this week? Nothing that really caught my eye, other than perhaps Willow Fork v. Sugar Creek in the 5.0 division. Speaking of 5.0, are the Black Sheep just pathetic or are they laying down? They've won 12 total games thus far.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

T.W.I.T. Notes

After last week's snoozer, we have some decent matchups this week.

There's not much of interest in 5.0, but 4.5 has several key battles that will help to shape the playoff landscape. Lakeside finally gets their season underway against last year's surprise team, the Katy Coaches. Karl Burford's squad has already hit an unexpected bump in the road and with NWO sitting at 2-0, it's almost a must-win for the coaches. Norkus and Weaver did not team up last week...have the coaches gone to a different doubles battle plan this season? The lost two of the three doubles lines against No Way Out...

It's already been discussed in the comments, but Copperfield and the Deucebags is another meaningful early season match. On paper, Copperfield may have the strongest team in the city. Of course, we all know the old cliché about matches not being played on paper... This match is at Lee Leclear. Will Copperfield's big guns make the trip out there for a Thursday night road match? Would Kelly and McMullan or Martinez be enough to give Copperfield a chance to sweep the singles?

There are presumably three good teams in 4.5 division V. Two of them meet this week as Sugar Creek and the JCC Blast clash at JCC. Jason Cooney has been playing well for Sugar Creek. The Titans lost to Chancellor's 4-1, so every line is crucial for them. If Simon Jim plays, perhaps he and Cooney play singles and John Day can be used in doubles. Can Jim and Cooney split the singles against Taylor and Medford? Can JCC take a line of doubles? It'll be interesting to see how captains Warren and Douds position their forces for this one.

As a general question, I'm wondering how good John Kim is in singles. Ssshhhwings may make a move this year after a few years of slowly sliding backwards. If Kim is good, and I suspect he may be, then he and Callaway may supplement a decent doubles lineup nicely.

The 4.0 division doesn't quite have the same drama this week, but there are a couple of matches to keep an eye on. In the hinterlands, undefeateds Mason Creek and CR-Wranglers do battle. I know nothing about either of these teams...they could easily sneak up on someone come playoff time.

None of the heavyweights (Chancellor's, Hurricanes, Unicorns, Good Guys) appear to have anything to worry about this week. It should be smooth sailing for all of them.

Friday, April 29, 2011


My observations from last night:

Biggest match of the night was the 5.0 match between Lakeside and the Met, won by Lakeside. Aadrian Hasker has continued to step up his game over the last few years and has now straight setted Robert Bickmore and Arun Nanjappa in the season's first two weeks. Equally interesting is the fact that if Lakeside wins the 5.0 division, it very well could affect the 4.5 division, as Greg Jones is a member of both the Lakeside 5.0 and Hurricane 4.5 teams.

Of minor interest, GTAC's 4.0 team beat Lance Loken's Copperfield squad 3-2. Will Sumit Arora avoid the dreaded three strikes this season? Probably...but it definitely will bear watching.

Also, my friend and former teammate Tuan Tran signed up for the Chancellor's 4.0 team. He's a talented player and if he can bring his Mob Squad intensity to the 4.0 level, the Chancellor's team will be better for it. They have assembled a dangerous roster.

I think 4.0 is shaping up with 4 (or 5) teams a level above the rest: Chancellor's, Hurricanes, Lakeside, Unicorns and (perhaps) the Good Guys. The Unicorns have a fun group of guys and appear ready to waltz into the playoffs, perhaps without really being tested.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

This Week's Slate

Is there a single decent 4.5 matchup this week? What's the headliner? Katy Coaches vs. No Way Out?

In 5.0, David Toney's Met team gets their season underway, facing a Lakeside team which won its first match impressively.

There are a few possible good 4.0 matchups: Copperfield Shock & Awe vs. undefeated GTAC, Lakeside vs. unbeaten WSTC Spin Doctors and Hurricanes 4.0 vs. HFTC Straight Sets.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

QUIIIIICK 4.0 Predictions...

4.0 is boring. To be honest, 4.5 seems boring this year too. Here are my picks.

Div I

I'll pick Copperfield Shock and Awe. To be honest many of the 4.0 rosters are a mystery to me, as the turnover in 4.0 has been especially high over the past couple of years. I'm going to stick with the team/captains that have had success.

Div II

The Good Guys. I really think this team will be good. They have several guys who must have barely escaped being bumped. They'll be dangerous in the playoffs.


I have absolutely no clue. I'll guess Cinco Ranch North Aces.

Div IV

Lakeside. Danny Vu has gotten a lot of pub, but Lakeside has a guy who's equally strong. Rodney Kubicek, who has often done well in the Open division of the tough Oilman's tournament, went 4-0 in city playoffs and also undefeated at sectionals. His only loss was a late season probable tank job. How did he stay 4.0??? One bad match at Senior Nationals can trump everything else... Lakeside will have one line secured. Can they get 2 more in the playoffs?

Div V

The only division with two (alleged) heavyweights. Yeah, I'm Mr. Negative, but I do think Chancellor's will take it. They have a lot of returning talent and have mixed in some new blood. Quite honestly, after Vu the Hurricanes roster doesn't wow anyone.

Div VI

I'm not buying all of the Unicorn naysayers (possibly team members). I played great when I was on steroids, so I wouldn't write off Phillip Yang. Hahaha. I check the rosters often, and Lakeside, Chancellor's and the Unicorns are my first stops. They all scare me. (as do the Good Guys)

That said, The Sienna Aces have amassed a lot of talent and could take this division if I'm overrating the Unicorns. They play in week one. Huge matchup with playoff implications. I hope both teams are able to bring out their best lineups.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

4.5 League Preview

As I'm sure everyone is aware, the League season begins Thursday. There are 5 4.5 divisions with the top 3 non-division-winners qualifying for the citywide championships. Here's a quick look at the five divisions:

Div I

Clearly, Lakeside remains the favorite in this division. Their roster has not undergone a great deal of turnover from last year, but they did lose Hai Vu and Greg Zachary to 5.0. They have added a couple of players but no true "difference makers".

The Katy Coaches look to be the only competitive team in this division, with the same key roster elements as last year with the addition of Chris Lubrano. They have a chance to win the division but should at least be in the hunt for a Wild Card spot.

The other teams should be also-rans.

Div II

Based on recent history, the Black Sheep should be considered favorites. Every year Tommy Ristau adds a stud or two to his roster. Where are they this year? They've lost Pio Davila and Fonseca and Morgan have not yet signed up. The team looks weaker on paper but I'm sure they'll still be tough. Hal Hale will help.

An aside: Where is the new blood in 4.5 this year??? Am I just uninformed or are there very few new impact players out there? Clue me in.

Ssshhhhwings will be the same type team. A little older, a little greyer, and rumor has it they've lost Giordanelli. It seems like they've been slightly regressing year after year.

Are the Gypsies interesting? Are they a threat? I don't see it, though they have some firepower in Muhala and Li/Regent, if Phong is able to play a full schedule.


Another lopsided division. Are the Hurricanes the favorites to win citywides? It's not a slam dunk, by any means. How much will Greg Jones play? Is Borkop healthy? Has Phoummarath lost a step? If two of those three play at full strength, this team will be hard to beat in singles. Baer/Jones have been tough in doubles. Foster is hitting the shit out of the ball in practice, but will it translate? Jannuzzi is crafty. The pieces are there, and with Benzon/Freeman running the show an impact addition is always possible/probable.

Ummm...who else is there to talk about in this division? Is Armen Allahverdian the best non-Hurricane in the division?

Div IV

Hmmm...an interesting division. To me, Copperfield looks to be the class of the division. How will they manage their roster of 20 players? Will Kudrick be able to devote much time to Thursday night matches? They've got options if he doesn't. Anderson Kelly is a nice add. McMullan and Martinez can play some singles. The Kents are dangerous. What will the doubles lineup look like in the big matches?

I can't see the Deucebags contending. Goldberg, Schlensker, Chavarria, Bishop, and Morales are all possible number two singles guys. Where's the number one? Tran has become a top doubles guy, and the Dugas brothers have some nice wins, but I don't see the firepower necessary to challenge Copperfield.

The Jedi Knights are exactly what they have been lately. A bunch of older guys who can play some good doubles. Very Shwing-like. Can they take enough lines or steal a win from the Dugasbags to prevent them from getting a wildcard?

Div V

Another fun division with three intriguing teams. As usual, Sugar Creek's roster is not complete, so we will have to speculate that they'll be similar to last year, minus Antoine Ford, a big loss. Word on the street is that Simon Jim is playing some good ball right now. He'll need to, because there is some singles firepower in this division.

Chancellor's will be a fun team to watch. James Dat Bui, Hung Nguyen and Huy Nguyen are all solid singles options. Has Bui elevated his game to the elite 4.5 level? The doubles seems slightly weak on this team. A bunch of ex-4.0 guys who will have to earn their stripes against the big boys. They're capable. Lan Nguyen looks like a player and will help out immensely.

Finally, the JCC Blast will be a threat. Pete Taylor has converted to a two-handed backhand and I hear that his practice results have been good. Has Greg Medford lost a step...you'd be surprised how many different opinions I've heard. Who will be a solid doubles line for this team? There's not much proven 4.5 doubles success and that may come back to haunt this team.

Monday, April 18, 2011

"The Coke"

As noted, the Draws are out. For what it's worth, here are my picks after a cursory glance at the draws:

M 4.0S George Hernandez

M 4.5S Steven Atherton

M 5.0S Tim Green

M 4.0D DeLaPaz/Le

M 4.5D Johnson/Swanson

M 5.0D Dibua/Dibua

Didn't want to go crazy, but I picked a couple of "upsets" for fun.

Friday, April 15, 2011

New Post

Sorry, I've been busy. The season has snuck up on me (is this the first time the season has ever started BEFORE the "Coke"????) and I will try to do a preview in the next couple of days (after doing my taxes, of course).

Haven't seen too much that's piqued my interest, other than the fact that the "Unicorns" 4.0 team could be a major player. I had several "recruiting targets" in the offseason, and struck out on a lot of them. Some of them are showing up on other teams and it will be interesting to see if my judgment of their worth is proven correct or incorrect.

Anyway, I digress...this was mainly a new post so that people could see the comments. Carry on.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Davis Cup Tickets On Sale 5-April @ 10a

Thought most folks know this already but here are the specifics on tickets sales for the Davis Cup.

USTA Members will have exclusive access to tickets for the 2011 U.S. vs. Spain Davis Cup quarterfinal in Austin starting April 5 at 10 a.m. CDT until April 6 at 11:59 p.m. CDT with the general public on-sale beginning Friday, April 8.

Here is a seating map that breaks down the pricing tiers

Happy Hunting for tickets, here is the pricing scheme for the series of Fri, Sat, Sun.

Level 1 - Lower Bowl ($500)
Level 2 - Lower Bowl ($390)
Level 3 - Lower Bowl ($270)
Level 4 - Upper Bowl ($140)
Level 5 - Upper Bowl ($90)

This post was inspired by the Austin Tennis Blog BTW.  

4.0 Divisions Are Out

It looks as though the 3.5 and 4.0 divisions have been decided. As I understand it, League Committee president Freddy Soewito and Lakeside legend Mike Spoor lent their helping hands in trying to assure that the divisions were geographically and competitively balanced.

There are six divisions, five of which have six teams and one has 5, as an effort was made to have almost every team have a ten match schedule. As I understand it, the six division winners and the four wild cards (teams with the best records) will qualify for citywides. I was not part of the process, so I may be in error on some of the details.

My only gripe is a minor (and selfish) one. In 4.0, there are five perennial powers in my opinion. Hurricanes, Lakeside, Chancellor's, Sienna Overhitters and Copperfield Shock and Awe (they're debatable I suppose). Two of those teams were placed in the same division.

My sleeper team for this year is the Good Guys (assuming Helvenson, Sherbondy, Mei and Guerrini all sign up). Keep an eye on them, somehow they avoided being decimated by bump-ups despite having some success last year.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Summer League" Signups have begun

It's too early yet to figure out who will be the teams to beat. I've heard numerous rumors of how things might shake out, but will reserve judgment until things are official.

There are a few things of note thus far. It looks like Jochen Moser will be putting together a 5.0 team. I don't expect them to compete for a Sectionals berth, but it will be nice to have a new team out there. In 4.5 JCC will be fielding two teams this year. The team captained by Joe Warren has designs on being a factor, and may well be one. My old teammate Pete Taylor is already on their roster, and I expect Greg Medford will also be playing, giving them a potentially strong one-two singles punch. If their doubles lineup ends up looking like I expect it will, there will be some holes in the lineup, but they WILL be dangerous.

If Benzon/Freeman don't put together a serious 4.5 team, then things will again be wide open this year.

Nothing exciting is happening in 4.0 thus far.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Weekend Update

Congratulations are in order for the Fort Worth Tri-Level team, as they won a squeaker over Jason Freeman's Houston team by pulling out a 10-8 third set breaker in the 4.0 line. Legendary captain Bob Somabut came up big ON the court this time, and spanked a backhand winner on match point to seal the deal.

Fort Worth will be headed to Indian Wells to compete at Tri-Level nationals, playing aside Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova and the rest of the stellar field in the beautiful Coachella Valley. Best of luck to Joel Pickett's crew. He was a class act throughout the weekend.

It was a good weekend for some of my fellow Metropolitan Racquet Club members in the major zone held in San Antonio this weekend. Rob Collins, who was seeded sixth, took home the Open Singles crown, beating Adrian Valdez along the way and not dropping a set. Top seeded Matt Drake took home the 4.0 crown and his first major zone.

The Houston area had a good showing overall. John Patch took the 4.5 singles and Tim Green won another 5.0 singles major zone, though the field had only five participants. Hats off to Cy-Ridge alumni Jason Owsley and Tommy Do, who reached the semis in the 4.0 doubles. Do also made it to the semis of the singles.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

San Antonio Major Zone and Tri-Level

The HEB Major Zone will be played this weekend in San Antonio. Local players are top-seeded in the 4.0 division (Matt Drake) and 5.0 division (Tim Green). There seems to be a dearth of 4.5 Houstonians playing tournaments this year. Jon Griffin is seeded third, but there are few other locals of note in the draw.

Also this weekend is the Tri-Level Sectionals being held in Kingwood. Jason Freeman again has a powerful team which will face tough competition with San Antonio, SETX and Dallas in their flight.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

HTA Board

The HTA had its first Board meeting last night and I was in attendance (embarrassingly, I showed up ten minutes late after the meeting had already started). There were probably 40 or 50 people present at the meeting with representatives from seemingly all segments of the local tennis population. There were several league players on the board...off the top of my head I remember: Michael Martinez, Marcus Robinson, Lance Loken, David Frels, Peter Talosig, and Freddy Soewito. I'm sure I left some league people out. The meeting itself was pretty mundane, basically an introduction and then an approval of the budget for the year.

For those of you who don't know, the HTA has a new office in the USPTA building located on BriarPark. They have just recently finished moving in the new office furniture which was generously donated by Shell at the urging of one of our active members. Incidentally, the HTA is in need of a refrigerator for the office if anyone would like to contribute. Please contact Cheryl or me if you are able to help. Any donation would be tax deductible.

Also, just as an FYI, even though I am currently a member of the board it doesn't mean that I will be a shill for the HTA. I will continue to voice my opinions regardless of whether they conflict with HTA policies. That being said, we all have our biases, and mine are positive towards HTA. I've been playing league for 15 years or so and to be honest, have had dealings mainly with only two people at HTA: Cheryl and Diana Wengler. My experiences with both have been very positive, and thus I have had a positive impression of HTA.

Anyway, I'll get off my soapbox. It's a fairly slow time of the year for tennis, though things are starting to move with HTA leagues and Tri-Level either underway or on the immediate horizon.