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John Gruber's Match Preview

If the Slipper Fits

Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac... It’s in the hole! It‘s in the hole!Carl Spackler (Bill Murray), Caddyshack.

A heretofore unknown Layer Tennis phenom, having played his way out of the qualifiers deep into the playoffs, now faces a veteran player with championship experience. That's the setup for this semifinal match, between Noper (our Cinderella story qualifier) and Greg Hubacek.

Sound familiar? It should, because that was also the setup for last season's championship, between two-time defending champ Shaun Inman and last year's Cinderella story qualifier, a guy named Greg Hubacek.

We call them Cinderellas but perhaps we shouldn't. Cinderalla got to the ball through luck and magic. In Layer Tennis, like any sport, success is earned. If there's any magic involved, it's created out of blood, sweat, and pixels by the players themselves. I'm a student of the game, and I am unaware of even a single volley from any match, ever, which was influenced by a fairy godmother.

A quick intro to our heroes: Noper hails from Bucharest, Romania; last week he defeated Aaron Draplin. Greg Hubacek lives in sunny Philadelphia; last week he defeated Frank Chimero.

One thing I noticed in both Noper's and Hubacek's victories last week is that they both did better by doing less. Hubacek's opponent, Frank Chimero, played animated GIFs in three of his five volleys. Hubacek used a single static image every time. Noper's opponent, Aaron Draplin, made frequent use of collage -- various elements from earlier layers combined in a layout. Noper stuck more closely to creating original illustrations. My favorite volleys from their matches: this one by Hubacek, this one by Noper.

Layer Tennis league officials do not encourage wagering on matches,* but it's worth pointing out that Vegas bookmakers have this match at even odds for both players.

* They don't exactly discourage it, either, though.


John Gruber is the proprietor of Daring Fireball and has been in the booth for many of Layer Tennis's best moments.

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Congratulations to Mig Reyes, Layer Tennis Season 3 Champion. jc-12.20

Thanks to all the players, commentators and fans who made Season Three of Layer Tennis a big success. And thanks to the crew at Goodby Silverstein & Partners and all the folks at Adobe Creative Suite for making it possible. Watch this space (or sign up for Season Tickets or follow us on Twitter) for news about some special exhibition matches being planned and about Season 4. jc-12.20

Cast your votes on The Championship Match. Both Finalists will receive invitations to play in the post-season tournament for Season Four. jc-12.17

Here's how the voting works. Decide who you'd like to declare as winner and then simply tweet their first name following a hash mark. Either #mig or #noper and, this is important, also include #lyt in that tweet. We'll leave the voting open all weekend and announce our Season Three Champion on Monday. jc-12.12

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