Sunday, August 30, 2015

Headed to USTA League Nationals! Who won PNW 40+ Sectionals

The Pacific Northwest Section of the USTA held their 40 & over Sectionals this weekend in Spokane.  Due to smoke from the fires in Eastern Washington, matches were moved inside and shortened to 8-game pro-sets, although it appears the finals were normal best 2 of out 3.

In any case, here is who it appears won at each level.


  • 2.5 - Two Seattle area teams met and ETC beat Columbia-Silver Lake 2-1
  • 3.0 - Two Oregon teams met with the Portland team beating the team from Bend 3-2, two wins in match tie-breaks
  • 3.5 - Central Washington/Hood River beat a Portland team 4-1
  • 4.0 - Amy Yee from Seattle beat IRV from Portland 5-0
  • 4.5+ - SHC from the Portland area beat a Seattle area team 3-2

This is pretty good balance on the women's side with two from Seattle and Portland and one from Central Washington.

  • 2.5 - ETC made it 2 for 2 at the 2.5 level winning the round robin
  • 3.0 - Two Seattle teams met with Central Park being Amy Yee 5-0
  • 3.5 - Two Seattle teams met again with Amy Yee beating Central Park 3-2, each win in a match tie-break.  Close!
  • 4.0 - Pine Lake from the Seattle area beat a Portland team from Lake Oswego 4-1
  • 4.5+ - CAC from the Portland area beat IRV from the same area 3-2

On the men's side, Seattle nearly pulled off the sweep.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

2015 USTA League PNW 40 & over Sectionals moving indoors due to fires/smoke

I just heard from someone that will be playing at Pacific Northwest 40 & over Sectionals this weekend that they are going to be played indoors due to bad air quality.

Those in the PNW probably are aware that there have been fires in Eastern Washington the past few weeks and apparently the smoke is bad enough in Spokane that playing outdoors would not be a good move.  Unfortunately, I'm told there are not enough indoor courts so matches may be starting very early to try to fit them all in and scoring will be changed to pro-sets.

I will post more as I hear it.

Update: The PNW Web-site has a page for "weather" here saying matches may start as early as 6am and as late as 11pm and play may continue into Sunday afternoon, later than originally scheduled.

Why playing up in USTA League may not get you bumped up

It is refreshing to see that a good portion of the people that get Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating Reports from me are wanting to improve and get bumped up.  This is sometimes to accomplish a goal, to get validation that their game has improved, or be able to challenge themselves playing at the next level.

A common way players will try to get bumped up is to play up.  This makes sense, playing against higher rated opponents provides more opportunity to improve your rating.  But sometimes it may not accomplish what you are looking for.

First, it is possible that when playing up you are simply overmatched and because of that you get blown out.  This is not going to help your rating and could in fact hurt it.  You may be better off getting solid wins against players rated more closely to you.

Second, if the mentality in an area is that everyone wants to get bumped up and so they play up, you can end up with "4.0" matches really being between a bunch of 3.5s playing up, and this is no different than if they all had played a 3.5 match.  I see this more often than you'd think, a 3.5 rated player plays up at 4.0 and gets a 6-3,6-3 win and thinks their rating is going to go up, but I have to tell them they played another 3.5, and in fact one rated well below them and they were supposed to win that easily.

So remember, playing up may give you more opportunity to improve your rating, but there is no extra credit for playing up if your opponent is also playing up or you get blown out.  Because you may be playing another player playing up, you may have to win just as easily as if you'd played an at level match.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

In USTA League playoffs, winning every court and set counts

The Intermountain section is one of the sections holding Sectionals this weekend (18 & over) and I was just browsing some standings and saw several cases where the team that is advancing to Nationals was decided on a tie-breaker.

Some flights were remarkably symmetrical with a team with every record.  For example, in a four team flight, there was a 3-0, 2-1, 1-2, and 0-3.  And a six team flight had a 5-0, 4-1, 3-2, 2-3, 1-4, and 0-5.  These are pretty straight forward, there is a clear pecking order.  But some other flights were very tight and a court won here and there was the difference in breaking ties.

The 3.0 men had three teams tie at 2-1 and Idaho beat out Nevada and Utah going 9-6 on courts vs the other two at 8-7.  And Idaho played Nevada in the last match winning 4-1 to get that courts advantage with three of the courts going to a match tie-break.  If just one goes Nevada's way, they still lose the team match, but would be headed to Nationals.

The 3.5 women had an even larger log jam, with a whopping five (5!) teams tied at 3-2 in the standings.  Utah got the nod going 16-9 on courts to Montana's 14-11.

And even in the 3.0 women's flight where there were symmetrical records, Wyoming won the flight but their win over second place Idaho was a 3-2 win where one of the courts won was in a match tie-break.  If that goes the other way, Idaho is going to Nationals.

So every court and set can count!

Monday, August 17, 2015

USTA League playoffs continue - The road to Nationals

More teams punched their ticket to Nationals this weekend with Sectionals taking place in Texas, Northern, Mid-Atlantic, and Southern California at a minimum.  Congratulations to those teams that won.

But it doesn't slow down with more Sectionals the next couple of weeks.  This weekend (August 21-23) there is:

  • Northern California 18+ Sectionals
  • Southern California 40+ Sectionals
  • Midwest 40+ Sectionals
  • New England 18+ Sectionals
  • Northern 18+ and 40+ Sectionals (select levels)
  • Eastern 18+ Sectionals (select levels)
  • Southern 40+ Sectionals (select levels)

Then the following weekend (August 28-31) there is:

  • Pacific Northwest 40+ Sectionals
  • Eastern 40+ Sectionals
  • New England 40+ Sectionals

Good luck to all the teams and players playing.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Headed to USTA League Nationals! Who won PNW 18+ Sectionals

I wrote earlier about the teams in the finals, but here is who won today.


  • 2.5 - Northern Oregon SHC-Hennelly
  • 3.0 - Northwest Washington TCSP-Spinners-Lydon
  • 3.5 - Northern Oregon THPRD-Roloff/Mark
  • 4.0 - Northwest Washington AYTC-Wilson
  • 4.5 - Northwest Washington TCSP-Antczak
  • 5.0+ - Southwest Washington KTAC-DeVries

This year there is some variation with the winners, 3 from Seattle, 2 from Portland, and one from Tacoma.


  • 2.5 - Northwest Washington MC-Youngblut
  • 3.0 - Northwest Washington MC-Alley-Gators-Vashist
  • 3.5 - Northwest Washington HBSQ-Capretto
  • 4.0 - Northwest Washington BTA-Popp
  • 4.5 - Northwest Washington EDG-Le
  • 5.0+ - Northwest Washington RBW-Walsh

The variation did not extend to the men with Seattle area teams winning at every level.

So overall, 9 of 12 from the Seattle area which is similar to what happened last year.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

2015 USTA League Pacific Northwest Sectionals Finalists

It is Sunday morning which means we have finals on tap in Spokane today.  Here is who it looks like will be vying for the trip to Nationals.


  • 2.5 - Northern Oregon will be going to Nationals with IRV-Streich playing SHC-Hennelly (Hennelly won the 2 previous meetings).
  • 3.0 - Eastern/Central Washington's YTC-Tweedy faces Northwest Washington's TCSP-Spinners-Lydon.
  • 3.5 - Eastern Washington's SC-Rudy faces Northern Oregon's THPRD-Roloff/Mark.
  • 4.0 - AYTC-Wilson from Seattle plays STSC-Paratore from Southern Oregon
  • 4.5 - A Northwest Washington showdown between BC-Orndorff and TCSP-Antczak (the teams split their two previous meetings).
  • 5.0+ - Central Washington's TC-Knox faces Southwest Washington's KTAC-DeVries


  • 2.5 - Round Robbin still going, Northwest Washington's MC-Youngblut or Southwest Washington's TLTC Smith will advance.
  • 3.0 - One of Northwest Washington's TCSP-Suzuki or MC-Alley-Gators-Vashist will advance (Suzuki won the first meeting).
  • 3.5 - Another Northwest Washington showdown with HBSQ-Capretto playing BC-Simpson (Simpson won the first meeting).
  • 4.0 - Seattle rules again with AYTC-One Hit Wonders-Hoang facing BTA-Popp (Popp won the first meeting).
  • 4.5 - Northwest Washington's EDG-Le and Central Washington's YTC-Morrison will meet.
  • 5.0+ - RBW-Walsh from Northwest Washington faces MPRC-Homedes from Northern Oregon.

I'll report back later with the winners and what district picked up the most hardware.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Early Start Ratings for 2016 leagues are coming out fast and furious

It is only August of 2015, but teams are being formed for 2016 leagues already.  In fact, in Georgia they started this process back in March!

For leagues that start early, rather than use your 2014 year-end NTRP level, early start lists are published which reflect the current rating/level for players so they can sign-up for the 2016 leagues at the appropriate level.  Since these lists are published at various times and in various different formats, I've created a page to try to keep track of it all.

If you don't see a list on that page, let me know and I'll get it added.

Friday, August 7, 2015

It is August, USTA League playoffs galore! The road to Nationals

Various levels of playoffs have been going on for a few months, and even a few sections have held their Sectionals already, but things really ramp up in August.  I'm sure I am missing some but here is a list of some of the playoff events going on this weekend.

  • Pacific Northwest 18+ Sectionals
  • Northern California 18+ Districts
  • Midwest 18+ and 40+ States (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin)
  • Mid-Atlantic 18+ Sectionals
  • Missouri Valley 18+/40+ Sectionals (select levels)
  • Southern 40+ Sectionals (select levels)
  • Caribbean 40+ Sectionals
  • Texas 18+ Sectionals (select levels)

And the following weekend has:
  • Midwest 18+ Sectionals
  • Maryland 40+ Regionals
  • Texas 18+ Sectionals (select levels)
  • Southern California 18+ Sectionals

Know of others?  Leave a comment.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

What NTRP rating combination works best in USTA League 40 & over Mixed? More Interesting Tennis League Stats

I looked at what ratings combinations work best for 18 & over Mixed yesterday, so naturally it makes sense to see the same info for 40 & over.

Again, this is looking at tens of thousands of matches in the 40 & over division of Mixed played over the last few years.

Here is how it looks for 7.0:
  • 4.0/3.0 vs 3.5/3.5 - 4.0/3.0 win 60% of the time
  • 3.0/4.0 vs 3.5/3.5 - 3.0/4.0 win 52% of the time
  • 4.0/3.0 vs 3.0/4.0 - 4.0/3.0 win 58% of the time

And for 8.0:
  • 4.5/3.5 vs 4.0/4.0 - 4.5/3.5 win 61% of the time
  • 3.5/4.5 vs 4.0/4.0 - 3.5/4.5 win 54% of the time
  • 4.5/3.5 vs 3.5/4.5 - 4.5/3.5 win 57% of the time

Last, for 9.0:
  • 5.0/4.0 vs 4.5/4.5 - 5.0/4.0 win 62% of the time
  • 4.0/5.0 vs 4.5/4.5 - 4.5/4.5 win 53% of the time
  • 5.0/4.0 vs 4.0/5.0 - 5.0/4.0 win 57% of the time

This looks similar to the 18 & over but finally for 9.0 the 4.5/4.5 comes out ahead in one scenario.

So, it appears you want those unbalanced team!

Monday, August 3, 2015

What NTRP rating combinations works best in 18 & over Mixed? More Interesting Tennis League Stats

It is time for 18 & over Mixed teams to form in my area for the 2016 season.  This is an early start league for us so we use our early start ratings that just came out, but a common question is what the makeup of a team should be.

USTA rules allow for there to be a 1.0 rating level gap between players which means at 7.0 a 3.0 and 4.0 can play together, at 8.0 a 3.5 and 4.5 can, and you get the idea.  But the question always is if these non-balanced pairs do better or worse than a balanced, e.g. 3.5/3.5 or 4.0/4.0, do?

I've looked at this before for 7.0 and 8.0, but I thought it was a good time to take a look again and get a bit more specific and detailed.  So here goes.

In each case below, the first level is the male and second is the female.  And I've looked at the various different combinations to have a complete picture.

For 7.0, here is how it breaks out for the 18 & over Mixed leagues over the past few years:
  • 4.0/3.0 vs 3.5/3.5 - The 4.0/3.0 wins 60% of the time
  • 3.0/4.0 vs 3.5/3.5 - The 3.0/4.0 wins 52% of the time
  • 4.0/3.0 vs 3.0/4.0 - The 4.0/3.0 wins 57% of the time

Here is the same for the 8.0:
  • 4.5/3.5 vs 4.0/4.0 - The 4.5/3.5 wins 61% of the time
  • 3.5/4.5 vs 4.0/4.0 - The 3.5/4.5 wins 51% of the time
  • 4.5/3.5 vs 3.5/4.5 - The 4.5/3.5 wins 60% of the time

And the same for 9.0:
  • 5.0/4.0 vs 4.5/4.5 - The 5.0/4.0 wins 57% of the time
  • 4.0/5.0 vs 4.5/4.5 - The 4.0/5.0 wins 58% of the time
  • 5.0/4.0 vs 4.0/5.0 - The 5.0/4.0 wins 51% of the time

As before, it appears the unbalanced pairs will generally do better than balanced, and the unbalanced with the higher rated male is going to be stronger.  But it does change some by level with 9.0 being the most different.

Now, of course it is going to depend on the actual ratings of the players involved.  For example, at 8.0, two strong 4.0s are likely going to do better than a weak 4.5 and weak 3.5.  But the stats above are from looking at tens of thousands of matches the last few years so tell us what happens on average.

What do you think?  Do you have an explanation for why unbalanced seems to rule?

Sunday, August 2, 2015

USTA League Pacific Northwest 18 & Over Sectionals Preview

The 18 & over Sectionals for the PNW section of the USTA will be held this coming weekend August 7-9 in Spokane.

The levels competing will be 2.5 through 5.0+ and here is where my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings say the highest rated team at each level/gender is from.

  • 2.5 Women - Northwest Washington
  • 2.5 Men - Northwest Washington
  • 3.0 Women - Northern Oregon
  • 3.0 Men - Southwest Washington
  • 3.5 Women - Northwest Washington
  • 3.5 Men - Northern Oregon
  • 4.0 Women - Northern Oregon
  • 4.0 Men - Northwest Washington
  • 4.5 Women - Northwest Washington
  • 4.5 Men - Northwest Washington
  • 5.0+ Women - Northern Oregon
  • 5.0+ Men - Southern Oregon
If things play out by the numbers, Northwest Washington would take 6 teams to Nationals, Northern Oregon 4, and Southwest Washington and Southern Oregon 1 each.

Of course, ratings do not play the matches and the highest top-8 average team doesn't always win.  Either because of who plays or the match-ups the teams get, another team could win or just plain play above their ratings.  Nevertheless, it appears while Northwest Washington is primed to lead the way, they may not win 10 of the 12 like they did last year.

Good luck teams!