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TCU Tennis 2019-2020

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Rybo and Tadeas may be out in Houston but Nick Chappell (in singles and doubles) and Widow (in doubles) are still alive in Fayetteville.  Unfortunately, it's raining there and Nick's quarter against Trent Bryde has been interrupted and their semifinal doubles match against Bryde and Zink, which was supposed to follow will be delayed as well.  But the battle in the Bay presumably will start on time in San Francisco with Fearnley v. Genesen, Gray v. Anselmo and Fomba v. TBD a little later today.  I'll be at work but will update tonight.

 

Oh, and I almost forgot about Tomas Jirousek, who lost to Peter Nagy today in Zlatibor in a close 3-setter 2-6, 7-5, 2-6 (also in the quarters).

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Nick Chappell boldly broke the Frogs' losing streak in ITF quarters by easily beating Bryde 2 and 2 to advance to the semis in singles at Fayetteville.  And Nick and Widow also won their semifinal doubles match over Bryde/Zink to advance to the finals tomorrow.  It seems like Nick made the right decision to pull out of the Houston tourney because he is having major success in Arkansas.  And it'd be nice to see Widow win a doubles final as well!  Go Frogs!

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And in San Francisco at the Battle in the Bay Classic, 2 Frogs were victorious today in singles.  Jacob Fearnley won his college debut over William Genesen with a comeback  - after losing the first set 6-7 (3-7), he fought back and took the next sets 3 and 2 to advance to play Nitzan Riklis (USF) in the 2nd round of the main draw.  And Alastair Gray easily prevailed 1 and 4 over Georgia's Anselmo - he will next play Philip Hjorth (Pacific) in the 2nd round.  But Luc Fomba lost to Hawaii's Andre Iligan 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 3-6 in a close one  - i think he'll now go to a consolation bracket but I'm not sure.  In doubles, the top seeded Gray/Fearnley team was upset 7-8 by OU's Genesen/Beiler.  And Fomba and Georgia's Blake Croyder also lost  6-8 to Tech's Wynn/Thompson team.  Not good.

 

But Ali and Jacob (our Brits) are still alive to repeat Rybo's championship.

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Nick Chappell's (ATP #536) semi-final match at Fayetteville against Virginia's Carl Soderlund (ATP#964) is underway and Nick won the first set 6-4 and it's 1-all in the 2nd set.  Nick and Widow will play in the doubles final against Kellovsky/Vogel  this afternoon.

 

1-2.  Nick had a break point but couldn't convert.

2-all.  Easy hold for Chappell.

3-all.  Even on serve.

YESS!!  Nick gets the key break! 4-3!

Sofascore is saying that Soderlund retired, so Nick advances to the finals!!

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Nick and Widow lost the doubles final to Kellovsky and Vocel 6-1, 3-6, 11-13 at Fayetteville, so no doubles totle this week.  But Nick is into the finals and still has a chance for a singles title tomorrow.  He'll play Rinky Hijikata (ATP#932) and should be favored, but Hijikata (an 18-year old Aussie North Carolina Tarheel commit) has blown through the main draw and is also quite hot.  It starts at 10:00 a.m.

 

In San Francisco, at the Battle in the Bay Classic, Jacob Fearnley won easily 0 and 4 over Riklis and will now face USC's top-seeded Brandon Holt, in what will be a tough match but also a great opportunity in Jacob's first-ever U.S. college tourney.  But Ali Gray lost 3 and 1 to Hjorth.  He'll get another match tomorrow, though, against USC's Ryder Jackson.  And the schedule also says that Fearnley will play Hawaii's Ilagan (although I'm not sure why).  And Ali and Jacob will also get another doubles match tomorrow against Hawaii's Ilagan and Lucian LaBrunie.  So much more tennis and Jacob still has an outside shot at the title if he can somehow get by Holt (Tracy Austin's son). 

 

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Edit - a later page says that Jacob played Holt tonight and lost a close one 5-7, 4-6.  So he had his shot and lost though he played well.  It now makes sense that he's playing Ilagan tomorrow.

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Chappell v. Hijikata in the Fayetteville singles final is just beginning.  Nick has 1 singles title in his pro career - last year in Canada - so this would be a great step forward to get another in consecutive years.  His year end rankings have gradually progressed: in 2012, he finished at #1153, in 2013, it was #1382, 2014 was #1535;  2015 was #1025; 2016 was #679; 2017 was #975 and last year was #673.  He's ranked #536 now and a W could propel him to a new career high (#522). A couple of years ago, when he slipped to #975, I was thinking his career might be over, but he has instead responded well and continues climbing.  Nick is 27 years old.  Hijikata is a young phenom, but I think Nick's chances are good.

 

They're off - Nick breaks first and now leads 2-0!

2-1.  Nick has two break points, but doesn't get that 2nd break.

3-1.  Nick gets his 2nd love hold.

3-2.  Hijikata settles down and gets a love hold.

4-2.  Still up a break.

5-2!!  Nick takes control of the set with a 2nd break of serve.

6-2!  Nick takes the first set with ease!  In less than 30 minutes!

 

1-all in the 2nd set.

1-2.  Chappell almost gets the key break but not to be.

2-all.  Nick saves 2 break points and holds.

2-3.  This set is tougher than the first.

2-4.  Ouch!  Love break for Hijikata - the battle is joined.

2-5.

2-6.  Mirror image sets.  On to the decider.

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That was a very poor set from Chappell - Hijikata is on a roll now.  (And if you want to watch tennis while following this - the Laver Cup in Geneva just went to the final match with a stunning Federer W over Isner on the Tennis Channel.  Very entertaining!  It'll be Zverev v. Raonic for the title.) 

 

0-1.  Hijikata still serving first.

0-2.  (sigh)  At love.  Chappell appears to have lost it.

1-2!  Nick breaks back!  Weird match - this break was also at love.

1-3.  Yet another break...

1-4.  I guess we should be happy Nick made the final...

1-5.  The fat lady is already crooning...

Nick starts strong but falls apart and loses the final 6-2, 2-6, 1-6.  Bad ending to a good tourney for him - the finals in both singles and doubles.

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And to wrap up last week's busy action, Jacob Fearnley defeated Hawaii's Ilagan 6-0, 4-6, 1-0 (6) and Alastair Gray lost to USC's Ryder Jackson 4-6, 6-7 (8) in Sunday's consolation matches at the Battle in the Bay.

 

So what did we learn from the week?  Nick Chappell's finals appearances have propelled him to a new career high of ATP#522 - this is excellent for him and might get him high enough to make some Challengers.  Alex Rybakov made the quarters - I was hoping for better, but he ran into a buzzsaw in Gaston despite playing well.  Both Tadeas Paroulek and Jacob Fearnley made impressive U.S. and college debuts - this means that we'll have some depth and Roditi will be faced with some choices about where our freshmen will place in our line-up.  Widow made another doubles final despite having to face Chappell in singles  - his calling in the pros could be Roditi-like where he is a doubles specialist.  Tomas Jirousek made the quarters at Zlatibor.  I'm a little disappointed that Ali Gray didn't get off to a better start to the season, but I'm not too worried - there's time.  Luc Fomba, Eduardo Roldan and Max Kurzban each got some good fall early experience.  The Camster and Jerry Lopez had the week off in the pros and the  only players we didn't hear from were Bertus Kruger, Sander Jong and Juan Martin.  Good experience for most of the team even if we didn't earn any championships.

 

This week, Rybo is headed to Harlingen (main draw) and Tomas Jirousek (1st alternate) is in Czechia at Ricany on clay.  And Cam Norrie is in China at Zhuhai where he will face Gael Monfils (ATP#12) and team with Ramos-Vinolas in doubles.

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At Harlingen, Alex Rybakov's (ATP#649) opening rounder will be against Christian Langmo (ATP#565), a former Miami Hurricane, who is at his career high and who won one of the many Cancun tourneys we followed earlier this summer.  And Tomas Jirousek (ATP#782) will open up at Ricany against Michael Vrbensky (ATP#579), another 19-year old Czech player whose career high was 464 this April, who apparently will skip U.S. college play because he hasn't signed with anyone as yet.  At Zhuhai, the reason Cam (ATP#68) is going to play Monfils (ATP#12) is because he beat Peter Gojowycyz (ATP#92) 1 and 4 a day and a half ago.  Cam and Ramos-Vinolas lost their doubles match 3-6, 5-7 last night, so all he's got left is singles where beating Monfils will be extraordinarily difficult.  The TCU team has the week off but some will probably go to the Norman ITF tourney next week. 

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Bad news around the world as Cam Norrie fought gamely but lost in 3 tough sets to Monfils in Zhuhai 7-5, 3-6, 4-6 early this morning so he's out in China.  And Tomas Jirousek lost to Vrbensky at Ricany 3 and 1 as well.  But Alex Rybakov could make up for it in a few minutes against Langmo at Harlingen.

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Rybo won easily against Christian Langmo 2 and 3 and will next face former Aggie Jordi Arconada (ATP#436) in the quarters at Harlingen.

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Alex Rybakov lost the first set against Aggie Jordi Arconada 4-6 and then the match was interrupted for several hours in Harlingen today.  Afterwards, Rybo stormed back to win the match 4-6, 6-4, 10-7 and he has now advanced to the semi-finals.  This is a big win for Alex - not only because it was an Aggie - but because Arconada was rated higher.  I'm not sure who he'll play next, but he continues to do well in the Futures, if not the Challengers.

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Nick Chappell is back in Cancun and has reached the quarterfinals in singles and the semis in doubles (with Hillel Rousseau).

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Rybo's quarter-final opponent in Harlingen at 6:30 tonight will be Frog-killer Liam Caruana (ATP#588), who ruthlessly defeated Tadeas Paroulek at Houston, despite Tadeas' courageous heart.  Caruana went on to lose the Houston finals to Gaston, who Rybo lost to.

 

And they're (finally) off!  Rybo serving first.

1-0.  Good start!

1-all.  Easy hold for Caruana.  Sofascore has a streaming service, so it's watchable (sort of).

2-1.  (Relatively) easy hold for Alex.

2-all.  Rybo puts the pressure on w/ 2 break points, but doesn't convert.

2-3.  (sigh)  Caruana gets the key early break.

3-all!  Rybakov breaks back (the pros always do) in a long tense game with multiple deuces on the 3rd break point.

4-3.  Rybo holds.  He takes a 40-love lead, relinquishes it, but then holds.

5-4.  Easy holds from both.  The pressure is on Caruana to hold to stay in the set.

5-all.

6-5.  Solid love hold from Alex. 

YESS!!  Rybo breaks again and storms back from being a break down to take the first set 7-5!

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On to the 2nd set for a spot in the semi-finals!  Rybakov will serve first again.

1-0.  Rybo gives up points for the first time on his serve for the past 3 service games, but holds. 

1-all.  Caruana settles down and gets a love hold.  Rybo has 4 aces so far - Caruana 1.

2-1.  Good hold for Rybakovsky.

2-all.  Rybo has earned 5.5 thousand euros so far this year.

3-2.  Rybo still serving well.

3-all. 6 deuces, multiple break points and the longest game of the match, but Caruana holds.

4-3!  Whew!  Rybo digs himself into a love-40 hole, but wins 5 straight points to hold!

4-all.  Getting tense.

5-4.  No breaks so far this set - still even on serve.

Woo Hoo!  For the second straight set, Alex Rybakov gets a break in the final game and takes the match 7-5, 6-4 to avenge Caruana's W over Paroulek in Houston and to advance to the semis in Harlingen!!  Way to Go Alex!

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Alex Rybakov's semi-final opponent will be Adrian Andreev (ATP#955), an 18-year-old Bulgarian, who plays for the SDSU Aztecs, who has won through the qualies and the opening rounds to win 5 straight matches in Harlingen.  So he's hot.  But Rybo is ranked higher and should be favored.  It'll (supposedly) start at 6:30 p.m.  In Cancun, Nick Chappell lost to Miguel Astorga 3 and 2, and in doubles, he and his partner gave their opponents a walkover in the semis. 

 

Alex just didn't have it tonight and lost badly - 3 and 1.  Norman is next.

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Ni hao ma!  Cam Norrie is in Beijing this week and has already played and won 2 qualie matches over Yecong He (ATP#573) and D. Dzumhur (ATP#93) - both good wins.  Now, he's scheduled to face Cristian Garin (ATP#33) in the Round of 16, which will be a tough test.   Garin is a Chilean who's been hot lately.  Reese Stalder is in Norman and has already won 1 qualie (over Peter Bothwell (ATP#735)) and is scheduled to play another tomorrow against Shane Monroe.  Nick Chappell is also in Norman into the main draw where he will face Zane Khan tomorrow.

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Cam just beat Garin 7-6 (7-5) 1-0 (retired) in Beijing this morning and has advanced to the quarters at the China Open.  I'm not sure why Garin quit but the first set was a grueling one lasting nearly an hour and a half.  Whatever - to beat #33 is definitely a good W.  He'll play the winner of the Andy Murray v. Matteo Berrettini match which will occur in an hour or so. 

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The Camster is doing his best to steal all the attention in Beijing away from the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC - he'll be facing his "mentor" Andy Murray tomorrow morning in a huge quarterfinal match at the China Open.  Murray is lowly ranked (ATP#503) but that's because he "retired" earlier this year due to chronic pain which his operations didn't really fix, but he's been playing doubles (notably with Serena in mixed at Wimbledon) an has been trying to make a singles comeback the last few weeks.  Cam and Murray know each other well - they started practicing together back when Cam was still in college, they tweet and message each other frequently.  They're both "Scots" and are the highest ranked Scotsmen and their paths often cross.  This'll be the first time they've "officially" played.

 

Widow v. Logan Zapp will be starting shortly in Norman.  Zapp (ATP#1356) is a Junior who is a highly rated recruit this year who hasn't as yet chosen a school.

 

2-all in the first set.  Even on serve - Reese is serving first.

3-all.  Winner gets into the main draw.

3-4.  (sigh)  Zapp gets the first break.

3-5.  Multiple deuces but Zapp holds.

3-6.  Widow falls in the first set.

 

0-1.  Zapp serving first this set.

1-all.  Widow holds.

2-1!!  Widow gets the early break this set!

3-1.  Reese consolidates his 1-break lead.

4-1!!  A second break and Reese takes control of the 2nd set!

5-1!  Looking good!

5-2.

6-2!  Widow squares the match with a dominating 2nd set W!

 

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On to the deciding 3rd set!  Nope, it's a pro set tiebreaker!  First to 10 points wins!

Widow up 8-4!

8-5.

9-5!

9-6.

Widow wins!!  Reese Stalder advances to the main draw with a 3-6, 6-2, 10-6 W!  His 3rd straight W!

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Cam Norrie v. former #1 Andy Murray in Beijing will begin shortly.  Murray is attempting a comeback after his hip surgery earlier this year and how good he is is at this point is unknown.  I like Cam's chances... Unfortunately, the Tennis Channel is showing the matches from Tokyo, another ATP 500 event being played simultaneously.

 

And they're off.  0-1.  Murray serving first and he holds.

1-all.  Cam holds.  He's now ranked #69th.

1-2.  The reason Garin retired last match was because he took a really nasty fall in the tie-breaker.  The U.K. media is all over this match.

2-all.  Cam has earned 613.1 thousand euros this year; 1.4 million for his career.

2-3.  Sofascore is saying that Cam has a 25.74% chance of winning (but that's based on how many bet on each player). 

3-all.  Cam turned 24 years old on 8/23.

3-4.  So far, no signs of Murray's pain affecting his play.

3-5. (sigh)  Murray gets the key 1st set break.

YESS!!  Cam breaks right back (the pros always do).  4-5!

5-all.  The Camster squares the match.

5-6.  Murray gets a love hold.

6-all.  A breaker will decide it.

Cam falls 6-8 in the breaker.  He fell way behind and fought back by saving 4 set points but couldn't turn it around...

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On to the second set!  Cameron will serve first in this one.

 

1-love.  Cam saves a break point and holds.

1-all.  No signs of Murray weakening at all.

2-1.  Cam is really fighting for this; saving 2 break points en route to the hold.

2-all.  Still even on serve, but Murray is having easier service games.

3-2.  Finally, Norrie gets a love hold.

Woo hoo!  Cam gets the early break!  4-2!

5-2!  Cam has to save a break point to do it though.

5-3.  Cam will serve for the set.

5-4.  Cam chokes and gets broken easily.

5-all.  Cam gets a set point but can't break.

6-5.  Longest game of the match; Norrie saves 2 break points and holds.  This is a very competitive even match.

6-all.  Another breaker.

Cam takes the 2nd set breaker 7-4!!!!  Even steven!!  On to the third set!!

 

 

Terrible start to the third set as Cam goes down 0-4.  I'm going to bed now - he fought hard, but it was not to be.

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Various college tennis news items.  USC's Daniel Cukierman won the Oracle Masters in Malibu.  The ITA All-American tourney in Tulsa is going to be covered live on ESPNU.  Texas picked up a top recruit in Elliot Spizzirri , who won the U.S. Open Juniors this year and is rated as the top recruit by at least one service.  And, according to the UTR ratings, TCU's Tadeas Paroulek is the 4th highest rated newcomer/freshman this year.  Otherwise, we're still in mourning over Cam losing to Andy Murray.

 

And Nick Chappell is into the main draw at Norman where he will face Michael Geerts, a Belgian with a ranking of #480.  He and Widow lost last night in doubles.

 

Nick falls 3 and 3 to Geerts.

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