Monday, November 26, 2012

2013 Ratings are out today

Props to Lance for compiling spreadsheet.

Here is link to file:

Let the recruiting begin.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Message from HTA on League Changes

Some folks may have seen this already, but with those who don't get it here are some further clarifications on the new league format.
End of year ratings **should** be out the week after thanksgiving. 

Letter from HTA President Regarding 2013 League Changes (11/15/12)
HTA League Players,
As you may have heard, the USTA has restructured their leagues for 2013 highlighted by the addition of the USTA 40+leagues for those age 40 and over.  The Houston Tennis Association (HTA) is excited to offer this opportunity to our players as statistics show that 70% of local players fit within this category and this will provide an additional chance for advancement to Sectional and National Championships.  With the league schedule crowded already, accommodating new opportunities demands adjustment to existing offerings. 
In an effort to maximize the offerings available for HTA members and local clubs, we are using this time of transition to institute changes to the traditional HTA schedule and to more closely align USTA and HTA league rules in an effort to establish more consistency in our products.  Please see the summary below.

Overview of Significant Changes for 2013

·         New Leagues Added: A USTA Adult 40 & Over league is being added in the spring, and an HTA Adult 40 & Over doubles league is being added in the fall. These are new play opportunities in the Houston area.
·         HTA Leagues NTRP Level Conformity: HTA Leagues will now match the NTRP eligibility requirements as USTA leagues.  For USTA and HTA leagues, the posted NTRP level of the team (with the exception of Open divisions) will be the maximum rating of any player on the roster for that team, and players need to be at the team NTRP level or no more than .5 lower.  For example, a 4.0 team can be comprised of 4.0 and 3.5 players only.  This allows matches to count toward NTRP, provides more leveled, competitive play, diminishes the opportunity for manipulation of ratings and conforms our offerings to the computer-generated NTRP rating system model.
·         HTA Leagues Lines of Play:  HTA is changing its doubles, singles and mixed doubles leagues to 3 lines of play rather than 4. This will make it easier to field teams, will decrease the number of courts required of the tennis club or facility, and will accommodate additional play opportunities provided through the introduction of the 40 & Over divisions.
·         HTA Doubles Leagues Schedule Changes: With the addition of the new 40 & Over leagues, the HTA spring and fall doubles leagues will be changing days.  Men will now play on Wednesday evenings, and women will play on Monday evenings or Friday mornings.
For a detailed description of all leagues offered through HTA for 2013, click here: "2013 League Spreadsheet" .  This link includes league type, format, dates, days, and playoff information.  Additionally, the League Coordinator will send out season-specific flyers as in the past.  There will soon be a league calendar added to the website where clicking on a specific season will lead you to the prepared flyer. 
The HTA leadership recognizes that change results in a variety of responses, and we ask for your cooperation and understanding as we navigate through this time of transition.  The changes are anticipated to endure for 2013 and beyond, but there will be ongoing review once results can be measured.  Please know that our goal is to provide leveled social and competitive tennis playing opportunities for all HTA players. 
For those desiring to give feedback, please send your comments to   Answers to what we anticipate to be "Frequently Asked Questions" are on the website. 
Thank you for your continued support of the Houston Tennis Association.
Emily Schaefer
HTA President

Friday, November 2, 2012

New League Schedules/Formats for 2013 Posted

Some folks may have seen this already but the specifics for the new age based leagues are available.   Below is summary email from HTA, and I have highlighted the two men's leagues that would be of most interest to folks here below.  

I guess I am slightly confused over how this is going to work:

  1. Does the over 40 league feed into any sectional/national structure?  
  2. Can one play on two teams (if eligible)?
  3. Is there a specific age cut-off for the >40 league?  It just says "during 2013", I guess that means Dec 31?

Interesting to me that the young guy league is fewer lines (2S + 2D) and the old guy league is similar to the USTA format of 2S + 3D.

I believe it should be the other way around as it seems like the young guy league will have more people signed up for it.

Maybe we will finally get rid of this no-ad crap and can play our local leagues like the rest of the state does.... Is anyone listening?

Also, for those who play in the A division of the North Suburban league, this new USTA approach might erode the participation in the North Suburban league.

Hello Captains,

With the USTA League Restructure (for more info click here) going into effect in 2013, HTA has to make changes too.  After reviewing our membership’s ages and the survey results we found that 60% of men and 70% of women Houston league players are 40 and over.  Close to 70% who qualify showed interest in the new USTA 40 & Over league. 

USTA believes the 40+ league will be just as successful as 18+ in the coming years, HTA wants to set up the new league for success.  To do so we have to make room at the public and private facilities in the spring for the new 40 & Over USTA league.  To do this the format for HTA spring league must change.  See 2013 Spring League Flyer and 2013 League Calendar Grid attached. 

2013 Houston Tennis Association Spring League Calendar:

·         HTA Spring Adult League: Monday Night Men.  Format 2 doubles; 2 singles.  January 14-March 18
·         USTA 40 & Over League: Tuesday Night Ladies.  Format 3 doubles; 2 singles.  January 8-March 12
·         HTA Spring Adult League: Wednesday Night Ladies.  Format 2 doubles; 2 singles.  January 16-March 20
·         USTA 40 & Over League: Thursday Night Men.  Format 3 doubles, 2 singles.  January 10-March 21
·         USTA 40 & Over League: Thursday Morning Ladies.  Format 3 doubles; 2 singles.  January 10-March 14
·         HTA Spring Adult League: Friday Morning Ladies.  Format 4 lines doubles.  January 18-March 22
·         USTA 40 & Over Mixed League: Sunday Evening Mixed.  Format 3 doubles.  January 6-March 17   
·         HTA Spring Mixed League: Sunday Evening Mixed.  Format 4 doubles.  January 27-April 14
·         WTT Corporate Cup League: 3rd Saturday monthly play.  Format 2 doubles; 2 singles; 2 mixed.  January 19-August 17

Please prepare for the new season in the coming weeks, contact your players about who qualifies for what league.  Figure out what league(s) suits your team best.  Registration for all spring leagues will start after the 2012 End of Year Ratings are published in late November.  Check out the full Spring League Details here.  

I will be emailing league night captains individually with home court options/procedures.  Check the website for updates on league: Visit, Hover over the ‘News’ link in the yellow row near the top of the page, Choose ‘Hot News’, Choose ‘2013 USTA League Restructure & Spring League Info’ for the official Spring League page. 

Here are the flyers:

Friday, October 26, 2012

4.5 Nationals This Weekend

The Men's and Women's teams head to Tuscon this weekend for 4.5 Nationals. I spoke briefly with Jason Freeman this weekend and he is optimistic about his team's chances to do well. They've got a moderatly tough but not impossible grouping, with Florida, Hawaii, and an Eastern team that appears to be pretty good.
By all accounts, Hersh Pise is playing some really good tennis, and he will be relied upon heavily.

The first match for the men will be at 9AM Tuscon time against Florida, with the match against Eastern taking place in the afternoon. I've played one of the guys on the Florida team, and seen another play. They'll be tough.

The women have a similar grouping, with Florida and Eastern also in their flight, in addition to a team from El Paso (El Paso is in the Southwest Section, not Texas). Betsie's team will also start out with Florida, playing at the same time as the men.

Good luck to all...bring home some hardware to Houston.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

4.0 Nationals

Tuan Tran and his 4.0 Mob Squad are out in Tuscon for 4.0 Nationals, which begins on Friday. Hopefully they've had a chance to get acclimated to the thin air, as the ball does tend to fly a bit out in Tuscon.

The Mob appears to have a favorable flight, starting out with historically weak Intermountain at 7:30 on Friday. They also play Northern on Friday afternoon. Saturday's slate appears to be tougher, with Missouri Valley and Caribbean the opponents.

There's no way to truly tell which sections will be weak or strong, so you have to start out with your A lineup. I'm sure Tuan will be scouting the Northern section since Texas got stuck in the only five team flight and it would be nice to find a match to rest the top singles guys.

Good luck to the Mob Squad.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Nationals Talk

Craig Bobo takes his 5.0 team (which dominated Texas) to Indian Wells for Nationals. The team starts out bright and early on Friday, facing perennial power Florida at 7:30 AM. They have no bargain in their second match of the day, against Middle States at 2PM. Hopefully Craig will have the full complement of players for a grueling first day.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sectionals Chatter

Sorry I haven't done any investigation into the teams that will be present at Sectionals. Being on the sidelines definitely lowers the interest level quite a bit. That said, I wish all of our teams well and feel confident that at least one team (5.0 men? 4.5 ladies?) from Houston will be making a trip to Nationals.

I "chatted" briefly with Jason Freeman and Tuan Tran, and both captains seem to have their teams ready to peak. I'll be rooting for them.

I hope everyone will post news and their impressions here. I will be sure to pass along any information that I receive.

Good luck all.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wild Cards and Brackets Posted

The Wild cards have been defined and released for the 3-5Aug sectionals

Link here

In 4.0:
Mob Squad got Wild SA in their bracket
Good Guys ended up in flight with Ft Worth, Amarillo, Wild Austin and Waco
Noho got Wild Dallas in their bracket

In 4.5:
JCC ended up with SETX, Austin and the Valley
Hurricanes got Wild Dallas
Noho got Wild Austin in their bracket

Good luck to all Htown in this event.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Midyears are out.

The usual disclaimer: These may bear little resemblance to the end-of-year ratings.

Chris usually posts a link to an excel spreadsheet, perhaps that will follow if he's not too busy.

Here they are:

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Going into Sunday....

Great matches yesterday.  Glad the rain stopped by but didn't stay.

Here is how 3.5 looks (we will give them top billing since they never get any love):
There are two spots for Houston this year.
The Pearland team and Tran's Expendables are both 2-0 coming into the final non-factor match.

Mike is carry a lot of self rates on this team.  Advice:  Play for 2nd place today. Leave the pride in the car.  They are on the court now!

Here is how 4.0 Looks:
For Flight I -
CuField has to win against Westside to stay out in front of Good Guys.  If Lance's team trips up and/or gets a DQ then it could be Good Guys who come out on top with fewer losses as of now. They need a 4-1 or better result to avoid getting burnt by the DQ.  Oh the irony of that happening.

Also outside chance that Westside wins v. CuField and has enough lines to end up on top. After 0-5 v. Good guys that seems unlikely.

For Flight II -
Mob Sqaud has locked it up.  Even in the even of a  0-5 loss to Cinco they will still come out ahead with fewest losses.  I would expect to see some line score management in this one...

It will be interesting to see how Thursday goes next week as the winner's flight is defined, the wildcard bracket is still TBD.  Good move by Texas to withhold this info.

For 4.5:
Flight I:
Hurricanes are in drivers seat with match against Blacksheep today.  They are looking good with only 2 losses to date, so even a loss to Westside still has them probable first place.

Lakeside has easy one today against Deucebags.
Prediction is:  Hurricanes, Lakeside, Westside

Flight II:
For all the smack talking JCC is sitting pretty going into Sunday.

They are playing the 0-2 HRC team.  Jam and CuField get to beat each other up this AM for 2nd place.  What happend to all of these junior studs everyone was saying is the gravy train to Arizona?

I hope I get to see my good friend again today in the parking lot.  I have NEVER been flicked off by a 60 year old woman in my life. If I was only faster with my camera that could have been the background for the blog for the rest of the year.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Wow. A lot of unexpected stuff happened last night. Some of the scores have yet been recorded, so I guess I'll have to speculate.

Let's start with 4.5. I'd not seen the Black Sheep play this year, but had heard nothing but raves from those who had. I knew, as did everyone, that their division was quite weak. I must admit I was skeptical, as it seems that every year we hear stuff about the Black Sheep only to see them flame out come playoff time. I was told Sanborn is unstoppable, that he and Davila would waltz through the playoffs. I'm curious to see what the singles matchups were last night. Anyone know?

In my mind JAM was still the favorite. Sydney has the pedigree, the resumé that nobody in 4.5 can match. Hornsby has been untouchable. I'd heard they would be using him in singles in the playoffs. I assumed he would shine there as well. JCC has a leg up on winning the flight, but is not out of the woods yet. Three teams ending up with one loss is a distinct possiblity. JAM will have to go for the jugular in each of its remaining matches.

I really don't see any way the Hurricane 4.5 team doesn't win their flight. They absolutely destroyed the Dbags last night with something not even approaching their best lineup.

As shocking as 4.5 was, the 4.0 Hurricanes losing (to the Phoenix?) was even a bigger surprise. Greg Nitayamekin is supposed to be one of the top 4.0's this year. Last night his career playoff record moved to 0-2 as self-rate Sebastian Olmos came from out of nowhere to beat him. The 'Canes still have matches against the other powers (Mob Squad, Unicorns), so they're by no means eliminated.

The Mob Squad took out the Unicorns 3-2. Crafty veteran Cuong Truong again came through in the clutch. The Unicorns unleashed a self-rate (William Loweth) who has primarily been playing 4.5, and he won easily at line 1 singles. Quizzically, they used both Phi Nguyen and Shishir Mohan in doubles. Kudos to Mob Captain Tuan Tran, who split himself and Bao Hangoc up in doubles. Tran paired with former junior standout Thomas Hoang and Bao played with Alastair Le, resulting in two doubles wins.

Finally, the Good Guys squeaked past Copperfield. Andrew Nguyen dominated in singles, winning 2 and 1. Copperfield paired up Bromley and Zach Salinas in doubles, where they barely won. Will Nguyen's win result in a DQ? If so, will that result in a reversal? I should know the answers to these questions, but I don't.
Props to the Sandwich Blaster, who came through with a big win for the Good Guys in doubles.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Weather Permitting...

I'm really looking forward to three matches tonight. In 4.5, I think the JAM-JCC match could be interesting. On paper, it should be JAM all the way. Mario Hornsby is 9-0 in doubles on the season, and has got to be 2012's Rookie of the Year. Does anyone really think Sydney Jim will lose? I'll believe it when I see it. Still, JCC's Kiser/Richardson combo has been unstoppable, Pete Taylor is still a quality singles guy, and players like Medford, MacKinnon, and Berry are dangerous. I'm still going with JAM 4-1.

In 4.0, there are two headliners to watch. The Good Guys play Copperfield. Copperfield's Heath Bromley and Zach Salinas played their first match of the season together. If I'm not mistaken, neither will get a strike for that one as the computer can't really assign a DNTRP with multiple players with no record. So Bromley probably has one strike. Would LOVE to see him match up against Andrew Nguyen... There are a bevy of solid guys on both teams: Salinas, Salinas, Bombonatti, Hays, Kiss, Mei, Helvenston, Le, Truong and a bunch of others. Should be a 3-2 match. A shame one of these teams won't make it to Dallas.

The other good 4.0 matchup is between the Unicorns and the Mob Squad. How good are the Unicorns? A better question: Just how good are Shishir Mohan and Phi Nguyen? Are they better than anything the Mob Squad can put out there? Do they give the Unicorns a 2-0 lead from the outset? I don't know, but it's definitely possible. Coke winners Tuan Tran and Bao Hangoc are the top 4.0 doubles team until someone beats them. Mob will have to find two more winning lines. Kim Lequoc? Joseph Mai? Thomas Hoang? Someone will have to come up big in crunch time. I see another 3-2 finish.

Also on tap tonight if Mother Nature cooperates: Hurricanes-Deucebags, Black Sheep-Lakeside, and Copperfield-HRC in 4.5, and Lakeside-Sienna and Canes-Phoenix in 4.0.

Friday, July 6, 2012

No Real Story Last Night in 4.0

Let's face it, only an upset last night would have been newsworthy. The HTA has done a good job of back-loading the schedule and the early matches are either mismatches or feature two (expected) also-rans.

The Hurricanes breezed to a win over a completely overmatched Cinco Ranch team. The Unicorns won 3-2, and displayed a complete lack of depth. Despite a couple of really nice pieces, they may not be ready for prime time. Due to a lack of court availability, the Good Guys will not finish beating up on Sienna until tonight. Finally, despite Pedro Saiz giving Mark Etienne a scare, the West Side Warriors handled Lakeside 3-2. Westside won three third set breakers.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Playoff Brackets

The 4.0 playoff pools have been released.

Teams in Flight I: Copperfield, Good Guys, Lakeside, West Side Warriors, Sienna
Teams in Flight II: CR-Comets, Hurricanes, Unicorns, West Side Phoenix, Mob Squad

Matches start on Thursday. On paper, none of the matches this Thursday are headliners.

At first glance, one might be tempted to assume that Flight II is a lot stronger (and it may be), as it contains the recent powers in 4.0: The Hurricanes, Unicorns and Mob Squad. Can Copperfield "rest" their vulnerable players until a match-up with the Good Guys? Oooh...that takes place on the 12th. Can't wait for that one.

I assume the 4.5 stuff will also be released shortly.

Very Sad News

I haven't been able to find anything in the Chronicle, but I've been told that Cheryl Hutlquist's husband has passed away after a battle with cancer. I will pass along more details as soon as I become aware of them.

Cheryl has been THE woman in Houston Tennis for as long as I can remember, and has put her heart and soul into the job. My thoughts and prayers go out to her and her family.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Yeah, I've been doing this league thing for a long time. And I've even had this blog for a while, but somehow I'm still confused about how some things work. Perhaps a wise reader can un-muddy the waters for me once and for all.

Will someone explain to me the DQ rules for city playoffs? I remember in 2009 Daniel Dolsberry was DQ'd during city playoffs and yet his win didn't even get reversed. I don't remember the reason why, but with city playoffs approaching and with so many key players seemingly in jeopardy, I'm very curious as to what the process is. Will a player DQ'ed in his second match have his previous win reverted to a loss? I am guessing Numbers Guy or some veteran, savvy captain may know the answer to some of these questions? If so, I'd love to be illuminated.

The 4.0 schedule has teams playing on Thursday, July 5th, Thursday the 12th, and then on Saturday and Sunday. In 4.5, they will play on Thursday the 12th and then on Saturday and Sunday. The whole DQ strategy fascinates me, as some 4.0 teams may choose to try to win the first round or two without playing vulnerable players, rolling the dice. One would assume that should a player make to the final weekend, he will be "safe" as the results will probably not be run until Monday. Will results from Thursday (night) the 12th be run in time for players to be DQ'd by Saturday? I would assume so, but who knows?

Friday, June 22, 2012

4.0 Playoff Picture Clearing Up

4.0 playoff qualifiers are almost finalized. Division winners in all but Flight 5 have been decided, they are:

Copperfield-Shank and Whiff
LLTC-Hurricanes 4.0
LLTC-Mob Squad
MPTC-The Good Guys
Lakeside CC
Cinco Ranch Westside-Comets

Flight 5 is between Sienna and Unicorns, but considering Unicorns’ opponents in their two remaining matches, I’d put money on Unicorns. So that would be 7 of the 10 teams accounted for. Everything below assumes Unicorns take care of business; if not, then it’s a little more complicated.

For the three wild cards, WSTC-Phoenix with 82.5% lines won has it in the bag, leaving two spots. After that it gets a little muddier. WSTC-4.0 Warriors are next with 73.3%, but with two matches yet to play (one played last night but unreported), that could go up to 80.0% or down to 55.0% (very unlikely). Sienna Plantation-4.0 is next with 70.0%, no matches remaining. Next is Pin Oak-Falcons at 68.6%, one makeup match remaining so that could go up to 72.5% or down to 60.0%. Lastly, still in the hunt (at first glance) are LLTC-Rolido Boys and LLTC-Columbia Lakes, both at 67.5%, no matches remaining, if you look at the standings. However, since the Acers team-defaulted a match on June 7, this voids all of their matches for standings- and seedings-calculation purposes. This changes Rolido Boys’ effective lines won/lost to 22 and 13, or 62.9%, so they’re out of it.

Summarizing the wild card candidates, since the above paragraph is a little complicated:

WSTC-Phoenix 82.5% (finished)
Sienna Plantation-4.0 70.0% (finished)
LLTC-Columbia Lakes 67.5% (finished), so any team needs to beat 67.5% to get in
WSTC-4.0 Warriors 73.3%, could go up to 80.0% or down to 55.5%
Pin Oak-Falcons 68.6%, could go up to 72.5% or down to 60.0%

Based on prior results against their upcoming opponents, I’d project Warriors to finish at 75.0% and Pin Oak to finish at 70.0%. This would leave Pin Oak and Sienna tied, but Pin Oak with more sets lost which I assume would be the next tiebreaker (but I don’t really know). So I’ll project Phoenix, Warriors, and Sienna as the wild cards. But Pin Oak could still pull it out with a strong closing effort.

Please check my math, it's easy to make mistakes with this stuff.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The End

Most teams complete their seasons today. Putting aside the HRC match, (a big win will allow them to be playoff cannon fodder) the one match of importance this week is the JAM-Lakeside. JAM will need to get the Jim brothers eligible for city playoffs (should they make it). Unless they're on their death bed, it's hard to see them sitting this one out. It's a home match for JAM, and I would have to think they're prohibitive favorites. I give them about n 80% chance of winning, thus dashing the tiny playoff hopes of the Chancellor's Mob Squad.

The 5.0 division was decided long ago, and in 4.0 there is little drama remaining. DQ's, playoff eligibility and that last playoff berth are the only things of interest.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Under the Radar?

I don't think I've mentioned the Unicorns once all year. They lost the vast majority of their talent from the team which put a huge scare into the National Runners-up, the 4.0 Hurricanes. They could have been very competitive at 4.0 Nationals.

Quietly, they've added a few pieces to their roster lately which seem intriguing. They've got some juniors with a lot of Champ tournament experience. Phi Nguyen had a win this year against Greg Nitayamekin, who's regarded as one of the top 4.0 singles players this season. Kristian Rodriguez is another junior who appears to be rapidly improving. Garrett Browne is another Champ junior. Riley Deshazo had a nice high school resume. The Unicorns still have two matches with scores to be entered. Will all of their juniors get qualified? Will any of them be competent doubles players (usually a weakness of juniors)? Time will tell, but this team bears watching.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Last night

I made it out to LLTC last night and caught a little of the feature match between the Good-er Guys and Hurricanes. I watched a bunch of the singles, which was decent but unspectacular. I think I expected more out of Martinez, given his two wins over Pete Taylor. I've seen both Pise and Cooper play better, but it was a very competitive match. Great win for Scott Foster and Matt Mussenden. The Hurricanes appear to have found a formidable doubles pairing.

Both the Hurricane and Mob Squad 4.0's were out there, but there wasn't really anything interesting going on there. Yawners. I did notice that Zach Salinas played two matches yesterday (was one a continuation of a previous match? Too lazy to look it up). Chances he gets DQ'd before City Playoffs? I'm putting it at 50%. If I were the captain, I would have sat him. Bromley remained on the sidelines.

I'm glad we finally know the playoff situation, or at least most of it. All the second place teams will make it in 4.5, and three of them in 4.0. As far as I know, the mechanism for choosing the 4.0 teams has not been announced. I don't mind that so much. I think it's clear that the WSTC-Warriors and the 2nd place finisher between Lakeside/WSTC-Phoenix will earn two of the three slots. The other one is still up for grabs. Interesting that the Rolido Boys received a default against the Acers last week..if I'm not mistaken, that result should be somehow thrown out when calculating the Wild Card. I don't know the circumstances of the match, but not playing it may come back to haunt the Rolido Boys. Perhaps Numbers Guy can elaborate.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Canes-Good-er Guys Part II

The Good-er Guys took the Hurricanes by surprise in their first matchup. On paper they were the weaker team, but Cooper, Jannuzzi and Hirvela/Brice came up big. The rosters of both teams have improved since. Jay Schroff, Robert Baker and Mark Bowman(?) are significant additions. The team of Hirvela/Brice are still one of the top duos in the league.

The Canes did not have Robert Plummer or Soong Hay Tam on the roster in the first meeting. Will Tam make his debut this week? He's a huge asset to any team with a glittering history at Sectionals and Nationals. I'm hoping Hersch Pise and Ryan Cooper match up again. I'll give Pise the slight edge despite the earlier result. I'm calling for a 4-1 Hurricane victory.

Not much to note in 4.0. Earlier in the week, GTAC's Iouri Pochoumenski got DQ'd, becoming the third 4.0 player to get whacked. Will there be more? Will there be any late season surprise additions to rosters? For some teams, keeping people eligible and getting them qualified are the main goals until Citywides.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Blast - Canes the Headliner This Week

It's not a do-or-die match for the Hurricanes, but the surprising emergence of the Good-er Guys gives this one some added importance, particularly if Mussenden is unable to pull out the third set in the resumption of the first Blast-Canes match.

People have written off the Hurricanes this year, and that's understandable given the large number of quality teams this year, but their top 8 can be formidable. Pise and Martinez are a great one-two punch in singles. They've got some proven quality 4.5 doubles players on that roster. For example, they could have the following six players in doubles: Tam, Plummer, Zachary, Mitchell, Mussenden, Morton. Mix and match them however you want, but the Canes can certainly be a tough out come playoff time. If they get there...

The Blast's roster has undergone some improvements since the first matchup as well, with the addition of Cy MacKinnon. Taylor appears to have taken a small step back from his 2011 form, but he's still formidable. Kiser and Richardson have been money. Add in Medford, Berry and Griffin and there's quality throughout.

Still, I think the urgency of the Canes' situation will have them coming out with guns-a-blazing and they will emerge with a hard-fought victory.

In 4.0, the noteworthy match is Lakeside versus the Westside Phoenix. Both teams look to be in good shape for a playoff berth, but at this point...who knows? HTA??? Mostly in 4.0 I will be looking at rosters this week: does anyone get added? Does anyone get DQ-ed?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Thursday, May 31, 2012

This week

Haven't had much time to look at anything this week.  The only match of consequence that I'm aware of is between Lakeside and the Mob Squad in 4.5.  I'm sure there are others...has that wild card situation been clarified yet?????

Friday, May 25, 2012

Things have heated up.

There was a lot going on last night. I was out at Sugar Creek to see the much-anticipated rematch between the Mob Squad and JAM. Sugar Creek took the Mob to the woodshed, winning 5-0. I've seen Sydney Jim play much better, but he was able to break through the rust/nerves against a tough opponent to win a first set tiebreaker and cruised in the second.

Sugar Creek has got to be in the discussion of teams with a legitimate chance to make it to Nationals. Mario Hornsby is allegedly their top doubles player, and he and Simon Jim looked dangerous last night when they got it rolling. Add in the always solid Burrmann/Day combo and you've got three legitimate Sectionals quality lines. The question marks will be that second singles line and the third doubles line. Tim Marco is playing with renewed vigor, and he and Stephen Coyle convincingly won a match where I thought they were slight underdogs last night. Kevin Lotz at line two singles doesn't appear as fit as last year. We'll see if eventually that costs them. They do have other options there (Baer, Cooney, Coyle et al.).

A couple of new players made their debuts last night in 4.5.  I'd heard good things about Robert Baker and wondered if he would be able to get the Good-er Guys over the hump against the Blast last night. He and Ward Jannuzzi were unable to take down Eric Kiser and Craig Richardson last night, falling in straight sets, despite Baker's huge serve. I was told before the season started that Kiser and Richardson would not lose this year. I was doubtful. Looks like I may have been wrong.

California import Cy MacKinnon was the other new face last night, putting a big scare into always solid Ryan Cooper before falling in the super breaker. The Blast appear to have added some firepower that will make them a player in citywides. I REALLY hope Houston gets a wild card in 4.5 this year. If you assume, as I do, that JAM will win in 4.5, that would leave a really exciting fight for a second spot. The Black Sheep, Copperfield, Blast and maybe the Hurricanes all appear to have really strong teams. And JAM is by no means a shoe-in to beat any of them.

The huge battle in 4.0 was not a disappointment last night. I had received some texts which seemed to indicate that the Warriors were cruising early against the Mob Squad. It looked like they had two lines in hand early. But things can change quickly, and the Mob came storming back to take a 3-2 win, with not too much drama, as all matches were straight setters. Nice to see Joseph Mai making a huge contribution in the victory. Cuong Truong absolutely destroyed Terry Hobbs, who had beaten him the first time the two teams met.

The only other 4.0 news I heard was that Andrew Nguyen had yet again put up another double bagel. Apparently the score managing memo never reached the Good Guys. More power to 'em. There was a lot of discussion years ago about whether 6-0, 6-0 matches are used in computer ratings calculations. The theory was that many captains inadvertently enter defaults as 6-0, 6-0, so the computer throws them out when it calculates its DNTRPs. Whether that's true or not is anybody's guess, but it's got to be the only thing that might save Nguyen from a DQ. The kid must be a damn good player.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Big Week

Some big matches this week, with the Mob Squad taking center stage. They have a crucial match against Sugar Creek in 4.5. The playing status of Sydney Jim has been much discussed and is the million dollar question. If you're the Mob Squad, do you try to anticipate where he'll play and adjust your lineup accordingly?

In 4.0, The Mob Squad looks to avenge their week one loss to Westside's Warriors. How crucial is this match? Who knows. We still have no idea of the Wild Card situation, so the match could be do-or-die. Or not. Unbelievable.

We will also see the 4.5 rematch of the Deucebags and Copperfield this week. There have been some roster changes since the week one Copperfield win. On paper, Copperfield looks too strong for the Bags. But they don't play the matches on paper...

Also in 4.5, the surprising Good-er Guys take on the JCC Blast. The Good-er guys have added a player, Robert Baker, who may make an impact. Will it be enough? I tend to say "No".

There are several matches in 4.0 with possible playoff implications. Or not. Who knows? Rolido Boys take on the Hurricanes, who beat them 3-2 in week one. RPM plays the Good Guys in another matchup of first and second place teams.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Changing Landscape

Obviously the Sugar Creek loss in 4.5 was the big news last night. What a three horse race it's shaping up to be in that division! Next week's battle between the Mob Squad and Sugar Creek will be a must-see for me.

I'm just looking at the scores now, but I've already noticed a HUGE development in 4.0, as Copperfield has added Cy-Falls star Zach Salinas and Langham Creek's Heath Bromley. One high school coach I spoke with absolutely raved about them. With Daniel Kallus and Mike Salinas manning the singles slot, they have three very good lines. If they add another junior or two, they will be a notch above anyone else in 4.0.

People are telling me that there will be only one Wild Card in 4.0? Is this confirmed? Incidentally, one of my biggest pet peeves is the fact that the number of Wild Cards is not announced before the season starts. Can you imagine if the NFL or MLB did something like that?

Rolido Boys won 4-1 last night and stayed in contention for the Wild Card(s?). Current second place teams with 4 matches recorded: Rolido Boys 14-6, Mob Squad 14-6, RPM 13-7, Sienna 14-6, Phoenix 15-5, Pin Oak 13-7. If there's only one spot, that's quite a dogfight.

The Good-er guys are the surprise of the season in 4.5, and they kept rolling last night, with Jannuzzi's loss to young, talented JT Fischer being the only blemish.

The Blast kept rolling last night, with both singles guys putting up ridiculous double bagels. Don't think I've ever seen BOTH singles guys do that before. If the Jedi Knights ever disbanded, Tom Caine would get a big free agent contract offer.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

This Week's Ramblings

I haven't posted anything since last week. I'd say the biggest news of the week was the Copperfield tournament.The most interesting development, league-wise, was the performance of Greg Nitayamekin. His wins over John Patch and Pete Rios have stamped him as a powerhouse should he decide to qualify in 4.0. The kid plays a ton, and is a really good ball striker. Nice to see his improvement over the last year.

In 4.5 news, I noticed Hersh Pise straight-setted Anuj Singh, one of Copperfield's hot shot juniors. Maybe we SHOULDN'T be putting too much stock in those 3 kids... Matt Schlensker had an outstanding tournament, which should earn him some more playing time in a singles role for the Deucebags.

If I had to submit a ballot of my "top 10" every week, the Westside Black Sheep may have moved up without doing anything. I'm more skeptical about the Copperfield juniors, and with every passing week I get more doubtful that Sydney Jim will play 4.5. Without him, Sugar Creek is certainly beatable.

In 4.0 the team that intrigues me most is the Westside Warriors. They may have snuck up on the Mob Squad in week one, but they obviously have talent, and Etienne will be a tough out for anybody. I'd have to put him at the top of the 4.0 heap until someone knocks him off. I have no idea how good Andrew Nguyen is...but will be surprised if he remains eligible. He self-rated at 3.5...does this offer a little extra cushion for disqualification at the 4.0 level? I wouldn't think so...

I still think the Mob Squad and Hurricanes are the two best 4.0 teams, but Westside and Copperfield bear watching. There's been little news out of Lakeside because, frankly, their roster is not sexy and their division seems weak. Plus, their huge flame-out in the playoffs last year has left many people wondering if their time has passed.

Barring an upset, the 5.0 race may well have been decided last week.

As for this week's matches....yawn.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Week Four Results, please learn to park

So Week 4 got played somehow without issue.  The weather looked a bit-iffy at LLTC as did the parking tonight.  Who is this bendeho in the cheap Bemer?   Look folks, we all rush from work/school/home and fight traffic to get to limited parking only to find this asshat parked across two of the front spots.  Please.

Here are the results as the pour in ---
Good-er Guys squeaked by Hurricanes 4.5 in a tight one.
Lakeside rolled over Clambakes 4-1
Hurricanes 4.0 rolled 4-1

Any other drama tonight?  Rumor has it from high sources that the CuField Juniors are the real deal.  Let's see if they can nut up come July.

Happy trash talking.

Please also recall that this Sunday is mother's day. We all probably have someone to call/hug/whatever, so do it.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Week Four

Roster additions have certainly slowed down, although Odion Dibua joining the Copperfield team certainly made waves this week. How good are their juniors? I honestly thought Sugar Creek might end up with Odion and that their roster might end up being strong enough to make it to Nationals. That still may happen, of course, but now the big question is: just how good are those juniors that Copperfield added this year? Sugar Creek may have a legitimate hurdle in its quest for Dallas.

In other news, we already have our first DQ, as 4.0 player Vijaysimha Chitiyala from JCC was the victim. His team was not a legitimate threat, and his record (all playing #1 doubles) will not dazzle you.

Anybody know the story behind the dispute of Copperfield Shank and Whiff's (4.0) 3-2 win over Lost Forest last week?

On to this week's matchups: The biggies, as I see it, are: The two undefeated Copperfield 4.0 teams do battle. I wonder if Kallus will be in the lineup? LLTC Mob Squad 4.0 heads to West Side to take on the undefeated division leading Spin Doctors. I would expect the Squad to bring out all of their big guns with their backs to the wall.

The 4.5 schedule is fairly tame. Ward Jannuzzi, Chad Henagan and the Good-er Guys will face the 4.5 Canes. I haven't heard any news on when last week's Hurricane-Blast match will be completed, but these things usually drag on. Wow...that's it as far as remotely interesting matches (at least to me). I guess the surprising 2-1 Clambakes also deserve a mention as they face Lakeside Country Club. Lakeside looks like they may struggle to secure a playoff spot this year, so every line may be important.

Big matchup in 5.0 as prohibitive favorites Copperfield take on WillowFork-Hawaii 5.0, who are also undefeated.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Third Week

It looks like things are pretty uneventful this week. Hurricane 4.5 and JCC Blast is probably the feature attraction, while the Deucebags-Ssshhhwings match may also be interesting.

I took a quick glance at the rosters. A few interesting additions but nothing mind-blowing: The Clambakes have added Anthony Jones. Hurricane 4.5's added Hersch Pise. Jedi Knights added talented old-timer Steve Wedderburn. Mob Squad 4.0 added Edgar Dean, and Copperfield 4.0 added Daniel Kallus, who makes them very dangerous.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Trip to the Courts.

I took my maiden voyage to the league tennis courts this year as I headed down to Chancellor's to watch the 4.5 matchup between the Mob Squad and the creatively-named Lakeside-Men 4.5. It was nice to see so many old friends and, momentarily at least, the competitive tennis had me longing to play. I'm sure it'll pass.

It was a must-win for Louis Lu's team, and Lakeside accommodated by not traveling with their two best doubles players, Glenn Wright and Tommy Connell. The singles matchups were juicy and as expected: Hung Nguyen v. Don Rios and the battle of the Buis. It was my first real look at Hung Nguyen. He's very smooth with that backhand slice, moving it around the court nicely and mixing in a number of well-disguised drop shots with it. As usual, Rios was hitting some powerful forehands, but Nguyen won a first set tiebreaker and seemed to gather steam in the second, cruising to a straight set win. I had given Quack a slight edge over James in the other singles match, and it certainly isn't the first time I was way off on my predictions. James won fairly handily, and in the nick of time, as he seemed to cramp on the very last point. There aren't a lot of quick points when you play Quack.

Chancellor's broke out a couple of new players last night: former 4.5 Fall Fest singles winner and Texas Sectionals doubles champ Huy "DJ" Pham teamed with longtime friend Tuan Tran to take down veterans Wooten and Sanford, and Gerald Evert (not to be confused with Gerald Levert of "Casanova" fame) and Huy Nguyen downed 4.0 Hurricane alums Eddie Perdomo and Bill Morris. Lakeside's lone victory came when ex-Mobber Chantz Chanthanalay and newcomer Frank Edwards took down Alex Chang and Charles Nguyen.

The 4-1 win was much-needed for the Squad, and it appears Lakeside will be behind the eight ball for a while in their quest for the playoffs.

I haven't heard much other news from around the league. A couple of nuggets that jumped out at me in looking at "box scores":

The next time someone tries to tell you how tough tournaments are in comparison to League, please give them a hearty belly laugh. Alastair Le waltzed to a 7-0 record in the "Coke" 4.0 division, the areas most difficult and prestigious tournament. He is now 0-2 on the season on Thursday nights.

The "Good Guys", who seem to have a solid team, posted a convincing win last night. They have a player who self-rated 3.5, Andrew Nguyen, who moved to 12-1 in 2012 last night with a resounding double bagel win. Might be someone to keep an eye on.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Week Two

I've scanned the rosters and haven't seen many interesting additions since last Thursday. The rumor mill is awash with some big names and/or promising juniors being added in the coming weeks. Am I the only one who doesn't like the 18 year old rule? I wonder if there's any chance it gets abolished. Doubt it...more potential players equals more league fees I guess. Maybe I'm cynical in my old age.

Haven't really looked at the schedule too closely. The only match I'm aware of, honestly, is the one between Chancellor's and Lakeside in 4.5. The singles match-ups could be intriguing in that one, as I assume Lakeside will use Q. Bui and Rios, perhaps against two of Hung/Dat/Huy? In any event, I think both singles lines could go either way. Other than Connell and Wright, nothing really wows me about Lakeside's doubles. This one should be closely contested.

4.0 is interesting in many ways this year, due to the number of divisions. With 7, I am assuming that perhaps there will be just 3 wild card teams. Now, I haven't looked at the divisions closely, but in my mind clearly LLTC-Mob Squad and Westside Warriors are two of the top teams in the city. However, if there are some divisions with a couple of horrible teams, some less deserving second place team may swoop in and steal a wild card from one of those teams. LLTC still has a chance for revenge, but the 4-1 loss makes sweeping some of the also-rans highly desirable.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Early Thoughts

Yeah, I wasn't out there, and have only talked to a coupla' people, but my first impressions:

There's a new favorite in 4.0. Chancellor's (who for some reason are calling themselves the Mob Squad now) lost badly to the Westside Warriors. Rumor on the street was that Mark Etienne moved over to Westside because he thought they would be better than his old Lakeside team. I guess he was right.

Freeman's 4.0 team squeaked past the Rolido Boys.

It was a bad night overall for Chancellor's. Sugar Creek didn't use the Jim brothers. Guess they didn't need 'em. After one week, is it time to hand them the title?

Chancellor's broke rule number one when it moved its best singles guy into doubles. It's a good strategy when it works. It didn't last night, as Minh Hoang got waxed by Patrick Baer in singles, and Hung lost the deciding doubles match in 3 sets. Great strategy if a few points go the other way, but hindsight is 20/20, and it didn't work.

Adam Berry...disappointing in a 4 and 4 win over former 4.0 Derric Driver. I was expecting more, but who knows if score management was at work?

Copperfield's rumored infusion of junior/superchamp talent (I had heard they were adding 3 of 'em, but only see two on the roster) materialized. At this point they may pose the greatest threat to Sugar Creek. If they can add one or two more and these guys are as good as advertised...who knows?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Opening Day

Nothing says optimism like springtime and Opening Day. Alas, in a few months only one or two teams from each level will be able to make the trip to Dallas.

Disclaimer: I am officially clueless, and this is stream of consciousness stuff.

Here are my picks to win their divisions:


Division I

There's no truth to the rumor that Ssshhhwings are now being sponsored by the AARP. No matter how many times Rothe and company yell "Get off of my lawn!", the Deucebags will not be deterred, and they will take Division I.

Division II

Raymond Martinez is one to watch. Is Mussenden really 6'10"??? Zachary and Mitchell should help the Canes.

Bangers' JT Fischer was a top junior at one time.

Jedi Knights are...the Jedi Knights.

Adam Berry of JCC bears watching. Who's this Richardson guy? I'm out of it, but so far he's been impressive.

I'll take the Canes to nip the Blast.

Division III

Quack and Don Rios make a decent singles tandem.

Chancellor's is loaded with decent players, but do they have enough heavyweights?

Sugar Creek will win the division. Who's this Rober Read dude? Mario Hornsby? I'm guessing Red placed them on Sugar Creek. If so, watch out!

The other comment.

Division IV

Mediocre division. I guess the two Westside teams will battle it out. I see Muhala has been scooped up. Who is NWO's second singles guy? Etienne? Cooke? Yikes.


I won't go division by division, because I'm lazy, and it's usually unnecessary. Who did Freeman, Spoor, Chancellor's add?

Dunno. The rosters, quite frankly, don't look that impressive. A lot of retreads. Based on the Coke, Chancellor's seems to have the upper hand, but I'm sure Freeman has, or will have, some players that will emerge. Someone told me Spoor has a singles guy better than Musa, but who can sift through the thousands of players he has signed up for an 8 match 4.0 season?

Throw in Copperfield because they added Salinas, and the Good Guys because they're decent. Voila! Five teams with a chance. And that's without looking at rosters. Did I miss anybody? Doubtful. Pencil in Carolina and Duke in the ACC every year. Count on the Patriots to be in the mix until Brady and the Hoodie are gone. And put Freeman, Spoor and Chancellor's in the hunt until there are major changes.

P.S. Tennis Link is the worst website I have ever seen. Using the back button is a major annoyance, at least on Chrome.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Yes, the blog is way behind

As I'm sure all of you know, the season will be starting this week.

I've perused the rosters but really have no insight to add.

I have a feeling the 4.5 division is going to be really fun and interesting this year, but I'm still holding off judgment based on who ends up actually playing for whom.

4.0 looks down overall and as of yet I don't see a killer team. Again, it's quite early in the process and things can still change dramatically.

League tennis is like college basketball, though...the players may change, but the quality head coaches will continue to recruit talent and manage it effectively. I'm still backing the captains with the impressive resumés in my office pool.

Feel free to discuss.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Draws Are Out.

The HTA Houston Open (I think that's what it's called nowadays) draws have been released. I quickly glanced at the early round match ups. Those I will be keeping my eye on:

In 4.0 men's singles the second round match between Tuyen Nguyen and Cuong Truong.

In 4.5 men's singles these first round matches: Coyle-Miles, Schmucker-Abshire, and Guy-McMullen.


There's a guy named Ty Cobb in the Open Men's singles.

/baseball fan'd

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Coke deadline today

The HTA Houston Open deadline is today. Easter comes a bit early this year, and perhaps the deadline has snuck up on some people. Entries look light, but perhaps they will come flooding in (or maybe the deadline will be extended)?

The 4.0 singles already intrigues me. 4.5 dropdowns Daniel Kallus and Mike Salinas would seem to be the favorites, but the field will also contain league stalwart Cuong Truong, tournament warhorse Matt Drake, and a bunch of "no-names" who may be ready to emerge.

The 4.5 singles draw, at this early juncture, doesn't seem that interesting. Maybe that will change.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Lucy Kenyon Memorial Tournament

There is a benefit tournament this weekend for the family of Lucy Kenyon. Lucy was a young (27?) chiropractor with a lot of connections to the local tennis community who passed away from colon cancer in January.

Here are the details.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

HTA Named USTA National CTA of the Year

Some may have seen this, but good recognition for the work put in by HTA from the national association.

Agree or disagree with policies put forth the staff does work hard for tennis in our community.

Congrats HTA!