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:

4.5

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 teams...no 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.


4.0

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 resum├ęs 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.

Discuss.

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

/baseball fan'd