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Jared

TCU Tennis 2019-2020

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Finally!  Coach Roditi has released the new 2019-2020 tennis schedule and it is therefore time to start yet another annual Froghorn Tennis thread.  We've been doing this for several years now - thanks to all the various worldwide tennis correspondents who have consistently made this the best place to follow Frog tennis on the internet (or anywhere for that matter).  The main focus, obviously, is to cover the men's team, but we also follow the women's team (somewhat) and all Frogs currently playing pro tennis, of which there are many.  Last year, we achieved "official" recognition from none other than Mark Cohen, TCU's SID, who is best known for his continuing personal efforts to directly affect Frog sports results, most notably at last year's Cheez-int Bowl.  Mark Cohen assured me in an exclusive interview that this forum is read (believe it or not) by the higher-up powers-that-be at TCU and it also sometimes attracts readers from around the country because it remains one of the few detailed college tennis blogs. 

 

Last year, the Frogs finished 22-7, 14-2 at home and once again made the Elite 8 at the NCAA tourney, losing to the eventual national champion Texas Longhorns.  But unfortunately, we didn't make it 4 in a row as the Big 12 champs, losing to both Texas and Baylor, finishing 3rd in the conference and having our dynasty ended.  In addition, Alex Rybakov ("Rybo") made the semi-finals of the individual singles NCAA tourney, losing only to the NCAA #1 player Nuno Borges, of Mississippi State.  Perhaps the highlight of the year was the Frogs beating Mississippi State in the inaugural super-regionals in StarkVegas to advance to the NCAA team finals.  Other highlights included avenging our prior years' losses to Illinois, our Nemesis, beating Tennessee, Mississippi State and several other top teams, thus climbing our way back into the Top 10 (like normal).  And this year, we'll have to cope with the loss of both Rybo and Reese Stalder ("Widow"), who have been mainstays of the team ever since this thread started.  Both have now joined Nick Chappell, Jerry Lopez and Cam Norrie (the "Camster") as highly ranked ATP touring pros, who we will also continue to try to follow.

 

So this year's team is going to be a bit of an enigma.  We've got 3 new top commits - Tadeas Paroulek, Tomas Jirousek (both from the Czech Republic) and Scot Jacob Fearnley; each of which showed great promise as juniors.  The various tennis recruiting blogs thus rated our incoming class as the #4 highest rated in the country.  How they'll fit into our existing line-up is a huge unknown.  Our projected line-up will probably feature Alastair Gray at #1; Bertus Kruger at #2; Luc Fomba at #3; Sander Jong at #4; Eduardo Roldan at #5 and either Juan Martin, Max Kurzban, or any of the new freshmen at #6.  We'll see.  A lot will depend on practice, which only Coaches Roditi and Bowen will see, and based on rankings, Tadeas Paroulek could well debut as high as #3 on the team.  As the reigning national champs, the Longhorns will probably be favored in the Big 12, but that was a senior-laden team and will have to overcome losses similar to losing Rybo and Widow.  Moreover, they won't be getting nearly as many bribes as they did under disgraced felon Michael Center, who was the "star" of the infamous college admissions scandal which broke last year - their "interim" coach, Bruce Berque, is now full-time.  Baylor will also be a huge threat - they stole Benedict Brooksby, the Kalamazoo champ and the only American to qualify at the U.S. Open, from the Frogs in heinous fashion and they are coached by multiple national champion-winning coach Brian Boland. The Big 12 is loaded, with OU, Oklahoma State and Tech all potentially improving - it could well be the strongest tennis conference in the nation.

 

Our schedule starts this weekend.  Like last year, at least some of the team will be playing at the Midland Invitational (which was extraordinarily difficult to follow last year).  Sorry Boston Frog, no Newport trip this year.  Afterwards, much of the team will be in Houston for the pro Futures tourney there all next week.  The following week (9/20-22), the Frogs will take their annual trip to California for the Battle in the Bay Classic in San Francisco (which our West Coast correspondents will be expected to attend even though it's hundreds of miles away from where they actually live).  Then, from 9/30 until 10/6, there'll be another ITF tourney in Norman where a number of Frogs will undoubtedly be.  The ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa will occur from 10/5 until 10/13.  Then, the just announced Oracle-sponsored and Frog-hosted ITF tourney will be in Ft. Worth from 10/20 to 10/27 - hopefully, we'll dominate this one on our home courts and Ft. Worth residents can attend.  After that, the ITA Texas Regionals will be in Waco from 10/25 until 10/28.  Then, SMU will be hosting a Wildcard tourney from 11/1 til 11/3.  There'll then be another ITF tourney in Birmingham from 11/4 til 11/10.  And another in Austin from 11/18 til 11/24.  And at the end of November, there'll also be the ITA Nationals in New York which winners of the various ITA regionals will attend.  That's it for a rather busy fall - although perhaps one or more players will try their hands at the Oracle Masters or other national singles college tourneys.

 

But the Spring team competition is obviously what we're most interested in.  Like last year, the Frogs will once again journey to Arizona for the Tempe Collegiate Classic at ASU on or about 1/18.  Our first official Spring event will be on 1/25 against FAU at home.  We will then host an ITA Kickoff Regional on 1/26 - at which we will host Notre Dame and Arizona.  Then, it's 2 extremely tough road matches at Michigan (2/1) and at Virginia (2/6).  What on earth is Roditi thinking?  Probably that it's best in college tennis to play as many top teams as possible because that's how you earn rankings points if you win and losing doesn't really hurt you.  What this means is that the Wolverines and Cavs will probably be visiting Ft. Worth next year.  It won't get any easier as we then host UNC on 2/9.  The ITA Nationals will be in Mad City (er, Madison for all you non-cheeseheads) on 2/14-2/17 if we win the ITA Kickoff Regional - it's not far from Chicago so maybe I'll go but probably not.  Then, it's off to University Park in Dallas to play the Ponies on 2/22 followed by a home match against USF (and Ashley Fisher) on 2/23.  We'll then host Mississippi on 2/28.  And Stanford on 3/1.  And Tulsa on 3/6 and Tulane on 3/8.  These are all good teams.  We'll travel to Houston to face Rice on 3/11, and then it's off to face Illinois yet again in Urbana-Champaign on 3/14, followed by the annual home match against Columbia on 3/21.  Big 12 play starts on 3/27 with 2 home matches against the Oklahoma schools; first with OSU and then OU (on 3/29).  We're off to face Tech on 4/3 in Lubbock; we'll host Baylor 4/5; and then, in what will probably be a pivotal season-ending match, we'll visit Texas on 4/11.  The Big 12 tourney will be 4/16-4/19 (not sure where as yet).  Then, the NCAA's (hopefully) - I think the finals are in Champaign-Urbana if we make it.

 

This is a big-time schedule.  Texas; Baylor, Stanford; Virginia, Notre Dame; Michigan; North Carolina; Mississippi; Columbia; Illinois etc...  Not to mention all those AAC teams who always give us trouble.  I hope we can survive this in a transition year after losing Rybo.  But it definitively shows that TCU is most assuredly a "tennis" school.  I can't wait! 

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Excellent post to kick us off with the new season, Jared! This west coast correspondent will not be able to make the SFO tourney next weekend, but the ASU match in mid-January is definitely a possibility as I travel to my new post. Please keep us updated on that one, if possible.

GO FROGS!

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3 minutes ago, PurpleDawg said:

Excellent post to kick us off with the new season, Jared! This west coast correspondent will not be able to make the SFO tourney next weekend, but the ASU match in mid-January is definitely a possibility as I travel to my new post. Please keep us updated on that one, if possible.

GO FROGS!

Well, like last year's inaugural edition, it's called the Tempe Collegiate Cup and, although an exhibition, it'll feature 4 top teams, including TCU and ASU and the 4 will play round robin.  Last year, it really kicked off our year as we were able to beat ASU, Mississippi State and Illinois, and although those results didn't count officially, they were in fact played and, I think, were remembered in our "official" matches later in the year against each of those 3, all of which we subsequently won.  Rybo even beat Borges there too - Nuno "officially" was undefeated all Spring, but not really.

 

One thing I didn't note above is that the Aggies have apparently chickened out this season - we've played them annually since the SWC broke up, but not this year.  Of course, it's possible that the schedule will be changed and the Aggies will be added later - I also expect to see UTA to pop up on the schedule at some point as well.  Unlike football, these things are malleable and if a team looks like they won't crack .500 and therefore be eligible for the NCAA's, they often make additions even in the latter portions  of the Spring so as to enhance their chances.  I hope that we don't have to do that, but if we do, ACU, Midwestern State, Austin College, texas A&M-Commerce and Trinity etc... could also magically appear on our schedule later...

 

Nich Chappell is scheduled to play against Adam Walton in Champaign-Urbana in about 2 hours...

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... we also follow the women's team (somewhat)...

I just saw on the Twitter that TCU women's team member Ellie Douglas is into the quarterfinals at the Futures tourney in Redding, CA, after her opponent retired. Ms. Douglas made the main draw as a lucky loser and then promptly knocked off the tournament 7-seed, Quinn Gleason (Notre Dame, pro for a few years now).

Edited by FractalFrog
Ms. Douglas is into the quarterfinals, and not through the quarterfinals.
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Nick Chappell lost to Adam Walton 6-4, 4-6, 0-6 today in the quarters at Champaign-Urbana so that's it for the Frogs in Illinois.

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It took a LOT of digging and surfing, but I think I found the results for the first day at the Midland Invitational (which is officially the Racquet Club Invitational) at which 14 schools (men's and women) are attending.  So far as I can tell, Max Kurzban and Eduardo Roldan are the only Frogs playing - both lost their opening round main draw matches (Eduardo 6-4, 4-6, 6-7 to Azoidis from ACU and Max 3-6, 6-3, 2-6 to Guido Marson of A&M), but they both won their first rounds in the consolation bracket (Eduardo 6-3, 6-0 over Bushamuka from Utah State and Max 6-1, 7-6 over Hjalte (also) from Utah State).  Eduardito will next play Sanson from UTSA and Max will play Bermejo from New Mexico.  In doubles, they teamed together and lost to Maggs/Dobai in the first round (8-9) - I don't think there's a doubles consolation bracket.

 

So, basically, Eduardito and Max are getting some good early fall experience.

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Eduardo Roldan lost to UTSA's Sanson 4 and 4 but Max Kurzban won his match against UNM's Bermejo 6-4, 4-6, 10-6 to advance to the semis of the consolation bracket today at Midland.  Then, for some reason, he defaulted his next match - injury??!!  Whatever, that it's for the Frogs at Midland.  Next up is an ITF pro tourney in Houston before setting off for San Francisco for the Battle in the Bay Classic with some top West Coast teams.  I'm guessing Ali Gray for sure in Houston and maybe some others as well.

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Both Alastair and Nick were on the acceptance list for the ITF Houston tourney, but for some reason, both chose to withdraw.  But remaining on the acceptance list are both Tadeas Paroulek, in what will be his U.S. debut, and Alex Rybakov.  Both are already into the main draw and won't have to go through qualies.  Tadeas is actually ranked higher than Rybo.  The tourney will be held on the Rice campus.

 

And in looking up Tadeas' schedule, Google prompted "Tadeas Meaning" and I clicked on it and it turns out that Tadeas is a derivative of the Greek word for Thaddeus, which means "courageous heart."  So, in honor of Tadeas' U.S. tennis debut, he is now going to be known as "Courageous Heart" on this thread, which sounds very Native Americanish.  I'm not actually of Native American heritage, but while in Boy Scouts, I was in the Order of the Arrow, which therefore qualifies me to bestow Native American nicknames on Czech tennis players who have never been to the States.  Courageous Heart Paroulek will be making his U.S. debut this week in Houston.  It's quite a bit of a better name than "Benedict" Brooksby, who also withdrew from this tourney (probably because he's a traitor and not brave enough to face Courageous Heart as yet).  Run for the stronghold Courageous Heart!  The Baylor Bears are coming!

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Nick is on the acceptance list for the Fayetteville ITF tourney, as is Reese Stalder. If they haven't withdrawn, they're in the main draw. Former Frog Eduardo Nava is in the qualies there.

 

 

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Alex Rybakov got a good draw at the Houston ITF tourney - he got a bye in the opening round and will play the winner of the Christian Langmo v. Hugo Gaston match tomorrow.  Courageous Heart Paroulek got a terrible draw and will play top seeded Sebastian Fanselow (Germany - ATP #337) in a few hours.

 

Meanwhile, in Fayetteville, Widow will open against William Grant in about 20 minutes and Nick Chappell will play Herbert Joel Maginley later this afternoon.

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Widow was able to make a huge comeback and beat William Grant 6-7 (6-8), 6-4, 6-2 at Fayetteville this afternoon.  This is a good win for Reese because he had previously lost 9 singles matches in a row.  His next opponent in singles is unknown at present.  Nick Chappell also won his opening rounder against Maginley 3 and 1 and his next opponent is also unknown.  But Widow and Nick are also teaming in doubles again this week and they will play Boyer/Kamisar tomorrow.

 

In Houston, Courageous Heart Paroulek wasn't able to play against Fanselow today, so he and Rybo will both be in action tomorrow.  Rybo will play Adrian Oetzbach.

 

And as PD reported, the ITA today released its preseason singles and doubles rankings and 5 Frogs are ranked.  In singles, Alastair Gray is the highest at 18th; Luc Fomba is next at 86th; and Bertus Kruger is 92nd.  The Top 10 are: (1) Carl Soderlund (Virginia); (2) Christian Sigsgaard (Texas); (3) Oliver Crawford (Florida); (4) Yuya Ito (Texas); (5) Brandon Holt (USC); (6) Aleksander Kovacevic (Illinois); (7) Axel Geller (Stanford); (8) Daniel Cukierman (USC); (9) Jack Lin (Columbia) and (10) Sam Riffice (Florida).  Looking at this, it would seem that Texas and USC are likely to be pretty good.  In doubles, Ali and Jacob Fearnley are ranked 22nd and Luc and Bertus are 38th.  And Courageous Heart is ranked 3rd in the Freshman/Newcomer category.  These are good rankings but not overly impressive - it'll be a transition year with lots of unknowns.

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Courageous Heart Paroulek's American debut has been much delayed - it was supposed to be played yesterday, was re-scheduled for 11:00 a.m. today, was delayed until 2:00 and then was interrupted until recently at 1-1 in the first set, but it has finally resumed and the score is now 7-5, 2-1 as Tadeas has taken the first set and is already up a break against Fanselow, the former Pepperdine Wave who is ranked over 400 ATP spots higher and sofascore was predicting had a 91% chance of winning.  This would be a big upset if the new Frog can hang on! 

 

In Fayetteville, the doubles match between Widow/Chappell and Boyer/Kamisar was canceled and instead they played and beat Howard-Tripp/Rousset 1 and 2 and have advanced to the quarters against, of all teams, the Navas, including former Frog Eduardo Nava.  But in singles, there must be some kind of mistake in the draw because Widow and Chappell are scheduled to face each other tomorrow.

 

Arrgh!  Courageous Heart was broken and it's now 2-all in the 2nd.

2-3.  Why did I start updating this??!!  It's just gone south ever since I started to follow it.

3-all!  The wily Bohemian (and 3rd ranked ITA Freshman/Newcomer) holds at love and levels it with the former Wave.  Meanwhile, Rybo will be facing another former Wave in Adrian Oetzbach in about 2 hours (supposedly).  Like Widow, Alex is looking to break a losing streak (4 matches).

3-4.

3-5.  %$#@!  Down a break.

3-6.  All square at one set apiece now.  Bad second set collapse.

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Tadeas will be serving first in the decisive 3rd set.  Fanselow is proving as tough as his #337 ranking would predict.

 

1-0.  Courageous Heart holds but not easily.

1-all.

1-2.  Down a break and Tadeas has lost 7 of the last 9 games.  Not looking good after such a promising start.

1-3.  Multiple deuces but can't get that break.

2-3.  Still in it.  He's playing courageously but needs a break soonest.

YESSS!!  He gets the break!  3-all and all square again!

4-3.  Courageous Heart is back in the lead, but still even on serve.

4-all.  Tadeas had his chances and 1 break point with multiple deuces, but didn't convert.

5-4!  Courageous Heart holds.  Another break here would be nice...

NOW THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!  Tadeas Paroulek breaks at love to take the match 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 and wins his U.S. debut and advances at Houston!  Fanselow was heavily favored and Tadeas took it!  Very Courageous!  Lots of Heart!

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Tadeas' next match in the Round of 16 in Houston will be against Italian-American Liam Caruana, who lives in Austin, skipped college and is ranked #584, so it'll again take a courageous heart to prevail.  But attention now shifts to Alexandrovich Rybakovsky (or "Rybo" if you prefer the brevity thing), who will be playing another former Pepperdine Wave - Adrian Oetzbach (ATP# 1537), a German who had to win 3 qualies and his opening rounder while Alex got a bye.  Unlike Tadeas, Rybo should be favored, but he has lost 4 straight matches.  It should start shortly.

 

1-1  Rybo holds the first game and then gets into looong game that he ultimately lost, despite multiple break points.

2-1.  Another love hold for Alex.

2-all.  Another long game, multiple break points, but Oetzbach holds again.

4-2!  Rybo finally gets the break!

5-2.  Looking good!

6-2.  Another break and the first set goes to Rybo.

 

1-0 in the 2nd.  Barely...

3-1.  The one's going nicely as Alex gets the key break.

4-2.

6-2!  Alex advances to the quarters with a 6-2, 6-2 W!

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Tomas Jirousek just defeated Belgian  Tom Pisane 6-1, 7-6(2) in his second-round ITF tornament match in Zlatibor, Serbia. 

 

Nick and The Widow are playing now in Fayetteville. Nick took the first set 6-1. 

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Nick just advanced 1 and 1 in Fayetteville!  Sadly, the Red Widow just lost 1 and 1 in Fayetteville.  The Navas are next for both in doubles in a couple of hours.  Did y'all realize that the University of Arkansas' campus has at least one of every single indigenous American tree growing on it?

 

In Zlatibor, Tomas Jirousek (ATP #794, who is desperately in need of a new nickname), is scheduled to play again today against Peter Nagy in the quarters, a Hungarian with a ranking of #591, shortly.  Zlatibor is known for health tourism, skiing and hiking.

 

Both Rybo and Courageous Heart are also in action today - Paroulek against Caruana and Rybo against Hugo Gaston, a Frenchie with a ranking of #379.  Neither Frog will be favored but stranger things have happened in American tourney debuts.  Houston is known for humidity and the dearth of zoning.

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Nick and Widow v. the Navas is currently ongoing in Fayetteville, with it all tied 4-all in the first set.  Eduardo Nava, of course, is an ex-Frog but he transferred (I believe to Wake), so I'm not sure if we should treat him as a Frog.  Any opinions?  He's not exactly Casey Printers - it was mostly because he had a horrific hamstring injury which knocked him out for a year.

 

In other college tennis news, the Oracle Masters (in Malibu) next week is going to be covered on ESPN+ and rebroadcast on ESPNU.  Evidently, no Frogs are going to be there, but it will feature 7 of the Top 25 ITA players, led by USC's Daniel Cukierman, Columbia's Jack Lin, Baylor's Matias Soto and two Aggies - Hady Habib and Carlos Aguilar.

 

Instead, the Frogs will be in San Francisco (they're actually already there) for the 11th edition of the Battle in the Bay Classic, which will feature players from USC, San Francisco, Georgia, TCU, Cal, Michigan, Tech, Stanford, Wake, Pacific, OU, UCSB, USD, Alabama and Hawaii.  There is a new format - there will be qualies starting today who will feed into the main draw.  And there will also be a consolation bracket.  I'm just guessing, but I don't think Tadeas will be able to play there (he's In Houston) and that this is the reason Ali Gray withdrew from Houston.

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37 minutes ago, Jared said:

Eduardo Nava, of course, is an ex-Frog but he transferred (I believe to Wake), so I'm not sure if we should treat him as a Frog.  Any opinions?  He's not exactly Casey Printers - it was mostly because he had a horrific hamstring injury which knocked him out for a year.

source.gif

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3 hours ago, PurpleDawg said:

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It was a sad day for the Frogs, therefore, as ex-Frog Eduardo Nava and his brother lost a doubles match 4-6, 6-7 (3-7) to some guys named Nick Chappell and Reese Stalder at Fayetteville.  Nava thus did not advance to the semis like his opponents, who will now play Bryde/Zink in the semis tomorrow.

 

Courageous Heart Paroulek's match will be starting shortly and Rybo will follow soon thereafter in Houston.

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Courageous Heart's match has been delayed (what a surprise!), but I did find some info on the Battle in the Bay Classic.  It's being hosted by USF and the tourney page is at their website.  No Frogs are playing in today's qualies but Ali Gray, Jacob Fearnley and Luc Fomba are all into the main draw tomorrow - Alastair is seeded 3rd and will play Georgia's Baptiste Anselmo (5:00 p.m.), Jacob Fearnley will make his college debut against 8th seeded William Genesen (OU)(3:00 p.m.) and Luc Fomba will play at 5:30 p.m. against a qualifier from today's matches.  USC's Brandon Holt is the top seed.  In doubles, Ali and Jacob are the top seeds and they'll start at 11:00 tomorrow and will play Genesen and Mason Beiler, from OU.  Weirdly, Luc Fomba will play with Croyder from Georgia and they'll face the Tech duo of Parker Wynn and Thompson.  Rybo was the singles champ here last year.

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Paroulek (#723) v. Caruana (#584) has started!  Caruana is serving first.

 

0-1.  Caruana holds.

1-all.  The wily Bohemian holds at love.

1-3.  Tadeas is broken after saving 2 break points.  Not good.

1-4. (sigh)

1-5.  Down 2 breaks  - Caruana just has too much for Tadeas so far...

1-6.  There goes the 1st set.  Courageous Heart needs to bounce back quickly or this could be over in less than an hour.

 

0-1.  Tadeas broken easily.  Stick a fork in this one.  At least he made the quarters in his U.S. debut.

0-2.  Paroulek appears to be, like Luc Fomba, streaky.  Except that Luc is streaky within the match whereas Courageous Heart is streaky match-to-match.  In tennis, it's all about the match-up.  Roditi needs to take this into account in determining where Tadeas is in the line-up.

1-2!  Tadeas gets a game!!!

1-3.  But Paroulek shows signs of life with multiple deuces.

1-4.  Signs of death in that one...

1-5.  When does Rybo start?

Like the Native Americans at Wounded Knee, Courageous Heart falls 1 and 1.

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Hugo Gaston is only 18 years old, but he's a legit phenom.  He won the 2018 Youth Summer Olympics (he was the French flagbearer), the Orange Bowl International and the Boys' Doubles title at the Aussie. He already has an ATP ranking of #379 and is obviously going to skip college.  Rybo is only #650.  Somehow, though, I think Alex has a good chance here.  It'll (supposedly) start shortly in Houston.  This'll be for a ticket to the semis.

 

They're off!  Gaston serving first.

0-1.  Gaston strikes first with an easy hold.  The bettors on sofascore favor Gaston by 54.47% to 45.53% .

0-2.  Aw man.  I'm getting sick and tired of this "Frogs getting broken" thang.  C'mon Rybo!

0-3.  (sigh)

1-3.  Rybo gets on the board and avoids abject embarrassment (barely).

Check it out!  Rybo digs himself a 15-40 hole, but fights back for the break.  2-3!  Even on serve!

2-4.  Aw man.  I'm getting sick and tired of this "Frogs getting broken" thang.  Down a break (again).

2-5.

3-5. (barely).  Still in this set, but Rybo needs a break.

3-6.  Gaston takes the 1st set with a love hold.  Rybo needs to change the momentum soon.

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Rybakovsky will serve first in the 2nd set.

1-0!  Key hold (if there is such a thing).  Rybo saves a break point.

1-all.

2-1.  First easy hold of the match for Alex!  Can he turn that worm?

2-all.  Gaston with a love hold too.  The worm remains evenly balanced in this set.

3-2.  Whew!  Rybo saves a break point and gets another key hold.

3-all. Gaston rolls with yet another love hold.

3-4.  (sigh) Gaston with a love break and 8 straight points.

3-5.

4-5.  One last chance for a break to stay in this.  I'm not holding my breath though the way Gaston is serving.

WHAT????!!!!  Like flipping on a switch, Rybo stuns Gaston with the late break!!!  5-all!!

6-5!!  Alex holds and takes the lead in the 2nd set!

6-all.  Into a breaker!  C'mon Rybo!!

Rybo falls 4-7 in the breaker and loses 3-6, 6-7 (4-7).  So both Alex and Tadeas make the quarters but no further.

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