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Jared

TCU Tennis 2018-19

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Up next for the Frogs is #9 Columbia on Wednesday at the tennis center at 7:30 p.m.  It's tough to evaluate the Lions - on the one hand, they're Ivy League which, because they eschew athletic scholarships, observers often automatically discount their athletes.  But this isn't football, where schools have 85 scholarships to dispense; it's tennis, where schools only have 4.5 available scholarships.  Like TCU, if Columbia identifies a quality tennis player that they want to recruit, they can find a way, with academic or other scholarships or grants/loans, to get that player into school even without an athletic scholie.  And it's a really good school.  So, Columbia has remained an elite tennis program (as has Penn, Harvard, Dartmouth etc...) and they are the top ranked Ivy League team out of 3 in the top 30.  The Lions are coached by Bid Goswami, who has been there since 1982, but this is his last season (Associate Head Coach Howard Endelman will take over next year) and they've got this whole "special" farewell season vibe going for them this year.  Their highest ever ranking under Goswami had been 14th (they've made multiple Sweet 16 appearances and have won 13 Ancient 8 titles with Bid as Coach) - this year, they've already busted that with a Top 10 ranking.  Why?  Well, they're 8-1, with W's over Virginia Tech, Dartmouth, St. John's, #11 Notre Dame, #8 Baylor, #43 Northwestern, SMU and #39 Tulane and their only loss was to #2 Wake at Chicago. 

 

For several years, they've been led by the Lin family and the Brothers Pham, and that remains the case this year  Their top player is #11 sophomore Jack Lin, Victor Pham is #31, Adam Ambrozy is #76; Jackie Tang is #104.  In doubles, Lin and William Matheson are ranked 10th; Lin and Tang are ranked 13th and Tang and Ambrozy are ranked 42nd.  These are actually much more impressive than the Frogs' overall rankings - especially in doubles.

 

On the other hand, other than at Chicago, which was technically neutral, they have yet to play a road match - they are 6-0 at home in Morningside Heights and 2-1 at neutral sites but 0-0 on the road.  And they've also taken the last 2 weeks off, so they're not exactly well-seasoned and at their peak.  Goswami loves, however, to take a Texas road trip this time of year (he's brought the Lions to Ft. Worth often and adores our tennis center with the tree grove and the "Spring" feeling that Ft. Worth has while New York remains wintry) and that's what they're doing this week.  They scrimmaged at UTA on Saturday and will play the Mavs Monday night and after the Frogs, they're off to play the Longhorns in Austin to check out the new tennis "Center" there. 

 

So I'm not sure what to expect - Columbia is top notch in everything they do and Goswami (a former Davis Cupper for India in the 70's) is very experienced.  (Perhaps I should have stepped on the Columbia player who insisted on stretching in the middle of the "aisle" in Chicago).  And if they can beat Baylor and the Irish, they're quite good.  I think we should be favored at home, but it'll likely be close.  Hopefully, we'll get a good crowd who will treat Goswami respectfully in his farewell season while we beat his team.

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Cam Norrie crapped out at Indian Wells in the first round, so I haven't been paying much attention to that tourney.  The big news is that Rafa pulled out of the semis because of a knee injury - giving Federer a walkover into the finals against either Dominic Thiem or Milos Raonic (which is going on now).  But the unique thing about Indian Wells (er, the BNP Paribas) is that it has a college tourney going on at the same time (although this was the event that got the bluehairs all upset about the Roditi Rules which led to their demise).  In the finals, also going on now, are Baylor and USC, so it's actually a fairly prestigious and potentially relevant college tourney (in addition to the pros).  Baylor won the doubles point and currently leads 1-0.  The singles are fairly even, with Baylor taking 3 first sets and the Trojans 2, with 1 in a breaker.  While on pins and needles about the Frogs' NCAA hoops chances, I've been following this one.

 

Cam is likely headed to Miami next week, where he made the semis last year.  Unfortunately, he's now in a position of having to defend last year's points, which is kind of both a luxury and a hazard once you make the Top 50 (he's 48th).

 

And a reminder that this is the first year of the new baseball-like super-regional format for college tennis at the NCAA's.  So, while the main goal is to defend the back-to-back-to-back Big 12 championships, the goal for the NCAA's has always been to make the final ITA Top 16 so as to host a regional.  That changes this year - while we still want to make the Top 16, we also want to make the Top 8 so as to potentially host a super if we can get out of "our" regional.  We're not there yet - we're 12th - so beating Columbia could be a big step in that direction on Wednesday.

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#6 Baylor ended up beating #16 USC to win the BNP Paribas tourney at Indian Wells with W's at the doubles point and from Matias Soto, Sven Lah and Jimmy Bendeck - both Texas and Baylor look especially tough this year with some really impressive W's.  I think both will be Top 5 in the next ITA rankings.  Some other noteworthy weekend results were a 6-1 W by #2 Wake over #3 Virginia, a 4-3 W by #41 Florida State over #11 Notre Dame, a 5-2 W by #8 Florida over #22 Tennessee and a 4-3 W by unranked Arizona State over #31 Cal.  All of those might affect our ranking.

 

Thiem upset Federer to win at Indian Wells.  Cam Norrie is not listed on the draw for the Miami Open, which starts today.

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Strike that.  Cam is now listed as being scheduled to play #77 Australian Jordan Thompson on Wednesday in the Round of 128 in Miami.

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After 2 weeks off, the Columbia Lions started their Texas swing well by beating UTA last night 6-1, earning their 5th straight W, their 9th W of the season and Bid Goswami's 500th career W as the 37-year head coach.  They won the doubles point, behind W's by Victor Pham and Rian Pandole (6-4) and Jack Lin and Austen Huang 7-6.  Then, they quickly swept the singles matches, with UTA's only W coming from Guanarteme Nuez over #11 Jack Lin after Columbia achieved the 4-0 sweep.  (#31 Victor Pham played #1).  Tomorrow's match will be the 11th time TCU has faced Columbia and the Frogs lead the all-time series 6-4.  It'll also be the 11th consecutive year we've played each other - the series started in 2008 and all but 1 of those matches have been in Ft. Worth.  TCU won last year 4-0, but Columbia won the 2017 match in New York and the teams have split the last 8 4-all.  With Goswami retiring after this season, it's possible that this will be the final year of the annual matches - their new coach (Howard Endelman) may not be as desirous of scheduling a Texas swing every year.

 

Tomorrow's match will be at 7:30 p.m. - free pizza and popcorn as usual.  I think we should be favored but Columbia is ranked higher and is a very tough squad to beat.

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The Frogs moved into the Top 10 for the first time this season in this week's ITA rankings, joining 3 other Texas teams.  Here they are:

 

1. Ohio State (on a 2-match losing streak but still #1)

2. Wake (key W over Virginia kept the Deacs at #2)

3. Texas (peaking with a W over Ohio State yet Center-less; on our schedule)

4. Florida  (L)

5. Virginia

6. Baylor (on our schedule; BNP Paribas champ)

7. Stanford

8. Mississippi State (W; W in an exhibition)

9. A&M (beat OSU;beat OU last night; on our schedule)

10. the Fighting Frogs of lil ole TCU

11. North Carolina (L)

12. Columbia (on our schedule tonight)

13. Illinois (W; W in an exhibition)

14. Notre Dame

15. USC

16. Michigan

17. UCLA (W)

18. Minnesota

19. Tennessee (W)

20. Oklahoma (on our schedule)

21. Alabama

22. Georgia

23. Miami

24. Oregon

25. Arkansas

26. Oklahoma State (W; on our schedule)

27. Florida State

28. Vanderbilt

29. Tech (6th Big 12 team in Top 29; on our schedule)

31. BYU

35. Arizona State (W in an exhibition; on our schedule)

37. Tulsa (L)

38. Harvard (2nd highest ranked Ivy League school)

39. Penn (3rd highest ranked Ivy League school)

45. Dartmouth (4th highest ranked Ivy League school)

46. USF (W although technically it was rained out)

48. Wichita State (W)

49. Tulane (W)

50 Princeton (5th Ivy League school in Top 50)

 

 In singles, here are the Top 10:

 

1. J.J. Wolf, Ohio State

2. Nuno Borges, Mississippi State

3. Petros Chrysochos, Wake Forest

4. Thomas Laurent, Oregon

5. Paul Jubb, South Carolina

6. Christian Sigsgaard, Texas

7. Alex Rybakov, TCU

8. Axel Geller, Stanford

9. Yuya Ito, Texas

10. Daniel Cukierman, USC

25. Alastair Gray, TCU

115. Bertus Kruger, TCU

 

In doubles, Kruger and Reese Stalder have leapt up to #6!  

 

So Columbia is no longer in the Top 10 and we're actually ranked higher than the Lions.  We should definitely be favored tonight at home.

 

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And as long as we're talking rankings, Cracked Racquets has compiled a list of all current ATP players ranked in the Top 1000 in the world that are either attending, are scheduled to attend or have attended colleges in the U.S. - the list includes 165 players and there are 6 Frogs listed:

 

51. Cameron Norrie (4th on the list behind #7 Kevin Anderson (Illinois); #9 John Isner (Georgia); and #38 Steve Johnson (USC)

456. Alex Rybakov

552. Gerardo Lopez Villasenor (or Jerry Lopez if you prefer English)

634. Nick Chappell

644. Tadeas Paroulek

793. Trevor Johnson

 

Cam Norrie's match against in Miami has been re-scheduled for tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.  I'm gonna be at work during our Columbia match but will be home for the end of it.

 

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Singles victories by Rybakov, Stalder and Gray give the Frogs a 4-1 win!

 

That's 8 wins in a row to improve to 13-3 on the year.

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25 minutes ago, Lyle Lanley II said:

Singles victories by Rybakov, Stalder and Gray give the Frogs a 4-1 win!

 

That's 8 wins in a row to improve to 13-3 on the year.

Most excellent!  Tonight, it was the top of the line-up that did the deed!  Finding different ways to win is a luxury we haven't had in recent years - it gives me confidence going deeper into the season that we can win in a variety of different ways.  Beating Columbia is a very good W for us - they were recently Top 10 and they beat Baylor and Notre Dame (albeit indoors).  Next up is Arizona State on Sunday and then SMU on Tuesday.

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I love when we beat Ivy League schools at Ivy League sports 

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49 minutes ago, Boston Frog said:

I love when we beat Ivy League schools at Ivy League sports 

 

When does our fencing team play Dartmouth?

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Cam Norrie (ATP#51) played well at Acapulco, but since then he's hit the skids.  Today, he lost to (ATP#77) Jordon Thompson at Miami 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 3-6.  He was so close to winning the match in the 2nd set breaker, but didn't get it done.  Now, he's out at Miami just like Indian Wells.

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13 hours ago, Jared said:

Cam Norrie (ATP#51) played well at Acapulco, but since then he's hit the skids.  Today, he lost to (ATP#77) Jordon Thompson at Miami 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 3-6.  He was so close to winning the match in the 2nd set breaker, but didn't get it done.  Now, he's out at Miami just like Indian Wells.

Can he take a break? Would that help at all? 

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1 hour ago, Boston Frog said:

Can he take a break? Would that help at all? 

Well, if you go out in the first round every week, you get to take unwanted breaks all the time.  Taking long breaks is perilous for pro tennis players (unless you're Federer, Rafa or Joker) because you're always defending points and your ranking can go down precipitously very quickly when your points roll off and you always want to stay as high as possible so as to qualify for main draws (rather than qualies) for the bigger money events.  Cam is now 51st (but that's gonna drop because he was defending last year's Miami semis appearance) - most ATP events only have 32 slots in their main draws.  But yeah, it's possible that Facundo has been overworking him and that he should take a week or so off every now and then.  But it's also possible that he just needs to practice more and get better.

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Arizona State is only 6-8 on the season (and 1-6 on the road), but they still have an ITA ranking of 35th because they've played a tough schedule.  They have W's over LMU, Pepperdine, Indiana,  San Diego, #13 Michigan and  #31 California and losses to Duke, Wake, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, A&M, Stanford, Cal and USC (all of which are extremely good).  They're in Waco today - playing a doubleheader against Incarnate Word (which they should win) and Baylor (where they won't be favored), so I'm guessing that they'll be 7-9 when they face the Frogs on Sunday.  To re-iterate their story, this is only the 2nd year in which they have been competing again after taking a decade off after terminating their program in the 2000's.  They only re-started because a billionaire donated a bunch of money.  Their problem is one of hierarchy - the "Conference of Champions," in tennis is kind of like the MWC was for TCU in football.  There is a Big 3 (with Cal as a 4th) - and those are (decidedly) USC, UCLA and Stanford, who collectively have won eleventy gazillion NCAA titles.  And, from 1979, when ASU joined the Pac, to 2007, when they ended their program, they were always at or near the bottom.  But they've decided to make a go of it again, they've got the money and they have been scheduling like they're very serious about building a nationally elite team.  Like eveyone else, they've been recruiting top-ranked non-U.S. players.  We'll see.

 

Both of their ranked W's (over Michigan and Cal) took place at Indian Wells last week at the BNP Paribas tourney, so they've begun to peak.  Nathan Ponwith (he's from Scottsdale) is their leader and he's ranked 55th, up 19 spots from the prior ranking. He and doubles partner Dominic Kellovsky (Czech Republic) are ranked 18th, up 31 spots from their prior ranking and Tim Ruehl (Germany) and Andrea Bolla (Italy) are also ranked at 56th.  Their usual line-up is Ponwith, Kellovsky, Justin Roberts (Bahamas), Ruehl, Makey Rakotomalala (France) and Benjamin Hannestad (Holland).  Their coach is Matt Hill, formerly at USF.  Despite just re-starting last year, TCU knows this team fairly well - we beat them last year and we beat them at the Tempe Collegiate Cup in January (Ponwith beat Eduardo Roldan in January).  We should be favored, but they're match-tested against top teams and are peaking and certainly won't be intimidated.  Their "issue" is that, despite being ranked, they have to finish with a .500 record or better to make the NCAA's - they are after W's in a big way (and might schedule some cupcakes down the road if they don't do that against all the top ranked teams they've been playing).

 

Other than the Baylor-ASU match, other big matches today are Oklahoma at UNC, Georgia Tech at Virginia, Wake at Notre Dame, Tennessee at Mississippi State, Arkansas at A&M and Columbia at Texas.

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Holy cow, J. We should pay you more for this in-depth analysis.

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In the other big matches today, Texas beat Columbia 6-1 (like TCU), the Tarheels beat OU 4-1, Virginia beat Georgia Tech 4-1; Wake beat the Irish, A&M beat Arkansas and Mississippi State won a 4-3 thriller over Tennessee.  But down in Waco, the match was delayed for the Baylor women to finish v. Incarnate Word, and they've only recently started and ASU just won the doubles point by beating the Bendeck/Lah Baylor team (who had just advanced to be the #1 doubles team in college tennis).  The Sun Devils now only need 3 singles matches to pull off the upset.  And, according to College Tennis Ranks, that, coupled with a TCU win over ASU, would move us to 7th in the nation!  We need to get to the Top 8, and we could do that this weekend if things break our way!

 

Sadly, Baylor staged a comeback and won 4-2 over ASU.

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In doubles, it'll be #6 Kruger/Stalder v. #18Ponwith/Kellovsky (who beat Baylor's #1 Bendeck/Lah on Friday); Rybakov/Gray v. Roberts/Rakotomalala and Fomba/Jong v. #56 Bolla/Ruehl.  Tennis will be going on at the same time as baseball, so it'll be crowded over at Worth Hills.

 

ASU is a very dangerous doubles team - they beat Baylor.  Stalder/Kruger 0-1; Rybo/Gray 0-1; Fomba/Jong 0-1.

Stalder/Kruger 1-all; Rybo/Gray 0-2; Fomba/Jong 2-1.

Stalder/Kruger 1-2; Rybo/AG 1-3; Fomba/Jong 2-all.  Very close...

2-all; 2-3; 2-all.

3-4; 3-4; 3-4.  C'mon Frogs!

4-all; 3-5; 4-all.

4-5; 4-5; 4-all.

5-all; 4-5; 4-5.

Rybakov/Gray fall 4-6.  We're in trouble...

But we're still in it.  5-all; 5-all.

Stalder/Kruger 5-6; Fomba/Jong 5-all.

Stalder/Kruger 6-all and into a breaker; Fomba/Jong 5-all.  Crunch time for the Frogs.

6-all; 5-6.

Fomba/Jong fall 5-7 and it's TCU 0 Arizona State 1.  But this is what happened at Baylor and the bears stormed back and won easily.

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In singles, it'll be Rybakov v. Ponwith; Gray v. Kellovsky; Stalder v. Roberts; Kruger v. Bolla; Fomba v. Ruehl and Roldan (in place of Jong) v. Rakotomalala.  We need 4 of these.  Nope - Jong will play at #6; not Roldan (late switch).

 

Early on, it's Rybakov 2-all; Gray 2-3; Stalder 4-1; Kruger 3-1; Fomba 1-2; Jong 2-all.  Good start, but we need 4 of these.

Rybo 3-2; AG 3-all; Widow 4-1; Kruger 3-1; Fomba 2-all; Jong 2-3.

Rybo 3-all; Gray 4-3; Stalder 5-2; Kruger 4-1; Fomba 3-2; Jong 2-4.

Rybo 3-4 (down a break); AG 5-3; Stalder 5-3; Kruger takes his first set 6-1!; Fomba 3-2; Jong 2-4.

Alex 3-5; Alastair takes his first set 6-3!; Widow 5-4; Bert just starting his 2nd 0-0; Luc 4-3; Sander 2-5.

Rybo 4-5; Gray 0-0 in the 2nd; Stalder takes his first set 6-4!; Kruger 0-1 in the 2nd; Fomba 4-3; Jong falls 2-6. 

Rybo breaks back 5-all! (we needed that); Gray 1-0; Stalder 0-0; Kruger 1-all; Fomba 4-3 still; Jong just starting his 2nd.

Rybo takes his first set 7-5!!; Gray 2-all; Widow 2-1; Kruger 1-3; Fomba takes his first set 6-4!; Jong 1-2.  We've taken 5 first sets!  Nice comeback!

 

All 2nd sets now and the Sun Devils are fighting back.  Rybo 2-all; AG 3-4; Stalder 2-4; Kruger 2-5; Fomba 1-all; Jong 2-4.  Not looking good...

Rybo 3-all; Gray falls 3-6; Stalder 3-5; Kruger falls 2-6; Fomba 2-all; Jong 3-4.  Still not looking good...

Is the worm turning?  Rybakov 4-3; AG 0-1 in the 3rd; Stalder falls 3-6; Kruger 1-all in the 3rd; Fomba 3-2 (still in the 2nd); Jong 5-4 in the 2nd.

Rybo 5-4 in the 2nd; Gray 1-all in the 3rd; Stalder 0-1 in the 3rd; Kruger 1-2 in the 3rd; Fomba still 3-2 in the 2nd; Jong takes his 2nd set 6-4!!

Still close.  Rybakov 6-5 in his 2nd; Gray 4-1 in his 3rd; Stalder 0-4 in his 3rd; Kruger 3-all in his 3rd; Fomba 4-3 in his 2nd; Jong 1-all in his 3rd.

Rybo takes it with a late break 7-5, 7-5!!  It's all square at TCU 1 Arizona State 1!

But very dicey on the other courts - Gray 5-2 in his 3rd; Stalder 1-5 in his 3rd;  Kruger 4-3 in his 3rd; Fomba 4-5 in his 2nd; Jong 1-2 in his 3rd.

Stalder falls 6-4, 3-6, 1-6 and it's TCU 1 Arizona State 2.

Gray still 5-2 in his 3rd; Kruger 5-3 in his 3rd; Fomba 4-5 in his 2nd; Jong 1-2 in his 3rd.

Gray takes his match 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 and it's TCU 2 Arizona State 2!! 

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It's now up to the bottom of the line-up as the Frogs and Devils are tied 2-all with 3 matches left!

Kruger up 5-4 in his 3rd set.  Fomba falls 4-6 in his 2nd and it's on to the 3rd set; Jong 2-3 in his 3rd.

Bertus Kruger gives the Frogs the lead with a 6-1, 2-5, 6-4 W!  TCU 3 Arizona State 2!

Luc Fomba up 1-love in his 3rd; but Sander Jong now trails 2-5 in his 3rd.

Jong falls and it's all tied at TCU 3 Arizona State 3.

 

But Fomba leads 3-love!

Make that 4-love!!!

The Frogs rally over the Longhorns in baseball and the Frogs rally in tennis against the Sun Devils!!  Entertainment at Worth Hills!

4-1.  Luc is streaky but this would be the biggest W of his career if he can hold on!

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Watching the baseball game and keepin up with the live scoring on this match has turned a me into a ball of anxiety on what had previously been a nice, relaxing Sunday afternoon.  

 

Come on, Luc!

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Ouch!  4-2.  C'mon Luc!

5-2!  I've got the streaming on now!

The Frogs beat the Longhorns!

5-2.

YES!  Luc takes it 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in his biggest W ever and the Frogs hang on in a thriller over ASU 4-3!!  14-3!  9 in a row!  CollegeTennisRanks projects us as reaching the coveted Elite 8 in the ITA rankings with this W!

 

SMU next on Tuesday and then it's on to Big12 play starting at Baylor this weekend.

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