Friday, October 31, 2014

2013 USTA League Nationals results for reference

I was asked about trends at USTA League Nationals and if certain sections always do well, so I've started documenting past years Nationals in addition to this years.  So check out the 2013 Nationals Results to see how your section fared and periodically check out the 2014 Nationals Results to compare to this year as the next two weeks finish up.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

2014 USTA League Nationals continue with 40 & over and 55 & over divisions

The USTA League Nationals have completed the first 3 of the 5 weeks, but just half of the titles have been given out.  The last 2 weeks will be busier with matches taking place at 3 sites.

The 40 & over division is in its second weekend of play with the 3.5 and 4.5+ levels being played this weekend, the 3.5 in Tucson and the 4.5+ in Indian Wells.

The 55 & over division gets started with both the 6.0 and 8.0 levels being contested, both of these in Surprise Arizona.

I may post some updates during the weekend, but also check in here to see a record of all the winners to see what section comes out on top.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Keeping track of the 2014 USTA League Nationals Champions

We are three weeks in to the 2014 USTA League Nationals and the 18 & over division is complete.  The 40 & over started this past weekend and will finish over the next two weeks along with the 55 & over division.  I thought it would be interesting to keep track of what section won each gender/level in each division and so have created this page that I'll be updating through the rest of Nationals.

With half of the championships complete, the Pacific Northwest and Southern California lead the way with three titles each.  But Southern and Texas are close behind with two titles a piece.

This coming weekend is the biggest of the five weeks with eight titles up for grabs in the 40 & over 3.5 and 4.5+ levels and the 55 & over getting started with the 6.0 and 8.0 combined levels.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

And the new 2014 Nationals Champions are ...

The 2014 USTA League Nationals continued this weekend with the 18 & over 3.5 and 4.5 and 40 & over 3.0 taking place.  The six new National Champions are:

18 & over 3.5

  • The women's team from Southern California beat the Midwest team 3-2 in the final, the wins in straights, and the two losses in match tie-breaks.
  • The men's team from Northern California beat Caribbean 3-2, one of the wins in a match tie-break so very close.
18 & over 4.5
  • The Florida women's team beat Texas 4-1.
  • The Pacific Northwest men's team beat Southern 3-2, one of the wins in a match tie-break.
40 & over 3.0
  • The women's team from Southern beat Texas 3-2.
  • The men's team from Caribbean beat Southern 4-1.
Interestingly, the six winners are from six different sections.  We'll check back each weekend to see if this continues or if any section steps forward.

USTA Nationals Wildcard Tie-breaker - Is it fair?

At several of the USTA Nationals this year, there are not a full four flights due to some sections not sending teams.  This results in three flights with the winner advancing to the semis, but a wildcard then being needed to fill out the semi-finals to four teams.

The tie-breaker the USTA has elected to use is percentage of games won amongst those teams that finished second in their flight.  Is this fair or the best option?

First, the flights don't always have the same number of teams, so going on team record or team winning percentage won't work as you aren't comparing apples with apples.  For example, the second place team in the five team flight may be 3-1 so 75% winning percentage will the second place team in a four team flight would be 2-1 or 67%.  The four team flight will always lose.

What about percentage of courts won?  This would seem to be more fair, all teams get to play five (usually) or three courts each and enough courts are played that the difference between four and five team flights kind of goes away.  For example, a four team flight second place team may win 4-1 and 3-2 and lose 3-2 resulting in a courts won record of 9-6.  A five team flight second place team may win 4-1, 3-2, 3-2, and lose 3-2 and have a record of 12-8.  Both of these are 60%, so clearly you'd need a second tie-breaker as ties here might be pretty common.

You could also look at percentage of sets won instead or as the second tie-breaker.  This is quite a bit less likely to end in a tie so could serve either purpose.  This would reward the team that is able to win more courts in the first place, and then win in straight sets more often and avoid match tie-breaks.

But the USTA chose percentage of games won.  My guess is since this is far less likely to ever end in a tie, it was simpler to do as there is just one tie-breaker that has to be calculated and you don't have to have a backup.  What it also does though is reward a team that is deeper and doesn't give up games in their wins and even in their losses keeps it close.  It punishes a team that may stack and give up a court, as their percentage of games won is hurt on that court where they likely lose badly, a 6-1,6-1 loss being far worse in this tie-breaker than a 6-4,6-4 loss.

Note that at least the USTA is using a percentage in this case unlike the games lost tie-breaker used in regular season league play that is flawed.

So, is that fair?  Should preference be given to the deeper team over the scrappy team that manages to finish second through smart captaining and getting favorable line-ups?  That probably makes sense, but what do you think?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

What NTRP rating combination works best in USTA League 7.0 mixed?

I wrote a few days ago about different rating combinations in 8.0 mixed and which win more often than others.  I had folks asking about 7.0 mixed too, so here goes.

When a 4.0 male and 3.0 female play a 3.5/3.5 combo, the 4.0/3.0 pair win about 60% of the time.

When a 4.0 female and 3.0 male play a 3.5/3.5 combo, the 4.0/3.0 win about 54% of the time.

Last, when a 4.0 male and 3.0 female play the opposite pair, the 4.0 male and 3.0 female win about 57% of the time.

Other than this last point, the percentages are awfully similar to the 8.0 numbers.

What do you think.  Does this jive with your experience?

2014 USTA Nationals 40 & over 3.0 update

The 40 & over division of USTA League is having their first Nationals this weekend with the 3.0 level playing.

The women's semis are made up of a 4-0/18-2 SoCal vs a 3-0/13-2 Southern team along with a 3-0/13-2 Texas going up against a 3-0/11-4 NorCal.  It looks like some tough teams are facing each other.

The men have just 3 flights with Southern winning the 5 team flight at 4-0/15-5, Caribbean is 3-0/12-3, and Intermountain is 3-0/11-4.  I'm not sure but am guessing the wildcard to the semis may be Midwest.