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.