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Jared

TCU Tennis 2018-19

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Norrie v. Jan Lennard Struff has started in the semis in Auckland and Cam served first and its now 1-all in the match for a ticket to the finals.  It's not yet on the Tennis Channel, but they'll probably switch over when the women's match from Sydney finishes.

 

2-1.  Cam holds.  Struff is ranked 58th; Cam #93, but both should move up after their deep run in Auckland.

2-all.  The winner will play Tennys Sandgren, who beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 4 and 2 earlier tonight in the other semi.

3-2.  Holding to form so far and going quickly on serve.

3-all.  Cam gets two break points but doesn't convert.  Struff has won 5 Challenger singles titles and has gone into the 3rd round at both the U.S. Open and Wimbledon.

4-3.  Norrie saves 1 break point and holds.

4-all.  Still no breaks.

5-4.

5-all.

6-5.  Definitely crunch time now.

YESSS!!  Cam gets the key break at the key time and takes the first set 7-5!!  (Facundo is once again wearing TCU gear).

 

Ouch!  Struff breaks right back and Cam is now down a break 0-1 in the 2nd.

love-2.  Norrie had two break points to re-seize the momentum, but couldn't convert.

1-2.  Cam, ever competitive, holds at love.

2-all!!  Cam takes a quick 40-love lead, blows two break points, but gets the third and evens the set!

3-2!  Another love hold.  (And quite a few more TV shots of Facundo wearing TCU gear).

3-all.  The one good thing about the Tennis Channel not covering this is that we don't have to listen to Jimmy Arias rag all over Cam ("he doesn't have any weapons;" "his serve is slow;" "I don't understand how he wins any match, let alone over good players") 

%$#@!!!  Struff breaks again and Cam trails 3-4, down a break.

3-5.  Not looking good...

4-5!  Cam saves 5, count em, 5 set points to hang in.

But he can't save set points when he's not serving and Struff takes the 2nd set 6-4.  On to the 3rd and deciding set!

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It looks like Cam will now certainly remain Scotland's top tennis player because Andy Murray gave a tearful press conference today saying that, even after hip surgery, he has way too much pain to continue playing and strongly hinted at retirement.

 

1-love in the 3rd as Cam doesn't get broken in the first game this time.

YES!  This time, Cam gets the early break and takes a 2-love lead!

3-love!  Cam holds but had to save a break point to do so.

3-1.  Struff's not giving up yet.

4-1.  Cam holds at love.

The women's match is finally over and The Tennis Channel is now switching live to Auckland!

4-2.

5-2!  Yet another love hold!

5-3.  Struff uncorks some powerful serves and holds easily.  But all Norrie needs is to win one more service game.

Cam may be choking - 2 straight DF's to go down love-30.  He's never made an ATP final...

But 4 straight winning points and Cam makes the finals at Auckland (to loud Kiwi cheers)!!!!

 

Tennys Sandgren next.  Can Cam do it!!

 

 

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Stanley Street in Auckland is celebrating tonight!  They were chanting "Come on Kiwi" and "Let's Go Kiwi" for their local hero who is as Kiwi as jandals, Split Entz and rainy Easter weekends.  He grew up in Bucklands Beach, attended Maclean's College and spent his pocket money on pineapple lumps, L & P and steak and cheese pies.  The locals are rallying around him big time.  It's a big story in New Zealand!  Several articles already in the Kiwi press.

 

Norrie and Sandgren know each other fairly well.  Sandgren played at Tennessee but is 3 years older than Cam, but they've played 6 times and Cam owns a 4-2 all-time lead, including the last 3 in a row.

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Based on the rankings, today's match against Mississippi State could well be the toughest of the year for the Frogs this Spring.  The Bulldogs were also victorious yesterday against the Illini and blitzed to 5 singles W's as well.  (And the Frogs' W was somewhat attenuated by the fact that Arizona State has some early season injuries and some of their players sat out our match - Roditi cautioned that their line-up will be different when we face them again in the ITA Kickoff in a few weeks).  Our line-up was Rybo, Stalder, Fomba, Gray and Roldan (and Bertus Kruger would have played if the ASU team had been healthier).  This indicates to me that Roditi is relying on Stalder (as a senior), that Fomba is probably better than advertised and that Gray either hasn't recovered fully from his leg injury or that his layoff hurt his development - it's still early though and you have to expect some sort of experimentation.  Like yesterday, there won't be any live scores or streaming, so results will be announced on TCU's twitter page at some point (but I'm not going to be sitting around waiting for hours).

 

Cam's ATP ranking is projected to go up to #68 if he loses tonight and far higher if he wins his first ever ATP tourney at home in Auckland.  But Sandgren has been hot too and will be a tough out - he has the best stats of any player in this tourney (service W's, aces; straight set W's etc...) and he's ranked 63rd now and is projected to jump into the Top 50 regardless of whether he wins the title.  All of Cam's friends in Auckland have apparently contacted him for tickets (as well as some "friends" he didn't know he had) - the Kiwi press has gone agog at the prospect of a local winning and it's really quite a story there.  By contrast, in the U.K., Andy Murray's possible injury-forced retirement is getting far more attention - he's hoping to play until Wimbledon if he can make it that far.  The match is scheduled for 7:30 (CST) and I'll still be at work - but it should be on the Tennis Channel so maybe someone else can report the happenings.

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There is good news and bad news in TCU tennis news this evening.  First the bad news: Cam Norrie lost in the Auckland finals to Tennys Sandgren 4 and 2 in straight sets.  Instead of Cam winning his first ever ATP title, it was Sandgren who won his first ever title.  Instead of Cam winning at home in Auckland for the Kiwi Nation, Sandgren won.  So Sandgren will take the momentum into Melbourne for the Aussie Open.  It's disappointing because Cam had such a hot streak in beating multiple opponents ranked much higher than Sandgren.  But it's still a good result for Cam - his first ever final.  Hopefully, the next one will occur soon.

 

But the good news is really good.  TCU defeated #3 Mississippi State at the Tempe Collegiate Cup in Tempe 4-3!  We lost 3 of the 4 doubles matches with the only W coming from Stalder/Kruger 6-3.  But in singles, led by Rybo defeating Nuno Borges 6-0, 7-6 (8-6), the Frogs took 4 of the 6 matches and won the overall competition over the highly ranked Bulldogs.  Rybo, Gray, Fomba and Kruger got the wins, all over ranked opponents.  This is really stunningly good and certainly defied my expectations.  Roditi was obviously pleased with the win and the gathering of information for upcoming matches.  It won't count in the official standings, but we'll know who is better between #14 TCU and #3 Mississippi State.  Illinois is next up tomorrow!  Great job by Roditi and the team this early in the season!!

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The full singles results from yesterday's W over #3 Mississippi State are as follows:

 

Rybo beat #11 Nuno Borges 6-0, 7-6 (8-6)

Stalder lost to Giovanni Oradini 6-4, 3-6, 2-6

Gray beat Strahinja Rakic 6-2, 4-6, 6-3

Roldan lost to #67 Niklas Braun 6-7 (4-7), 5-7

Fomba beat #78 Florian Broska 6-3, 6-0

Kruger beat #93 Trevor Foshey 6-3, 7-6 (10-8)

 

So, 4 W's over ranked opponents and two close losses.  It was definitely good competition against top quality opponents.  Rybo's dominant W is impressive as was Fomba's 2nd collegiate W.  Kruger and Gray pulled out tough matches.  Roditi once again experimented with the line-up a little - we played 4 doubles matches and Roldan teamed with Illinois' Fletcher Scott in the 4th one so everyone (including Sander Jong) got some action.

 

Today will be Illinois, who lost to Mississippi State (2-5) on Thursday and Arizona State (3-4) yesterday, so we should be favored.  Brad Dancer is their coach and although they lost Vuks and Hiltz, they've still got some good players like Kovacevic.  But it's time to get some revenge from last year.

 

Cam will get his re-match against Taylor Fritz tomorrow in the opening round (of 128) in Melbourne in the Aussie.

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1 hour ago, PurpleDawg said:

Jared, are Cam and Nick Chappell are only pro tennis Frogs at this time?

14 former, current or future Frogs are active or semi-active pro tennis players - go back to page 6 to see their year-end rankings for 2018 (and delete Jenson Brooksby from your mind because he is a traitor and a Baylor Bear).  In addition to Cam and Nick, Jerry Lopez (o Gerardo Lopez Villasenor si prefiere espanol) is a Mexican Davis Cup player, Trevor Johnson is a new full-time pro, Rybo, Ali, Reese, Juan Martin, Bertus Kruger, Eduardo Roldan, Sander Jong, Jacob Fearnley, Luc Fomba and Max Kurzban have played pro tourneys at some point, which makes them pros.  However, due to inactivity because they're in college or because they haven't earned any recent ATP points, only Cam, Nick, Alex, Jerry, Trevor and Reese are currently ranked by the ATP in singles and Sander Jong is ranked in doubles.  So, by that definition, there are currently 7 pro Frogs.  And, if you go by the "full-time" definition, there are 4 - Cam, Nick, Jerry and Trevor.  And if you go by the definition of pros that people have heard of - there's 1 (Cam).  So, the answer to how many pro tennis players TCU currently has, is either 14 (or 13 if you don't count Jacob Fearnley yet), 7, 4 or 1, depending on how "pro" is defined.  (It's not just 2 though).

 

Nick is into the main draw at Naples for the Futures tourney there which will start on the 14th (qualies just started today).  Cam is into the main draw at the Aussie Open starting tomorrow.  Jerry and Trevor are not currently listed at any tourney.

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The Frogs  finished strong today in Tempe and won their third consecutive match over a ranked opponent - this time over #16 Illinois at the Tempe Collegiate Cup.  TCU won 4 singles matches over Illini opponents, 1 over a Bulldog  and lost 1 to a Mississippi State player subbing in so that 6 matches could be played:

 

Alex Rybakov won 3 and 2 over #92 Zeke Clark

Alastair Gray won 7-6 (11-9), 6-4 over Siphosothando Montsi

Luc Fomba won 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 over Vuk Budic

Eduardo Roldan beat Fletcher Scott 3 and 3

Bertus Kruger beat Grego Ramskogler (MSU) 7-6, 2-6, 10-4

Sander Jong lost 5-7, 2-6 to Trevor Foshey (MSU)

 

We didn't fare so well in doubles - Rybo and Gray won 6-3, but Fomba/Jong and Stalder/Kruger lost 2 and 3.

 

So, overall, although I was fearful that we could lose all three matches, we won all of them and went 3-0 through 3 ranked opponents, including #3 Mississippi State and our Nemesis (Illinois) from last year.  Obviously, this is a great start - even if the matches don't officially count.  The first one that does will be next Friday at Tulsa.  Rybo is obviously our leader and his wins over three ranked players sets him up well for a very good season.  Luc Fomba also got three W's - he seems to be a very impressive player and is only a freshman.  Alastair Gray seems recovered from injury and so does Bertus Kruger.  Roditi  will apparently rely on Reese Stalder like he did on Trevor and Guillermo last year. Eduardo Roldan and Sander Jong both got W's and some good experience against quality opponents.  And in reserve, we still have Kurzban and Martin.

 

I am now wildly optimistic about the season and expect a move upwards in the polls next week.

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Cameron Norrie's ATP ranking did indeed jump up to #68 in the world after his trip to the finals in Auckland, and in about an hour, he'll be playing in the opening round in Melbourne in the Aussie Open once again against #50 Taylor Fritz.  I think it'll be on the Tennis Channel, but it can be followed in any event on numerous sites (my favorite is sofascore because it gives all sorts of stats and other info).  In Auckland, Fritz was very frustrated with Cam's game of constantly playing human backboard and making Fritz hit shot after shot when what he really likes to do is hit winners and wrap up the point soonest.  The commentators said that he adjusted poorly - that his strategy initially was to hit the ball as hard as possible and when that didn't work, he adjusted by just trying to hit it harder, which led to unforced errors, which allowed Cam to win after Fritz got frustrated.  We'll see if that is the same in about an hour.

 

Well, it's been delayed (as expected), so I'm not sure if I can stay up to watch/follow this.  It won't be on the Tennis Channel, if televised, it'll be on ESPN2.  Interestingly, Cam and Taylor Fritz have decided to team up together and play doubles. 

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Well, I'm glad that I didn't stay up to follow it because Cam Norrie got bounced out of the Aussie Open in singles last night by Taylor Fritz, 3-6, 6-7 (6-8), 2-6,  It was a single break in the first set that caused the momentum to go Fritz's way and then Cam had two set points in the 2nd set but ended up losing the breaker.  After that, it was all Fritz.  So now, he'll team with Fritz in doubles tonight against Basic/Dzumhir.  Just for losing in the first round, Cam earned Aus$75,000, which is roughly U.S.$58,000 - by comparison, Rybo earned about $10,000 for winning the Futures tourneys last summer.  It's been a good stretch for Cam, but losing in the first round of a Slam isn't really all that impressive.  He'll probably head to Europe now for a few months unless he and Fritz go deep in the doubles.

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14 minutes ago, Lyle Lanley II said:

 

Forgive my ignorance on the topic - does this not affect his eligibility?

No.  College players can earn money at pro tourneys.  They have to use the money for tennis-related expenses (travel; lodging; food at events; equipment; clothing) but the money is so low that this is never much of a problem for anyone, and if it was, then they'd be good enough to be full-time pros in any event.

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Norrie and Fritz won their first round doubles match in Melbourne 7-6 (9-7), 7-5 over Basic/Dzumhir and have advanced to the 2nd round.  Nick Chappell won his opeing round match in the Naples Futures tourney 2-6, 5-1, 6-2 over Gonzalo Escobar and will now play Nicolas Mejia from Colombia in the 2nd round.  Teaming with Harrison Adams in doubles though, he lost in the first round.

 

TCU plays at Tulsa on Friday in the first dual match of the season.

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Nick Chappell has quietly worked his way up to his Career High ATP ranking - currently coming in at #616.  He's been bouncing around the Futures circuit for 4 years or so and never really had a breakthrough - maybe he's due for it this week in Naples.  He's set to play Nicolas Mejia later today.

 

Meanwhile, Alex Rybakov (#491) was named both the TCU Male Athlete of the Week and the Big 12 Player of the Week for his performance at the Tempe Collegiate Cup, with 3 W's over ranked foes (including Nuno Borges) and an undefeated record so far this year (8-0).  Tomorrow's match at Tulsa will be at 6:00 p.m.  I'll miss it because of work, but will provide updates later tomorrow night.  It's only a day before Opening Day!

 

Cam Norrie (#68) and Taylor Fritz will play Jack Sock and Jackson Withrow in doubles tomorrow at the Aussie.  Uh, Withrow is a former Aggie and lives in College Station, so Cam has extra incentive to annihilate them.

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Well, Naples wasn't the breakthrough for Nick Chappell as he lost 4 and 2 today to Nicholas Mejia.  He'll be in another Florida tourney next week though.

 

The Frogs will open up the season tomorrow night at Tulsa in the first dual match of the season.  Tulsa has already played 3 dual matches, beating Mercer and Bryant, but losing 4-3 to Tech.  Technically, we haven't played yet, but our experience in Tempe was even tougher than the Golden Hurricane has faced and we shouldn't be at a disadvantage like we have been in prior years playing someone who had more in-season experience.  Rybo is 8-0 in college play this year and is ranked 14th in the ITA rankings, but Bertus Kruger leads the Frogs with 9 W's so far this year, including 3 W's over ranked opponents.  Tulsa's top player is #55 Majed Kilani, who has 11 W's so far this season; 5 over ranked opponents.  All-time, TCU leads Tulsa 14-12, but is 4-6 at Tulsa.  The Frogs, however, have won 5 straight, including 4-0 sweeps in each of the last 4 matches.

 

It's Opening Day!! 

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Terrible news all around this weekend - Cam and Fritz got knocked out of the Aussie in doubles 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, 6-7 (8-10) on Saturday.  But the worst news is that TCU lost its Opening Day match to Tulsa 2-4 and got off yet again to an awful beginning to the Spring season.  Alex Rybakov (4-6, 7-5, 6-2) and Alastair Gray (6-4, 6-2) were the only victors in singles, but the Frogs lost the doubles point (Rybakov/Gray won 6-3, but Stalder/Kruger lost 5-7 and Jong/Fomba lost 4-6) and then Stalder, Kruger and Roldan all lost and Fomba was in the third set (and could have pulled out the 4-3 W) when the match concluded.  Roditi said that it just wasn't our day and that "we'd learn from our mistakes" but it's a terrible start to the season.  Rybo and Ali played well, but if we can't beat unranked Tulsa, how are we gonna beat ranked teams?  Tulsa moves to 3-1 and we're 0-1.

 

Tempe made me wildly optimistic - now, I'm very pessimistic.:(  Next up will be the ITA Kickoff on Saturday at home - we'll host Loyola Marymount and then, if we win, either Arizona State or Oklahoma State.  Under Paul Westhead and with Bo Kimble, Loyola Marymount has a run and gun offense (oh wait, that's basketball from 3 decades ago)...

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