Saturday, October 25, 2014

2014 USTA Nationals 18 & over 4.5 update

The USTA is holding the 18 & over 4.5 Nationals in Indian Wells this weekend and here is how things stand after day 1.

Texas is leading the 5 team flight at 2-0, but both wins were 3-2 and there are three teams behind them at 1-1 and they still have to play one of them, Florida.  So things aren't decided yet.

The Pacific Northwest and Intermountain are leading the next flight at 2-0 each, and they play each other this morning to decide who moves on to the semis.

Similarly, Southern and Hawaii are 2-0 and play each other today.  Both of these teams are 9-1 on courts through two matches so this one could be close.

Last, Mid-Atlantic is leading their flight at 2-0 but they still play 1-1 NorCal and there is still a chance of a 3-way tie.

It should be some exciting tennis as the teams compete to make the semis.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

2014 USTA Nationals 18 & over 3.5 Preview

More Nationals continue this weekend, the 18 & over 3.5 men and women playing in Tucson.

For the women, the first flight finds Florida, Texas, Pacific Northwest, Northern Cal, and Missouri Valley vying for a semi-final slot.  Interestingly, only Florida went undefeated in their regular season, so are they the favorite?

The next flight has Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, Hawaii, and Northern.  None of these teams went undefeated in the regular season.

Next, Middle States, Southern, New England, and Southern Cal will be playing round robin with Mid-Atlantic the only regular season undefeated team.

The last flight has Caribbean, Southwest, Intermountain, and Eastern.  Just Intermountain was undefeated here, although Eastern used points per court so didn't keep track of wins/losses.

For the men, the five team flight has Texas, Middle States, Northern Cal, Intermountain, and Northern.  NorCal and Intermountain were both undefeated in the regular season so this could be a hard fought flight, and Texas is usually formidable too.

The second flight has Florida, Caribbean, Mid-Atlantic, and Southwest, all but Mid-Atlantic being undefeated in the regular season.

Next is Southern, Missouri Valley, New England, and SoCal, all but New England were undefeated.

Last, PNW, Hawaii, Midwest, and Eastern line up and Hawaii and Midwest didn't have any regular season losses.

Interestingly, both teams from Southern are from not just the same state and city, but the same club!  Birmingham seems to be the center of 3.5 tennis in the South!

Good luck teams.

2014 USTA Nationals continue this weekend with 18 & over 3.5 and 4.5 and 40 & over 3.0

The USTA has been holding the 2014 USTA League Nationals the past few weeks with two levels each in the 18 & over division each weekend.  Things get into full swing tomorrow though with 40 & over getting going and a full three levels being played.

Tucson hosts a Nationals for the 3rd straight weekend with the 18 & over 3.5 title being decided.

Indian Wells also hosts for a 3rd straight week with the 18 & over 4.5 teams finding their way there.

The new host site is Rancho Mirage which will be hosting the 40 & over 3.0 teams.

If I find a little time this evening, I'll post a preview of each.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What NTRP rating combination works best in 8.0 mixed?

In my section, we are in the midst of our 18 & over Mixed season.  Today, I had someone ask me a question Facebook about what 8.0 combinations worked best.  4.5 male and 3.5 female?  4.0 of each?  Or 3.5 male and 4.5 female?

I did some quick research looking at some match data I have, and here is what I found.

In matches between a 4.5 male with 3.5 female against two 4.0s, the 4.5/3.5 combo wins about 61% of the time.

In matches between a 3.5 male with 4.5 female against two 4.0s, the 3.5/4.5 combo wins about 53% of the time.

So it would seem that the non-balanced  pairings fare better than the balanced.

What about when non-balanced pairs play each other?  The 4.5 male with 3.5 female wins a whopping 87% of the time.

You may also be wondering how often the different combinations play?  Just over 50% of the matches are between four 4.0s.  About 32% are between a 4.5 male with 3.5 female against two 4.0s.  About 9% are between a 3.5 male with 4.5 female against two 4.0s.  And about 9% are between two unbalanced pairs.

With this information, are you going to do anything different when forming your mixed team or planning your line-up?

Three strike disqualifications after Nationals, it happens!

It is pretty common knowledge that players are not subject to three-strike DQ's at Nationals.  If you are a self-rate or appeal player and you aren't DQ'd through your Sectionals, you are eligible to play at Nationals and won't get a DQ during play there.

But did you know that you can get DQ'd after Nationals?  I guess I just hadn't thought about it, always just figured year-end ratings come out relatively soon after, but I just noticed that several players that played at last weekend's Nationals were indeed DQ'd and promoted up a level.

The three I saw were from a Texas 4.0 team that made the final but did not win and two of them were the one's I'd mentioned earlier as barely missing a DQ during the regular season.  They both likely had 5 strikes at Nationals but no matches are reversed and the players are just promoted to the next level.

What about the SoCal team that beat them?  They didn't have any DQ'd, but then again they didn't have the appeal or self-rates Texas had.

And what about the Texas 3.0 team that won the prior weekend?  They didn't have any, but they had fewer self-rates and the threshold for strikes for a 3.0 has a lot more tolerance than for 4.0.

What does this mean?  Just that these players were playing well above level by the time Nationals was played and get promoted early rather than waiting for year-end.  There are certainly other players from their Nationals that will be bumped up too, they just have to wait.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

USTA League 18 & over 2.5 and 4.0 Nationals are complete - Congratulations Eastern, PNW, SoCal, and SoCal

The second weekend of USTA League Nationals is complete with the 18 & over 2.5 and 4.0 levels playing this weekend in Indian Wells and Tucson.

In the women's 2.5, Eastern and NorCal found themselves in the final having beaten Southern and Pacific Northwest int he semis.  Eastern pulled out the 2-1 win, one of the wins in a match tie-break.

The men's 2.5 found NorCal and PNW in the final after wins over Eastern and Florida.  PNW won 2-1, with each of the matches surprisingly being straight sets wins.

The 4.0 women's title was won by Texas beating Southern Cal 4-1 in the final after taking out Mid-Atlantic 4-1 in their semi.

Last, the 4.0 men also found Southern California and Texas playing in the final, both coming off 4-1 wins in the semis.  Unlike the Texas 3.5 team from last weekend, this Texas team was not entirely made up of self-rated players from last or this year but did have quite a few and had lost two to DQ's earlier in the year.  They were still very strong but SoCal was too and SoCal pulled off the 3-2 win with one of the winning courts a match tie-break win.

It sounds like a great weekend of competitive tennis, but Texas and SoCal appear to be the kings of 4.0 tennis this year and NorCal making the final in both genders of 2.5 but coming in second both times.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Second week of USTA Nationals has started - 18 & over 2.5 and 4.0 this weekend

The second weekend of the 2014 USTA League Nationals is underway.

This weekend's matches are again being held in Indian Wells and Tucson, the 18 & over 2.5 men and women finding themselves in the California desert while the 18 & over 4.0 men and women are in Arizona.

The women's 2.5 level has the full contingent of teams from all 17 sections, but the men's only has 12 teams and even has three wildcards to get to that number.

For the 4.0 level, both the men and women have the full 17 sections represented as you would expect, this being the level that has nearly the most participants in USTA League (closely behind 3.5).

Good luck teams!