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Jared

TCU Tennis 2018-19

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And the Frogs beat #8 A&M 4-3 with the 7-6, 6-7, 6-3 clincher by senior Alex Rybakov on Court 1!!!!  We won the doubles point with W's by Rybo/Gray and Stalder/Kruger and then we won 3 singles matches, with Fomba and Jong providing the first 2 W's and Rybo providing the deciding one.  This is a HUGE W for us - A&M only has 1 loss in the SEC, they were ranked #8, which might help us move up and we've now won 4 straight 4-3 matches against them and 6 straight matches overall!  A tremendous W!

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Last night's 4-3 thriller over the Aggies was TCU's 3rd W over a Top 10 team this year and our 7th W over a Top 25 team.  It was the 4th straight 4-3 W over the Aggies and our 6th overall.  And to see Alex get the clincher in his final regular season home match was great.  Will it be enough to get us into the Top 8 for the possible advantage in the new super-regional format?  I'm guessing not, but we've still got some chances to improve our ranking against Oklahoma in Norman on Friday and Oklahoma State in Stillwater on Sunday.  And then there's the Big12 tourney where we'll get a chance to revenge our losses to Baylor and Texas - our goal for that will be to earn the #3 seed by beating both OU and OSU and finishing with a 3-2 Big12 record.  So even though the L's to Baylor and Texas were disappointing, there's still a lot of season left, and as I speculated earlier, it just might make our team a little hungrier as we head towards post-season play.  Rybo tweeted somewhat to that effect already.  Last night's attendance was 823 and that was the highest of the year and Roditi was very complimentary of the crowd for their support.  We'll almost certainly host a regional so there'll be another chance for the locals to turn out and see Rybo and Widow for the last time.  This year's conference tourney will be in Lawrence, which is kind of weird because Kansas doesn't have a men's team.

 

The ITA rankings should come out later today.  The Slam tennis rankings came out yesterday and we're 8th there, and that doesn't reflect last night's W.

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The new ITA rankings are out and TCU held steady at #10 in the nation, but last night's W apparently occurred too late to be included and College Tennis Ranks projects that we'd be 8th if it had been included.  But the big news is that there's a new #1 team - the Texas Longhorns.  Beating Baylor (and us) was good enough for them to leapfrog the Buckeyes so the Big12 now has the #1 team as well as 3 in the Top 10.  Alex Rybakov is #4 in singles, Alastair Gray is 24th and Reese Stalder is 110th.  In doubles, Bert Kruger and Widow are 13th and Rybo/AG are 36th.  Here they are:

 

1. Texas (L)

2. Ohio State

3. Florida (L)

4. Wake Forest

5. Virginia

6. Baylor (L)

7. Mississippi State (W)

8. Texas A&M (W)

9. North Carolina (L) (it's interesting that we've played 6 of the Top 9 teams)

10. the Fighting Frogs of lil ole TCU

11. USC

12. Stanford

13. UCLA (W)

14. Illinois (W)

15. Tennessee (W)

16. Columbia (W) (make that 10 of the Top 16 teams)

17. Georgia

18. South Carolina

19. Michigan

20. Alabama

21. Oklahoma (on our schedule)

22. N.C. State

23. Tech (W; beat OU)

24. Arizona

25. Miami

26. Oklahoma State (W; on our schedule; 6th Big12 team in Top 26)

27. Notre Dame (highly ranked all year but verging on being sub .500 so they've scheduled some slugs this week)

28. San Diego

31. Arizona State (W)

42. Tulane (W)

43. USF (W although technically rained out)

52. Tulsa (L)

53. Wichita State (W)

142. SMU (W; just thought I'd throw that one in there)

 

So it's #21 OU and #26 Oklahoma State left in the regular season...both on the road.

 

 

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Cameron Norrie is now in Houston where he is the 3rd seed in the only ATP-sanctioned clay court event in the U.S. this year.  He's scheduled to play #372 Janko Tipsarevic tomorrow at 12:00 noon (CDT).  This will be an early chance for Cam to play on clay in advance of the clay season this Spring leading up to the French Open at Roland Garros next month.  He's slipped a bit since his good performance at Acapulco and is now ranked #55.

 

The Frogs will next play Oklahoma on Friday in Norman at 6:00 p.m. (CDT).  We really need to get W's over the Oklahoma schools to finish out the regular season in order to earn the #3 seed in the Big12 tourney and to enhance our chances to climb into the Top 8 for potential super-regional hosting purposes (if we advance that far in the NCAA's)  CTR currently projects TCU to move up to #8 after beating A&M 4-3, but if we sweep the Okies, that means we'll be projected to move up to #7.  The reason for this is that the ITA will expand to include a team's top 10 W's and further W's over Top 26 teams will help that.  OU stands at 14-7 on the season, which is a good but not outstanding record.  Losing Coach Roddick to UCF 2 years ago and losing Andrew Harris and Alex Ghilea to graduation last year has caused the Sooners to slip a little since their peak about 5 years ago when they made the Finals at the NCAA's and later won the individual doubles championship.  But they are still a very good team - they have W's over ACU, Wichita State, Creighton, Omaha, Drake, Cornell, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tulsa, Florida State, Memphis, Charlotte, USF and Oklahoma State and their L's are to Notre Dame, Michigan, Mississippi State, A&M, North Carolina, Baylor and Tech.  Basically, they've followed form - beating who they were supposed to and losing to higher ranked teams.  They are, however, coming off an upset loss to Tech (4-3) and are 1-2 in Big12 play (like us).  They are led by #33 Spencer Papa (Edmond) and #57 Jake Van Emburgh (Florida) and Ferran Calvo (Spain), Mason Beiler (Florida), Jochen Bertsch (Germany) and Max Stewart (England) usually play singles as well.  They also have Alex Bakshi (Tbilisi, Georgia; former Aggie)(who teams with Papa) and Stefano Tsorotiotis (Illinois)(who teams with Bertsch) in doubles.  Nick Crowell is their coach - he's a Longhorn from Amarillo who spent 13 years at Florida State as an assistant.

 

We should be favored, but it's not a gimme.

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Cam (#55) lost his 5th straight match today, this time 6-3, 6-4 to #372 Joran Tipsarevic in the first round at the clay court tourney in Houston.  Yet another terrible result.

 

TCU holds the all-time edge 14-11 over the OU Sooners, including the last 5 in a row, a streak that started in 2016, immediately following a string of 9 straight that OU won over the Frogs.  This will be the 7th meeting in Norman, where the Sooners lead the all-time series 4-2.  Tomorrow's matches are scheduled for 6:00 p.m. 

 

 

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If you're busy calculating "what if" scenarios for our rankings, the key match today (other than TCU at OU) is #9 North Carolina at #5 Virginia.  We're "projected" to be #8 if we beat OU, but if UNC beats Virginia, then we're projected to be #9.  So, we're clearly for the Cavs to beat the Tarheels today so our chances to crack the Top 8 are better.  Their match starts at 2:00 p.m. - ours is later this evening.  Of course, if we end up 8th and the Heels are 9th (or vice versa), we could end up playing them (again) in the supers.  I'd much rather that be at home than on the road.  (Of course, lots could happen in the conference tourneys that would change all that, but this is the type of thing that I'm obsessing about as the regular season winds down). 

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Whew!  The Frogs won, but just barely, 4-3 over Oklahoma on the road today.  The Sooners took the doubles point and the early 1-0 lead, and then they took a 2-0 lead when Stalder fell 3-6, 2-6.  But the Frogs came roaring back after that with W's from Sander Jong (6-2, 6-2), Alex Rybakov (6-4, 6-2) and Luc Fomba (6-4, 6-4) to take a 3-2 lead.  Then, Kruger fell 4-6, 3-6 and it was all up to the Englishman - Alastair Gray - who won his first set 6-3 but lost 6-7 in a breaker in the 2nd.  But AG prevailed in the 3rd set 6-4 and clinched the 4-3 W for the Frogs!  We're now 18-5, 2-2 in the Big 12. 

 

Meanwhile, Virginia beat UNC 4-2.  This is good news for us (as explained above) because it now means we are likely to finally make it to #8 in the ITA rankings.  But we need to beat Oklahoma State on Sunday to ensure that.

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Oklahoma State is 14-9 this season and 8-2 at home.  Last night, they gave Texas quite a tussle and only lost 4-3, so they're a very good team despite "only" being ranked 26th and the lowest ranked Big 12 team.  They have W's over Omaha, Creighton, Arkansas, Arizona State, Northwestern, Wisconsin, California, Villanova, NC State, Memphis, Oral Roberts, Charlotte, UMKC and Tech and L's to TCU (in the ITA Kickoff), Mississippi, Wake Forest, San Diego, Tulsa, UCF, Oklahoma, Baylor and Texas.  They are 1-3 in the Big12 and are fighting to avoid the #6 (and lowest) seed in the Big 12 tourney in Lawrence next week.  They are led by #76 Matel Vocel  (Czech Republic) and #122 Artur Dubinski (Belarus) and they also have Maxim Tybar (Belarus), Mathieu Scaglia (France), Emile Hudd (London) and Luke Hammond (Birmingham, UK) as singles players.  In doubles, Tybar and Scaglia are ranked #29.  Their coach is Jay Udwadia, who's been there since 2012 - he's a former Razorback.  All-time, TCU leads the historic series 13-10, including 6 straight and 7 out of the last 8 matches.  The last 4 matches, the Frogs have swept the Cowboys 4-0.  In Stillwater, however, the all-time series is tied at 3-all.  We should be favored, but if they can take Texas to 4-3, they can do the same to us.  We better be ready in our final match of the regular season.  At stake is a possible Top 8 ranking and the 3rd seed in the Big12 tourney.  The match is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. tomorrow.

 

In addition to Texas's 4-3 W over Oklahoma State (which clinched at least a share of the Big12 title for the 8th time), Mississippi State trounced A&M in College Station 6-1.

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It's the final regular season match of the year - this time at Stillwater.  In doubles, it'll be Rybakov/Gray v. Scaglia/Tybar; Stalder/Kruger v. Hudd/Vocel and Fomba/Jong v. Hammond/Dubinski.  It'll start shortly.

 

And we're off!  1-0 leads on all courts for the Frogs!

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

3-love; 1-2; 2-1.

4-love; 2-all; 3-1.

4-1; 3-2; 4-1.  Looking good!

4-1; 3-all; 4-3.  The Cowboys fighting back...

An impressive 6-1 W for Rybakov and Gray over #29 Scaglia/Tybar!

But both Stalder/Kruger and Fomba/Jong are tied 4-all.

5-4; 5-4.

5-all; 5-all.  We just need one of these, but we could still lose both.

5-6; 5-all.

5-6; 6-5.

Stalder/Kruger fall 5-7, so it's all up to Luc and Sander on Court 3.  6-5.

6-all.  The doubles point will be decided by a tiebreaker.

Arrgh!  Fomba/Jong fall 2-7 in the breaker and OSU takes a 1-0 lead.  Very disappointing!  Singles up next...

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Trailing 1-0, the Frogs need a better performance in singles.  It'll be Rybakov v. Vocel; Gray v. Dubinski; Stalder v. Tybar; Kruger v. Scaglia; Fomba v. Hudd; and Jong v. Brady Draheim in a late line-up switch by the Cowboys.  We need 4 of these...

 

Early, it's Rybakov 1-1; Gray 1-2; Stalder 2-1; Kruger 1-2; Fomba 1-0; Jong 2-0.

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

Rybo up a break 3-1; Gray down a break 2-3; Stalder 3-2; Kruger 2-3; Fomba 3-love; Jong 4-love.

Rybakovsky 4-1; AG 2-4; Widow 3-all; Krugs 3-all; Luc 3-1; Sander 5-love!

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

Rybo 5-3; Gray 0-0 in his 2nd; Stalder takes it 6-3; Kruger falls 3-6; Fomba 5-2; Jong 1-love in his 2nd.

Rybakov wins 6-3; Gray 1-all in his 2nd; Stalder 2-love in his 2nd; Kruger 1-love in his 2nd; Fomba 5-3 in his 1st; Jong 3-love in his 2nd.

 

All 2nd sets as Fomba wins 6-3 (TCU takes 4 first sets).  Rybo 0-0; Gray 2-1; Stalder 2-love; Kruger 1-all; Fomba 0-0; Jong 4-love.

Jong wins 6-1, 6-1 and it's TCU 1 OSU 1!!  Rybo 2-1; Gray 3-all; Widow 5-love!; Kruger 4-1; Fomba 2-love.  Looking good!

Stalder wins 6-3, 6-0 and it's TCU 2 OSU 1!!  Rybakov 2-1; Gray 3-4; Kruger 5-1!; Fomba 2-love. 

Rybakov 3-1; Gray 3-5; Kruger takes his 2nd set 6-1 and is now in his 3rd; Fomba 2-1.

Rybo 4-1; Gray 4-5; Kruger 0-1 in his 3rd; Fomba 2-all.

Alex 5-1!; Ali breaks back and it's 5-all; Bertus 1-1 in his 3rd; Luc 2-3.

Rybo takes his match 6-3, 6-1 and it's TCU 3 Oklahoma State 1!!  Gray 6-5; Kruger 1-2 in his 3rd; Fomba 2-3.  We just need 1 more!

Alastair Gray takes his 2nd set 7-5!  Kruger 3-2 in his 3rd; Fomba 3-4 in his 2nd.

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Three matches remain and the Frogs lead 3-1.  Gray and Kruger are into their 3rd sets after coming back to triumph in their 2nd sets.  Fomba could still win in straight sets.

 

Gray 0-0 in his 3rd; Kruger 3-2 in his 3rd; Fomba 3-4. 

Gray 1-0; Kruger 4-2!; Fomba 4-all.

Gray 1-all; Kruger 5-3; Fomba 5-all.  I'm betting on Bertus to clinch first...

Gray 1-2; Kruger 5-4; Fomba 6-5.  Maybe it'll be Luc to clinch...

Bertus clinches 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 and the Frogs win 4-1!!  We're 19-5 and clinched the #3 seed in the Big12 and a probable Top 8 ranking!  A very impressive singles performance after getting beat in the doubles.

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Texas beat OU today to outright clinch the Big 12, but Tech upset Baylor 4-3 in Lubbock, so the final Big 12 standings are as follows:

 

Texas - 5-0; 22-2

TCU  - 3-2; 19-5

Baylor  - 3-2; 20-4

Tech - 2-3; 15-10

Oklahoma - 1-4; 14-9

Oklahoma State - 1-4; 14-10

 

The Frogs therefore finished in a tie for 2nd - the usual tie-break is H2H, so I assume that we're still gonna be seeded 3rd.  And OU beat OSU 2 weeks ago, so I assume that we'll play the Cowboys as the 6th seed in the first round of the Big 12 tourney, and if we win, would get a re-match against Baylor, who will have a 1st-round bye.  Unless there's a different tie-break in tennis...

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The  Big 12 announced the seedings and schedule for this weekend's conference tournament championship and, as projected, we're the 3rd seed and will face #6 Oklahoma State (yet again) Friday at 12:00 noon in Lawrence.  The Cowboys are 14-10 and have W's over ...- oh wait, just scroll back a few posts and read the preview for yesterday because it hasn't changed much...  This will be the third time we've faced them this season so we know them fairly well - supposedly, it's tough to beat a team 3 times in a year, but I'm not sure if that applies in tennis.  #4 Tech will face #5 OU in the other quarter and the winner of that will play #1 Texas in a semi and the winner of our match will play #2 Baylor in the other semi.  Obviously, we want to win it, but if we don't, the least we want is to do well enough to preserve our expected #8 ranking, which means we need to do better than North Carolina, A&M and USC, who are chasing us in the rankings.  It'd also be very cool if we can catch and pass Baylor and we'll have a good chance to do that if we can win 2 rounds.  Texas is expected to be #1; Baylor to be #7 and TCU #8, so this will be a very stacked tourney.

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LOL.  Tech's stunning upset of Baylor yesterday has caused CollegeTennisRanks to change their projections - TCU is now projected to pass Baylor and move up to #7 in tomorrow's ITA rankings, and Baylor will fall to 8th (despite the H2H advantage over us).  Also, this means that Tech will probably be ranked #18th, within striking distance of hosting a regional if they can make it up to #16th which is possible if they beat OU Friday and certain if they could then beat Texas in the semis.  The problem for Baylor is that they have 9 really good W's but this is the week that the ITA expands to the Top 10 W's and our 10th W is much more impressive than theirs.  What if scenarios are speculative, but if we can beat Oklahoma State, and if either UNC, A&M or USC win their conference tourneys, our possible match against Baylor could decide who gets the Top 8 advantage and who doesn't.  CTR also has a cool "what if" app and I ran it for us beating Oklahoma State, Baylor and Texas, and if that happens, we could end up as high as 5th (and we'd knock Texas off the #1 perch).  Kind of like DUSHEE, CTR is usually but not always predictive of what will happen with the ITA.  We'll find out tomorrow when the rankings are released.

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Cam Norrie is off to Monaco where he is scheduled to play in the opening round of the Monte-Carlo Open tomorrow at 4:00 a.m. (CDT) against #58 Adrian Mannarino, a 30--year-old Frenchman.  Due to his weak play in the last few weeks, Cam has slipped to #56, so this match (on clay) should be relatively even.  Cam beat him the only time they've previously played 6-4, 6-4 in Los Cabos last year.

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2 hours ago, Jared said:

#58 Adrian Mannarino, a 3--year-old Frenchman

That should be a really interesting match. They start them young on the French team.

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Cam beat Mannarino today for his first W in several weeks in the opening round at Monte Carlo 6-4, 6-3.  He will now face #37 Marton Fucsovics, a 27-year-old player from Hungary in the 2nd round.  He won't be favored as Fucsovic is best on clay, but Cam's matches don't always follow form, so we'll see.

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The Camster's W was his first ever in a Masters 1000 level event.  And, as projected by CTR (the "DUSHEE" of college tennis), TCU moved up to #7 in the nation, our highest ranking of the year, within the coveted Top 8 for possible super-regional purposes and ahead of our arch-rival Baylor, who came in at #8.  Read em and weep Bears!

 

1. Ohio State (they reclaim the top spot)

2. Texas (L; last week was the first ever #1 ranking for the Longhorns and they fall one spot this week)

3. Florida (L)

4. Wake Forest

5. Virginia

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

7. the Fighting Frogs of lil ole TCU

8. Baylor (L)

9. North Carolina (L)

10. USC

11. A&M (W)

12. Stanford

13. Tennessee (W)

14. UCLA (W)

15. Illinois (W; W in an exhibition)

16. Columbia (W)

17. Georgia

18. Tech (W)

19. Michigan

20. N.C. State

21. Alabama

22. South Carolina

23. Notre Dame

24. Arizona

25. Oklahoma (W)

26. Mississippi

27. Arizona State (W; W in an exhibition)

32. Oklahoma State (W; W; next up in the Big 12 tourney on Friday)

39. Tulane (W)

46. USF (W although technically rained out)

 

Alexandrovich Rybakovsky is now 3rd in singles; Alastair Gray is 24th; Rybo/Gray leapt up to 15th in doubles and Reese Stalder/Bertus Kruger are 17th (if they stay there, they all might make the NCAA's).  We seem to be peaking nicely just as postseason play commences.  Hopefully, we'll keep it up. 

 

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Cam beat Fucsovics this morning 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 in the 2nd round at Monte Carlo and has advanced to to the third round (Round of 16) where he will play #96 Lorenzo Sonego, a 23-year-old 6' 3" Italian, who is also a clay specialist.  Cam appears to have regained his winning form and he should be favored, so that means (to me) that he probably won't win this one.

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