Wednesday, August 27, 2014

2014 USTA League Pacific Northwest 18 & over Sectionals are complete - Northwest Washington cleans up!

This past weekend the Pacific Northwest section of the USTA held their 18 & over Sectionals and with their completion, teams are headed to Nationals.  Here is how the districts fared by gender and NTRP level.

Women

  • 2.5 - Northwest Washington (Amy Yee)
  • 3.0 - Northwest Washington (Robinswood)
  • 3.5 - Northwest Washington (Bellevue Club)
  • 4.0 - Southern Oregon (Clackamas River Racquet Club)
  • 4.5 - Northern Oregon (Sunset Athletic Club)
  • 5.0 - Northwest Washington (Bellevue Club)

Men

  • 2.5 - Northwest Washington (Robinswood)
  • 3.0 - Northwest Washington (Aces)
  • 3.5 - Northwest Washington (Robinswood)
  • 4.0 - Northwest Washington (Pro Club)
  • 4.5 - Northwest Washington (Sandpoint)
  • 5.0 - Northwest Washington (MICC)
Astoundingly, Northwest Washington took 10 of 12 levels and all of the mens!  I'm sure there was some grumbling from folks representing the other districts.  One wonders if this means folks in NWW are going to be more likely to be bumped up at year-end?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Observations from Pacific Northwest USTA League 18 & over Sectionals - Two teams played each three times AGAIN!

I just wrote about two 3.5 teams from Seattle that played each other three times in the same season; sub-flight, local playoffs, and Sectionals.  It turns out, it is very common!  At least this year it was, as another two teams from the Seattle area played each other three times.

These two teams were in the 4.5+ teams in the 40 & over division, Central Park and Amy Yee.

They were both in the same sub-flight in local league play where Amy Yee won 4-1 and won the sub-flight.

Both teams advanced to local playoffs where they met in the final, Amy Yee winning again 4-1.  But again, a wildcard allowed both teams to advance to Sectionals.

The teams were in different flights, but both won them going undefeated setting up the third match-up of the year.  Central Park did improve, but still lost 3-2 sending Amy Yee on to Nationals.

Observations from Pacific Northwest USTA League 18 & over Sectionals - Two teams play each other three times in a season

I was browsing through the results from the PNW Sectionals held in Spokane this weekend and came across an interesting situation where two teams from a local league where they played each other just once in their sub-flight ended up playing three times.

In the Men's 3.5 flight, the final came down to two Seattle area teams, and not just that, but two teams that were in the same sub-flight in local league play.

In their local sub-flight, Robinswood finished 10-1 with a 43-12 court record and 33 sets lost.  Mill Creek also finished 10-1, 43-12, but had 31 sets lost.  However, because head-to-head is the tie-breaker before sets lost this year, Robinswood's 3-2 win over Mill Creek put them in first place.  And one of those court wins was a match tie-break, so a very close match.

Both teams advanced to local playoffs where they met in the final, Robinswood winning 4-1 this time, one of the matches in a match tie-break.  However, because there was a wildcard for the Northwest Washington District, both teams advanced to Sectionals.

At Sectionals, the teams were in separate flights, and Robinswood went 4-0 to win theirs, while Mill Creek went 3-1 and 13-7 to tie with a team from North Idaho, but Mill Creek had won the head-to-head match 3-2, one in a match tie-break, to win the flight.  Thus, Mill Creek and Robinswood had their third meeting.

Alas, the third meeting was no different from the first two.  Robinswood won 4-1, this time only the one win by Mill Creek was a match tie-break so it was nearly a sweep.

So congratulations to Robinswood who is headed to Nationals and did so by beating a persistent Mill Creek team three times.

I have to think this is pretty rare, two teams playing three times each at different stages of the season. Has anyone heard of something similar?

Update: It turns out it is common.  See this.

More teams headed to USTA Nationals - Sectionals completed in Midwest, Pacific Northwest, and Northern California

USTA League Sectionals were completed in several sections including the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, and Northern California this weekend.  And playoffs continued with teams winning Districts and qualifying for Sectionals in other sections.  And I'm pleased to say that there were more than a few individual and team report customers that have advanced.

But playoffs aren't over yet.  A few more sections still have Sectionals to play, and October isn't that far away and that month will be filled with a different Nationals every weekend on into the first week of November this year.  Good luck to all the teams that advance and participate.

Friday, August 22, 2014

More teams vying to win their USTA League Sectionals and head to Nationals this weekend

At least two more sections wrap up their USTA League play this weekend holding Sectionals competition to determine what teams will advance to Nationals.

Northern California holds their 18 & over Sectionals in and around Monterey.  If everyone can avoid being distracted by the beautiful scenery, there should be some very good competition as Norcal regularly fields strong teams at Nationals.

The Pacific Northwest section also holds their 18 & over Sectionals in the Spokane area.  While not as well known as Monterey, Spokane is itself a beautiful city and the PNW also fares well at Nationals so the competition will be fierce amongst the teams trying to get there.

Good luck everyone!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

More on the "DQ and reverse" rule adopted by some USTA sections

I wrote a couple days ago about how the "DQ and reverse" rule regarding matches played by DQ'd self-rated players can have interesting effects on the results at USTA League playoffs and result in premature celebration.

Someone commented on that blog and I came across a scenario in a section where the rule is to DQ and reverse where the DQ effect was even deeper.

Imagine team A going in to their last match against team B with both having 2-0 records, the winner advancing to Nationals.  Team A wins their 3rd court while 1D is still finishing.  Team A 1D goes ahead and finishes and wins in a match tie-break, so a 4-1 win and off to Nationals right?

Not so fast.  Team A 1D had a self-rated player that was DQ'd in that last match.  Ok, so 3-2 win and off to Nationals then right?

Not so fast.  Team A had an earlier 3-2 win where the DQ'd player had won, and since this was now reversed too, that became a 3-2 loss.  So now the teams are both 2-1 and the courts won tie-break (this was before the new rule using head-to-head earlier) sends team B to Nationals.  This happens despite the fact that they just lost 4-1 (even 3-2 if you want to reverse the DQ'd match) to the other team.

Now, if the team A DQ'd player was really out of level as the DQ indicated, you can make the argument that this is the right thing.  Team A shouldn't benefit from having an out of level player.  But it introduces complications and delays regarding going back farther into prior round robin phases to have the champion ultimately determined.

It also creates situations where a team may actually benefit from throwing a match against a self-rated player in order to get them DQ'd and reverse an earlier match.  Imagine a scenario where team A is 4-0 in round-robin play and is playing a 2-2 team B in their last match.  There is no chance for the team B right?  Best case is they win and only get to 3-2 and team A is 4-1.

Not so fast.  In this case, team B could lose the match 3-2, and have a record of 2-3 while team A's is 5-0, but team B end up winning and advancing.  How?

If team A has a self-rated player that is carrying two strikes and won a court in a prior 3-2 win, and team B throws the match against that player causing them to be DQ'd.  It is also possible that if the match wasn't thrown, the player would not have gotten a third strike.

In this scenario, that team A 3-2 win becomes a 3-2 loss.  Ok, the records are now team A 4-1 and team B 3-2.  But wait, that prior team A 3-2 win now gets reversed too and team A falls back to a 3-2 record.  One can then conjure up scenarios where team B wins the tie-breaker between the teams at 3-2.

So, as unlikely as this scenario may seem, the extra delays and checks to determine the champ, and this incentive to throw matches or other related shenanigans are possibly the argument some sections use to not adopt the "DQ and reverse" approach.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Premature celebration in USTA League playoffs - It can be the difference between going to Nationals or not

I was looking at results from some of the USTA League Sectionals played this past weekend and came across what appears to be an interesting situation.  I'll preface my comments by saying I'm getting all my information just from looking at scores on TennisLink and reading between the lines, but think I have it right.

In the Florida 18 & over 3.5 final, Duval and South Miami/Dade faced off and the score sheet shows South Miami/Dade won 3 courts and Duval 2.  Further, it appears that court 1 singles was tied at a set apiece when the South Miami/Dade player retired.  Now, perhaps there was an injury, but my guess is that the player saw or was told the team had won 3 courts so the team match was over and so retired to go celebrate rather than finish the match as it meant nothing at this point right?  The team was headed to Nationals!

Well, not so fast apparently.  If you look at the draw for the final, it shows Duval beating South Miami/Dade 3 courts to 2.  What happened here?  Going back to the score sheet, you will notice that court 2 singles was a 6-1,6-2 win for South Miami/Dade, but that player is noted as being DQ'd.  Further, the asterisk indicates that not only was the player DQ'd so not eligible to play at this level going forward, but the match was reversed and awarded to the opposing team.  Thus, in the standings, and for what counts as far as who goes to Nationals, Duval won the match.

If all of this is accurate, I'm guessing the South Miami/Dade court 1 singles player is kicking himself for retiring, or even if he was injured, for not trying to find a way to eke out the match tie-break as that could have been the difference between going to Nationals or not, the not happening in this case due to the retirement.

So the lesson learned is, don't retire to celebrate a seeming 3-2 win in playoffs unless you are 100% certain the scores from all the courts will stand.  So to be safe, unless you are at Nationals where DQ's and match reversals don't happen, just don't retire from a match.