Thursday, November 16, 2017

2018 USTA League Regulations - What is changed or new?

The 2017 USTA League year is nearly complete, the last Nationals (55+) will be played this weekend starting tomorrow.

That just means the 2018 year is about to begin!  Well, it really has already begun as some sections have Early Start Leagues that started play in the past few months, or in the case of Georgia way back in the Spring!  These are leagues that, regardless when they start playing, will be on the advancement path to 2018 Districts/States, Sectionals, and Nationals.

No matter when your 2018 league play starts, it is important to know what the regulations are for the year.  The USTA rarely makes radical changes, but it seems each year does bring with it a few minor changes so it is worth going over what those are.

Note that I'm basing what I write below on several "Draft" 2018 regulations documents I've seen dated October 18th, so I'm pretty sure it is what will be final and I've actually had confirmation of several things from other sources.

Move-up/Split-up


The big change is regarding the move-up/split-up rule.  This rule has been tweaked from year to year, but in general is in place to restrict the ability of teams that went to Nationals in one year to stay together at the same level the next year.  I guess the idea is that the USTA doesn't want the same players on the same team coming back to Nationals year after year, instead want some new blood to have an opportunity.

Now, you might expect that a good Nationals team would have a bunch of players bumped up and so naturally not be able to stay together at the old level, but the USTA feels the need to have this rule in place as well.

In past years the rule has stated that no more than 3 players from a Nationals team could be on the same roster of a team the next year.  At one point, the restriction was on any team, Adult or Mixed, 18+, 40+, or 55+.  Then it was relaxed to not apply to Mixed, and this year there is another change relaxing the restriction a bit.  Specifically, the restriction is only on a team at the same level and age group.  Here is the specific language:
National Championship teams are required to Move Up or Split
Up only in the age group from which their team advanced the
previous year.
This means that if a 40+ 3.5 team went to Nationals in 2017, they will only be able to have three of those players on the same 3.5 40+ team in 2018, i.e. they must "split-up", but the entire team (at least those that remain 3.5s) could form a new 18+ 3.5 team.  Correspondingly an 18+ Nationals team could have their entire roster form a 40+ team the next year (well, the players still have to be eligible for 40+!) while just 3 could be on the same roster of an 18+ team at the same level.

That that the rule also states that these requirements only apply to players that had 3 matches on the team so players with two or fewer matches are eligible to be on the same team the next year regardless.

So this gives players a little more flexibility to continue to play with the same group of friends or teammates and not have to split up.

Note of course, the "move-up" option is still available, that 40+ 3.5 team could move up as a team to 4.0 to form a 40+ 4.0 team and they could stick together.

Note also that the Nationals regulations allow a section to impose their own rules restricting team composition, although I'm not aware of any that add restrictions beyond the national rule.

Early Start Ratings


This is not new, but it is worth re-iterating.  For 2017 leagues, the USTA did away with Early Start Ratings, and instead, players signing up for Early Start Leagues would use their current year-end rating.  However, if a player was subsequently bumped up at year-end, they would not be eligible to play at Nationals at the prior level, but their eligibility to continue playing through Sectionals was up to each section to decide.

A section could decide to do a number of things, the most common were:

  • Make the player ineligible to continue at the lower level immediately
  • Let the player complete local league/playoffs but be ineligible for Districts and/or Sectionals
  • Allow the player to continue at the lower level through Sectionals

My section, Pacific Northwest, chose the second option while some like Southern chose the third which could cause some competitive inequities and scenarios where teams won Sectionals and could not go to Nationals.

From what I've seen so far, Sections are sticking with their choice for 2018.  Here is the language from the Southern document:

Players who are found to have valid computer ratings, after the appeal process, that place them above the NTRP level at which they are competing may continue their participation at the lower NTRP level through the conclusion of the Southern championship. They shall not be permitted to advance to any National Championship at the lower NTRP level. Prior team matches played are valid.

And from the PNW document:

Players who are found to have valid computer ratings, after the appeal process, that place them above the NTRP level at which they are competing may continue their participation at the lower NTRP level through the conclusion of the Local League Season (this includes Local League Playoffs). Players who are found to have valid computer ratings, after the appeal process, that place them above the NTRP level at which they are competing will not be allowed to participate at the lower NTRP level for the Sectional Championships.
FWIW, I prefer the PNW rule as I believe it is fairer and more equitable to all the teams in the section and helps ensure the best eligible team advances to Nationals.


Grievances


There are provisions for filing grievances against players that may have violated self-rating, eligibility, or other rules, and most every section imposes a filing fee, the typical amount I've seen being $50 and that is what my section documents.

In perusing the Southern regulations document I found, a change called out is that the filing fee is now $100!  While you do get that returned if a penalty is imposed, that still seems like it might be a pretty big barrier and deterrent to folks filing legitimate grievances, which IMHO would be unfortunate.  I wonder what the rationale was for this?  The 2017 regulations don't seem to list a fee at all, so this seems a pretty extreme change.


What do you think of the rules changes, or in some cases lack of change?  Or what section specific rules do you have that are worth talking about?  Let me know by contacting me or leaving a comment.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Handicapping USTA League Nationals 55 & over 9.0 Men

Nationals for the 2017 USTA League 55 & over division wraps up this weekend, and in fact this is the end of 2017 Nationals, so my previews continue. one last weekend  Here are the 55 & over 9.0 men.

For all my previews, I'll be using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings and comparing teams using the top-6 averages for 55+ which gives an idea of who the best teams are, if they play their best players.  Who actually plays and the match-ups a captain is able to get obviously go a long way to determining who will win, but it is still interesting to compare "best" vs "best".  The actual detailed numbers along with full roster averages and by court played averages are available as part of a Flight Report which can still be purchased for any Nationals flight.  Contact me if interested.

Note that 55+ is a combined division so the top-6 may not represent the best 6 that can play in a given match, but it still gives a good idea who the strongest teams are.

The 55 & over 9.0 men will be played at the National Campus in Orlando, FL on clay.  All 17 teams are present so there are four flights, three with four teams and one with five, the flight winners advancing to the semis.

The favorites in the four flights are SouthernTexas, Intermountain, and Eastern but a couple flights are noticeably stronger than the other two so two of those paths to the semis will be tough.

Ratings will clearly change as a result of the matches played, but right now, Texas appears to be the favorite if they bring/play their best players.

Good luck to all!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Keeping track of the weather affected USTA League Nationals in 2017

2017 saw the USTA move a bunch of Nationals to Alabama and Florida instead of holding them in the California and Arizona deserts.  A concern I and others had was if weather would have an impact on things and it definitely has.  I've written about a bunch of the weather related issues including all out cancellations of semis and/or finals for some levels resulting in co-champions being declared, but a number of Nationals that were technically completed were only able to do so due to shortening of matches.

Here is a summary of the significant weather delays/issues I'm aware of, significant in my mind meaning any matches were canceled or playing formats/locations had to be altered to get matches completed.  If I missed any, please let me know and I'll add them.

40 & over 3.0 Men and Women in Fort Lauderdale, FL, October 13-15

This event was held October 13-15, sort of right in the heart of tropical storm season in Florida, particularly South Florida it would seem.  In fact, the facility for the event had courts damaged by a hurricane a few weeks before the event and a second facility had to be used for some matches.  But if that is all that had happened, this wouldn't make the list.

Instead, there were rain delays of several hours on both Friday and Saturday leading to playing format being changed to start all sets at 2-2 and to play no-ad.  This is a pretty significant change and could lead to different results than you'd normally get, let alone players not getting to play full matches and get their money's worth for a trip to Nationals.  They were able to get everything in on Sunday though, I believe with regular scoring.

18 & over 2.5 Women in Mobile, AL, October 20-22

Mobile is by most measures one of the wettest cities in the United States.  Add to this that there are only two indoor courts in the entire city, those being at the convention center where they roll out a carpet of sorts over cement to serve as a tennis court.  Despite this, and a history of weather issues at many events the Southern section holds there, the USTA elected to hold several Nationals there, due in part to a very large facility with a lot of courts.

The 18+ 2.5 women was one of these and flight play completed without a hitch as far as I know, but a storm was blowing in Sunday putting play that day in jeopardy.  There was perhaps time to try to play the semis on Saturday, but due to a three flight format, each team had already played twice both days so this was not done.

The Sunday storm did materialize and no matches were played, I think perhaps players got on court for about 10 minutes to warm up and that was it.  The indoor courts weren't even available, so everything was called off, no semis, no final, and all four semi-finalists were declared co-champions, including the team that didn't even win their flight and made the semis as a wildcard!  Not a terribly satisfying or equitable way to determine a National Champion.

40 & over 4.5+ Men and Women in Mobile, AL, October 20-22

The 40+ 4.5+ Nationals was held at the same time/location as the 18+ 2.5 women and naturally was affected in the same way.  However, both events had four flights and they were able to get the semis played on Saturday to whittle it down to two teams each.

But that was it, the finals were not played and so like for the 2.5 women, co-champs were declare, but just two each in this case.

Still, for this weekend in Mobile, where there were supposed to be three champs decided, eight (!) teams went home with "championship titles".

40 & over 3.5 Men and Women in Fort Lauderdale, FL, October 27-29

Do we have a theme here?

Back in Fort Lauderdale two weeks after the first weather affected event and the forecast looked really bad with a significant storm forecast for much of Saturday and Sunday.  Unfortunately the forecast was right.

USTA officials were not oblivious to the forecast and made the right move to schedule as many matches on Friday as possible, but the five team flight has to have everyone play twice on Saturday regardless, they could only do so much.

They did go to short formats again, starting matches at 2-2 and no-ad, to try to fit more matches in earlier, but even doing that they didn't get everything in before the rain arrived on Saturday.  And one of the outstanding matches was going to decide who advanced to the semis and this was going to have to be finished Sunday morning before the semis.  The winner of this match was going to face having to play three matches back to back to back!  Plus, the forecast wasn't for bright sunny conditions to start the day Sunday.

Sunday arrived and it did take some time to get the courts prepared and ready so they started late, but did manage to get everything in, but those teams having to finish flight play Sunday morning were at a real disadvantage.

But after two events in Fort Lauderdale, a 100% rate of having events significantly delayed and affected by weather, and the outcome potentially affected too.

40 & over 6.0, 7.0, 8.0, and 9.0 Mixed in Mobile, AL, November 10-12

Recurring theme, different venue.  To be fair, the 18 & over Mixed the prior weekend went off without a hitch, but here we are back in Mobile and I'm writing about it so something must have happened.

Flight play on Friday and Saturday went as planned as far as I know, but Sunday saw drizzle, and wet hard courts do not make for safe tennis.  After a several hour delay, the decision was made to move things inside.

But as I noted above, there are only two indoor courts in Mobile and these are both indoor carpet that is rolled out with taped seams, a lot different from an outdoor hard court.  But they were available!

But eight semi-finals means 24 courts and that doesn't fit into two courts very well.  Something had to give and again it was the scoring format.  Matches were a single set, no-ad (so ever shorter than the Fort Lauderdale short format) and courts were played sequentially and if one team was up 2-0, the third court was not played.

With this short format, they actually did manage to nearly get everything in with all but the 8.0 having a single champion decided, but there was a lot less tennis played with single sets and four courts not even played after 2-0 leads were taken.

Update: I learned that the 9.0 teams were actually given the choice late in the day to play back at the Tennis Center with normal scoring as the rain had stopped, and since the teams weren't leaving until Monday did that instead of sequential single set matches indoors.

18 & over 4.5 Men and Women in Orlando, FL, November 10-12

If you thought we were done and the disruption was limited to Mobile and Fort Lauderdale, you would be wrong.

While not nearly as severe as some of what happened above, there was rain in Orlando this weekend that affected matches.  Thankfully there are some legitimate indoor courts at the National Campus, but not enough for the situation and from what I'm told the women moved indoors right away but the men played in the rain for a bit before moving indoors.

They did have to shorten the scoring format again, sets started at 2-2 and no-ad scoring was employed, in order to get everything in, but they did, although the 3rd/4th place matches were not played (separate post on that coming).


So, with one weekend of Nationals still to go, there has been what I figure to be unprecedented weather related delays, cancellations, and court changes, all because of the USTA's decisions to use Mobile and Fort Lauderdale as venues for Nationals.  Both locations are likely to have storms or rain that would affect play without any viable backup plan.  At least the National Campus has enough courts and some indoor courts to adapt if needed.

All told, of the 22 18+/40+ events scheduled for Alabama or Florida, a full 13 of them were affected in one way or another with an extra six teams given "co-champion" title than planned.  That is 59% that didn't meet expectations which is a pretty abysmal showing.

There were just six events in Arizona this year (none in California), and 0% has issues.  All were played in warm sunny conditions with no rain, shortened scoring formats, canceled matches, or co-champions declared.

And it all could have been avoided by simply sticking with what had been done the past 5+ years, using Palm Springs and Arizona as the main locations to host Nationals.  While "weather" can happen anywhere (and play in Tucson for a Mixed Nationals was affected several years ago), it is far less likely to occur in the desert than Alabama and Florida, and in my opinion is was just the wrong decision and arguably irresponsible for the USTA to host the majority of Nationals where problems were likely to (and did!) occur.

Players take time off from work, spend thousands of dollars on flights, hotel, food, etc. all with the expectation of getting to play several complete matches over the course of three days.  In my opinion, is the responsibility of the USTA to use locations and venues that maximize the opportunity for that, and this year that was sorely lacking.

I'll probably come up with a poll once the last Nationals are complete this weekend, but what do you think?  Leave a comment here or on Facebook.

Another Nationals in Mobile, rain makes it a sham again

Another weekend of Nationals is complete, and with Mobile hosting again, this time the 40 & over Mixed, we had the chance of another weather related disaster and what do you know, it happened again.

From what I'm told, things went as scheduled the first two days, but Sunday it was drizzling in the morning and they could not play.  Weather.com shows just 0.03 inches of rain for Sunday, but a persistent drizzle keeps hard courts unsafe to play on and that apparently happened.

In any case, after a two hour delay, they elected to use the two indoor courts in the city, I believe those at the convention center on effectively indoor carpet with taped seams and all!  And because of having just two courts, they changed to single set matches.  Here is what the court looked like being laid down (thanks to a reader for sharing the picture).


Starting with the 6.0 level, they used one court each for each semi playing the courts sequentially.  After 6.0 was complete then they moved on to 9.0, 8.0, and 7.0.

Playing single sets on a strange court is certainly not the ideal way to decide a National Champion, but so it is this year.  At least they were able to finish for the 6.0, 7.0, and 9.0 levels it appears, but the 8.0 level shows the semis complete but the final not being played (as of my writing this at least) so I suspect we have yet another co-champion like happened earlier in Mobile.

Note that in order to finish, and since they were playing matches sequentially, if one team was up 2-0 after two matches they called the match and moved on, so everyone in the line-up didn't even get to play.  This happened once for 6.0, twice for 7.0, once for 8.0 (and the final wasn't played), and once for 9.0.

So changed venue/courts, the surface being carpet with taped seams, playing single sets to decide it, and not getting to play all the matches.  All in all, seems like a pretty awful way to decided and finish Nationals.

Hopefully the USTA has learned their lesson and won't be going back to Mobile for Nationals next year.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Handicapping USTA League Nationals 18 & over 4.5 Men

Nationals for the 2017 USTA League 18 & over division wraps up this weekend, and so my previews continue.  Here are the 18 & over 4.5 men after doing the.

For all my previews, I'll be using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings and comparing teams using the top-8 (for 5 court levels) or top-5 (for 3 court levels) averages which gives an idea of who the best teams are, if they play their best players.  Who actually plays and the match-ups a captain is able to get obviously go a long way to determining who will win, but it is still interesting to compare "best" vs "best".  The actual detailed numbers along with full roster averages and by court played averages are available as part of a Flight Report which can still be purchased for any Nationals flight.  Contact me if interested.

The 18 & over 4.5 men will be played at the National Campus in Orlando, FL.  Just 16 teams are present, Hawaii is missing, so there four flights with four teams, the flight winners advancing to the semis.

The favorites in the four flights are Florida, Texas, Northern California, and Mid-Atlantic and the flights are reasonably balanced, the four teams listed actually being the top-4 teams.

Ratings will clearly change as a result of the matches played, but right now, Mid-Atlantic appears to be the favorite if they bring/play their best players.

Good luck to all!

Monday, October 30, 2017

More 2017 USTA League National Champions Crowned - The rain won a battle but not the war

Another weekend of Nationals is in the books, and six more teams are headed home as National Champions.

All of the play was in Florida this weekend, 40 & over 3.5 in Ft. Lauderdale and 55 & over 6.0 and 8.0 in Orlando.

Yes, there was rain again in Ft. Lauderdale, most of Saturday was washed out, the rain arriving just after noon, but thanks to rescheduling some Saturday matches to Friday and shortening matches on Saturday (each set started 2-2 and they played no-ad) just a few matches from flight play remained to be played Sunday morning.  Alas, one of those was to decide a women's semi-finalist, and with play delayed in the morning to get the courts ready things did go long.

But champions were determined averting the disaster in Mobile a week earlier when five more teams than expected were given co-champion labels.

The 3.5 women had Eastern, Southern California, Midwest, and Caribbean make the semis where it took 3-2 wins for Eastern and Caribbean to advance and another 3-2 win for Caribbean to take the title.

The 3.5 men had Texas, Eastern, Intermountain, and Mid-Atlantic all go undefeated in flight play, and then every match in the semis and final had a 3-2 score with Texas winning it all over Mid-Atlantic.

The 55 & over 6.0 women saw Florida, Northern California, Northern, and Pacific Northwest in the semis with Florida and NorCal facing off in the final with NorCal coming out on top, all 2-1 wins.

The 6.0 men's results had Southern California, Southern, and Texas winning their flights with Northern joining as the wildcard.  And Northern as the wildcard won it all, taking out Southern Cal in the final, Texas getting 3rd.

The 8.0 women had Florida, Hawaii, Eastern,  and Mid-Atlantic in the semis with Florida over Hawaii for the title with Mid-Atlantic getting third.

The 8.0 Men had Mid-Atlantic, Southern, Southern Cal, and Middle States in the semis.  Mid-Atlantic took the title over Middle States, Southern Cal getting third.

More Nationals are still to come, next weekend the 18 & over Mixed gets into gear.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Rain rain stay away! Fingers crossed, 40 & over 3.5 USTA League Nationals may finish in Ft. Lauderdale

Day one of USTA League Nationals for 40 & over 3.5 men and women is in the books and rain and associated delays was avoided.  Well, that was expected as the forecast for Friday was good, it is the Saturday forecast that is alarming.

It has called for an 80-100% chance of thunderstorms all week, and still does as of now, but it appears it may hold off until noon.  This would give them about four hours to get matches in.

But how can they fit a full day of matches into four hours?

The USTA did make the right move and reschedule as many matches as possible from Saturday to Friday.  This means that every team played two matches Friday, normally a number of teams would play just once Friday and twice Saturday.  However, flight one for the men and women are five team flights and every team will have two matches to play on Saturday to complete round-robin play, and the other flights all have a match per team to play meaning 11 team matches for both men and women, or 22 team matches, must be played.

The big challenge with be the five team flights as only four can play at a time meaning it takes three "time-slots" to get them all in.  Nationals matches, especially in singles, can end up taking 2+ hours, so three time-slots would be 6+ hours.  Just doing the math, 7:30 plus 6 hours is 1:30 pm which is well into the window when the storm is due to hit.  And that would still mean two teams would be playing back to back with no rest between matches.

To try and give them a chance, they will be going to a short format as they did for the rain delayed event in Ft. Lauderdale two weeks ago with the goal of keeping matches to one hour.  The shortened format is to start each set at 2-2 and play no-ad rather than playing out the deuces.  Many areas play no-ad during the year, but starting at 2-2 is certainly different and puts a priority on starting quickly.  It has the potential for changing who wins, particularly as it takes fitness out of the equation a bit.

For the sake of the players to took the time and money to make the trip, lets hope they get it in so they can play the semis and final on Sunday as scheduled.  While Sunday had as high as an 80% chance of rain, it now appears to be just 20% so perhaps rain won't be an issue then.

Good luck everyone!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Will rain disrupt 2017 USTA League Nationals this weekend?

USTA League Nationals continue this weekend with the 40 & over 3.5 men and women in Fort Lauderdale and the 55 & over 6.0 and 8.0 men and women at the National Campus in Orlando.

On the heels of semis and finals in Mobile being completely washed out last weekend and co-champs declared, it is natural to wonder what the weather will be like this weekend since the events are in Florida.

I wrote a few days ago that there was rain forecast for Fort Lauderdale and unfortunately there still is.  The forecast right now has actually gotten worse than earlier, it is now 10% chance of rain Friday, 90% on Saturday, and 80% on Sunday.

As a result, it appears the USTA is altering the schedule to try to play more matches on Friday which makes sense.  The original schedule had some teams scheduled to play one match Friday and two on Saturday, now every team is scheduled to play two matches on Friday.  Unfortunately, that means one flight each for men and women has two matches on Saturday and every other team has one match Saturday.  We'll see how it goes.

The forecast is better in Orlando, just a 20% chance of rain on Saturday and 10% on Sunday so that is looking good for the matches to be completed.

But how is the weather in the Southwest?  Palm Springs is sunny with 0% chance of rain, same for Phoenix and Tucson.  Makes you wonder why so many events were moved from there to Florida and Alabama.

In any case, lets hope I'm not calculating EDNR National Champions on Monday!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The 2017 USTA League 18 & over 4.5 Women's National Champion is Florida (EDNR Edition)

The 2017 USTA League Nationals held in Mobile this past weekend did not get completed due to weather and four co-champions were declared for the 18 & over 2.5 women and two each for the 40 & over 4.5+ men and women.

Co-champions just leaves a sour taste in one's mouth though, so in an effort to declare one champion for each of these events, I came up with an approach to identify an Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings (EDNR) National Champion.  I will be doing this each time something happens at an event the the final is not contested on the court.

I took a look at the 40 & over 4.5+ men and 18 & over 2.5 women, now the 40 & over 4.5+ women.

In this case, I have not learned the actual line-ups, so I am using the line-ups each team used in their semi-final wins.  Using these and my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings through the semis, that yields this result.

CourtFlorida 4.5+ WExpected ResultSouthern 4.5+F
1SElizabeth Baldwin0.03 →Spencer Moorman
2SJoan Simmons← 0.44Vanessa Dixon
1DGail Gibson / Allegra Campos0.12 →Jan Deener / Allison Scanlan
2DAvery Zercoe / Gueisy Herrmann← 0.12Stacy Trinkle / Mary King
3D Dagmar Rocker / Katarina Rutherford← 0.11Marnie Ochoa / Claudia Wesbrooks

This shows a tight one, with Florida winning 3-2 with the four close matches being split and Florida winning an easy one.

Congratulations Florida on winning the 40 & over 4.5+ women's EDNR National Championship?

p.s. for those interested, yes, I can simulate any match and can include such simulations with scouting reports I do if requested

The 2017 USTA League 18 & over 2.5 Women's National Champion is Missouri Valley (EDNR Edition)

The 2017 USTA League Nationals held in Mobile this past weekend did not get completed due to weather and four co-champions were declared for the 18 & over 2.5 women and two each for the 40 & over 4.5+ men and women.

Co-champions just leaves a sour taste in one's mouth though, so in an effort to declare one champion for each of these events, I came up with an approach to identify an Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings (EDNR) National Champion.  I will be doing this each time something happens at an event the the final is not contested on the court.

I already identified Northern California as the EDNR National Champion for the 40+ 4.5+ men, now I take a look at the 18+ 2.5 women.  This event didn't even complete their semis, so I'll be simulating the two semis and the resulting final.

In this case, I was able to learn what the line-ups were for one semi-final, but am making a best guess at the other.  Using these line-ups and my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings through round robin, that yields this result for the Florida vs Missouri Valley semi.

CourtFlorida: Yacht Club/TaylorExpected ResultMoValley:Melcher/Austin
1SKatherine Sherman0.07 →Megan Lynch
1DDawn Crawford / Cheryl Flanders← 0.09Sandy Lyons / Alison Ryan Drain
2DJennifer Espinosa / Evelyn Edenfield0.29 →Britney Coffey / Maya Horsford

This shows a 2-1 win for Missouri Valley, but really close on two of the courts.

The other semi between Pacific Northwest and Southern would have played out this way.

CourtPacific NW:GoelExpected ResultSouthern:Edwards
1SClaudia Huzar← 0.11Katrina Moore
1DAnne Wilson / Jillian Lee← 0.04Karin Rubnitz / Cindy Cummings
2DGinevra Smith / Anna Graves0.11 →Christy Butcher / Rhonda Katzman

This shows a tight battle on each court, PNW coming through with a 2-1 win.

Using the same line-ups above in the final then would have had the following.

CourtPacific NW:GoelExpected ResultMoValley:Melcher/Austin
1SClaudia Huzar0.07 →Megan Lynch
1DAnne Wilson / Jillian Lee← 0.16Sandy Lyons / Alison Ryan Drain
2DGinevra Smith / Anna Graves0.21 →Britney Coffey / Maya Horsford

In another 2-1 result, Missouri Valley would come out on top.

Congratulations Missouri Valley on winning the 18 & over 2.5 women EDNR National Championship!

p.s. for those interested, yes, I can simulate any match and can include such simulations with scouting reports I do if requested

The 2017 USTA League 40 & over 4.5+ Men's National Champion is NorCal (EDNR Edition)

The 2017 USTA League Nationals held in Mobile this past weekend did not get completed due to weather and four co-champions were declared for the 18 & over 2.5 women and two each for the 40 & over 4.5+ men and women.

Co-champions just leaves a sour taste in one's mouth though, so in an effort to declare one champion for each of these events, I came up with an approach to identify an Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings (EDNR) National Champion.  I will be doing this each time something happens at an event the the final is not contested on the court.

The first we'll look at is the 40 & over 4.5+ men.

In this case, I was able to learn what the line-ups used in the aborted final were.  Using that line-up and my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings through the semis, that yields this result.

CourtNor Cal 4.5+MExpected ResultMiddle States 4.5+M
1SBrian Heimbecker← 0.07Mark Tepes
2SMichael Hotti← 0.22Joseph Fisicaro
1DRoman Olmos / Andrew Ngo← 0.06Michael Sass / Jeffrey Hoffmann
2DAnthony J. Latos / Denton Desquitado0.07 →Jay Nistad / William R Dipietro
3D Brian Jacobsen / Kevin L. Howard← 0.03Jim Burmester / ed colfer

This shows a 4-1 win for NorCal, although four of the courts are quite close with three going NorCal's way.  While those close matches could go either way when they are played for real, in the world of Dynamic Rating National Champion, NorCal would come out on top.

Congratulations NorCal on winning the first ever EDNR National Championship!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Uh-oh, rain is in the forecast again for Florida, will we have another EDNR champion in 40+ 3.5?

It appears the USTA League Nationals "weather issue" edition is going to continue this coming weekend.

The 40 & over 3.5 men and women are scheduled to be in Fort Lauderdale, site of the weather delayed 40 & over 3.0 men and women from a couple weeks ago.  I just checked the weather and things don't look good.


Yes folks, that is a 100% and 90% chance of thunderstorms and rain this weekend.  Friday (not shown) is better, just cloudy and no rain expected, but if this forecast is accurate, the entire second day and semis/finals could be washed out.

When the last event there had rain, it resulted in 4-6 hour delays, modified scoring to start sets at 2-2 and play no-ad scoring, and matches played late into the night.  With the forecast above, it doesn't appear even those measures would allow them to get the matches in.

So what will be done?  I don't know but can guess/suggest a few things.

  • Find indoor courts to use on Saturday and Sunday.  This wasn't done a few weeks ago though, so unclear if it is even an option.  If it is, this is probably the best one as it allows for normal matches, just probably on a different surface than planed (it was supposed to be on clay).
  • If indoor courts aren't available, they will probably shorten the scoring format again and get as many matches in Friday as possible and hope there is a window to finish up over the weekend.  The weather report makes this appear unlikely to work though.
  • As an extreme measure, they could go some sort of ultra short scoring format, say playing super tie-breaks for each match, and try to get the whole thing in on Friday.  I'd guess this is unlikely though.
  • Another unlikely option would be to offer teams the option to come early (Thursday is sunny) or stay late (forecast for Monday is fine) to get the matches in.  This probably is not reasonable given the logistics and travel involved for what could be 34 teams.


For those headed to Orlando for 55+ 6.0 and 8.0, I'm not ignoring you, but your forecast for 60% and 40% rain over the weekend is not nearly as dire, but you may still end up having a shortened scoring format at some point.

We can cross our fingers and hope the forecast is wrong, but this seems to be a disaster waiting to happen in Fort Lauderdale, worse than what happened in Mobile last weekend where 8 co-champions were declared for what should be been 3 championship events due to Sunday being rained out.  If they can't even finish flight play, would the USTA consider naming all the mathematically still eligible teams to win a flight co-champions?  That could be on the order of 12 teams per event of 24 teams!

I'm reaching out to anyone I know that is going to the event to see what the USTA is telling them, but it should sure be a bummer to travel thousands of miles to not even get to finish play in your flight.  If you are planning to go, please comment with what you've heard from the USTA.

The good news is, I have a solution for naming a single National Champ should they not get to finish.  I've come up with the Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating (EDNR) National Champion where using my estimated ratings and real (where possible) line-ups, I simulate each match to determine who advances or ultimately is the winner so we can have the satisfaction of naming a winner.


I'm working on identifying the EDNR champs for Mobile now, lets hope I don't have to do it for Fort Lauderdale this weekend!

What if it hadn't rained in Mobile for 2017 USTA League 40+ 4.5+ and 18+ 2.5 Nationals? A solution to picking a champion, EDNR

It rained in Mobile, AL this past weekend where USTA League Nationals were being held.  While the tournament officials were creative and rescheduled the 4.5+ semis to late Saturday in the hopes they could get the final in Sunday morning, the rains came early and the finals were not played/completed.  Worse, for the 18+ 2.5 women, because teams had already played twice on Saturday, the semis were not rescheduled resulting in that event not even determining the finalists.

How do they declare a champion then?  They don't, and punt and declare everyone co-champions.  Meaning, rather than three teams being champions, there were eight!  All four 2.5 women semi-finalists and the four 4.5+ finalists for the men and women.

That would be very unfulfilling, and from what I hear, folks left disappointed.  I can imagine not getting to finish things on the court would leave a sour taste in your mouth, but I heard that teams still had fun.

Let us ignore for a minute that playing Nationals in Mobile, one of the wettest cities in the country, is a questionable move on the USTA's part, and also that Nationals are also being played in Florida this year, another not exactly dry location where rain caused delays and altered playing formats a few weeks ago, and instead just look at how a single champion could have been determined when it can't be decided on the court.

A first thought it to use some sort of tie-breaker like is used in determining flight champions.  The challenge is, flight champions play each other and the same opponents, so courts won/lost and head-to-head make sense.

The USTA does already have an existing way to compare teams between flights though as they have to do it when Nationals has three flights and a wildcard makes the semis.  In this case, my understanding is that they use percentage of games won.  This can work when a flight may have a different number of teams and is finer grained than looking at courts won/lost or sets won/lost, but it still suffers from a team in a weaker flight having an advantage over the second place teams in the other flights.

Since I calculate Estimated Dynamic Ratings, my mind naturally starts to think about how ratings could be used.

One way of using them would be to look at the ratings players achieved during Nationals play, the idea being that those that the team that had the highest average match rating had shown themselves to be the best team.  This is similar to percentage of games won in that it is result based from Nationals, but it factors in the strength of the opponent as well as the score instead of looking just at the score.

If we did this with what happened in Mobile, the champions would have been:
  • 2.5 women - Pacific Northwest had the highest average at 2.80 vs Florida's 2.76, Southern's 2.70, and Missouri Valley's 2.60
  • 4.5+ women - Southern would have a very narrow win over Florida 4.46 to 4.45
  • 4.5+ men - Middle States would beat Northern California 4.62 to 4.52, but interestingly Florida had the highest average match rating at 4.63 but lost to NorCal 3-2 in their flight

But using an average rating achieved for a team isn't terribly satisfying, that rewards a deep team and ignores the match-ups a captain may have been able to get via line-ups to "steal" a 3-2 win.

As you might expect, I have a better solution!  Now, keep in mind I'm a bit of a propeller head so this appeals to be, but I think it makes sense and would be equitable and objective.

Ideally the captains fill out their line-ups and the match is played on the court.  If the match can't be played on the court though, the captains can still fill out the line-ups as they would have and then the USTA could use the currently calculated dynamic ratings through Nationals play to play the match "on paper" giving the court win to the player/pair with the higher rating(s).  This would even work with the 2.5 women where they had to play the semis as the captains could fill out their line-up for the semis and see who "wins" and then the winners could do it again for the final.

Now, the USTA doesn't tell us the dynamic ratings for the players, but lucky for us I calculate estimated ratings so we can use those!  Better yet, I actually have a match simulator to compare line-ups and identify who the winner would be!

So what I'll be doing for the levels not completed in Mobile, and any other Nationals that aren't able to complete their finals, is to identify who the Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating (EDNR) National Champion is.

I'll be doing these in subsequent posts and will use my best guess at line-ups unless there is better information available.  If any captain of one of the teams wishes to contact me and let me know what their line-up was or would have been, please do.  In lieu of this, for the 4.5+ men and women I will use their line-up from their semi-final match.  Otherwise I'll use what appears to be the most common or likely line-up.

Stay tuned, but feel free to let me know what you think of this approach.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Twelve (!) 2017 USTA League National (Co-)Champions Crowned Due to Rain? Should Mobile be a Nationals venue?

The busiest weekend of 2017 USTA League Nationals is complete.  Well, sort of complete.  Let me explain.

This weekend found 18 & over 2.5 women and 3.0 levels being played along with 40 & over 4.0 and 4.5+ levels.  All told, that should lead to seven (7) National Champs being given out.  Yet, there appear to be 12 teams given titles.  How can this be?

The 18 & over 3.0 level was played in Arizona and went off without a hitch.

The women found Florida, Pacific Northwest, Southwest, and Northern California making the semis.  Florida and NorCal had tight 3-2 wins to make the final where NorCal won it all 3-2, one court going to a super tie-break.

The men had Northern California, Texas, Caribbean, and Southern make the semis and every match from thereon in was a 3-2 win and those went for Southern and Caribbean with Caribbean taking the title.

The 40 & over 4.0 was at the National Campus and also appears to have gone fine.

The women had Intermountain, Midwest, New England, and Texas make the semis where 3-2 wins abounded, New England and Texas winning only to have Texas win the final 3-2.

The men had Mid-Atlantic, Florida, Middle States, and Southern win their flights to make the semis. Middle States and Florida won with Florida winning the final 4-1.

What did not go fine were the championships played in Mobile, AL where the 2.5 women and 4.5+ men and women were playing.

From what I'm told, Mobile is one of the wettest spots in the South, which makes it an interesting spot to choose to hold Nationals given you have players from all over the country, including Hawaii and Puerto Rico, making a trip at no small expense to play a bunch of tennis over three days.  While I'm sure it doesn't happen for every event held there, I've heard stories of many events being delayed or altered by rain as there are really no indoor facilities to fall back on.

As a reminder, the standard format for Nationals is round-robin in flights on Friday and Saturday, and then semis bright and early Sunday morning with the final (and 3rd/4th place match) immediately following.  The goal is to keep it to a three day event and allow those that want/need to to leave late in the day on Sunday.

Well, it all went bad this weekend.  The first two days went fine, but the forecast appears to have called for a deluge on Sunday, as the 4.5+ semis were actually moved forward and played late on Saturday so they could, I guess, hope to get the final in Sunday early morning.  From what one can see on TennisLink and what I've heard from some eyewitness reports, the plan did not work.

The 4.5 women had Southern, Florida, Missouri Valley, and Eastern all make it to the semis and they squeezed these in on Saturday, but the 3-2 winners each, Florida and Southern never got to play the final, thus co-champs declared.

The 4.5+ men found Midwest (narrowly on courts won tie-breaker), Pacific Northwest, Middle States, and Northern California advancing to the semis.  As noted above, they got the semis in on Sunday with NorCal and Middle States advancing 4-1 each, but the final was never played and the teams will be declared co-champs as I understand it just like the women.

For the 2.5 women was the worst though.  This was three flights of five teams with Pacific Northwest, Missouri Valley, and Southern winning the flights and they were joined by Florida as the wildcard.  I'm guessing that because all teams played twice each day already, they did not want to schedule the semis on Saturday, so when the rains came even they were not played.  What does the USTA do in this case?  They declared all four teams co-champs.  Isn't that nice, Florida gets a championship without winning their flight and not having to ever beat another flight winner!

As a result, instead of the 7 champs that should have been crowned, 2 extra co-champs come from the 4.5+ men and women, and 3 come from the 2.5 women making it 12 for the weekend.

From my perspective, all of this would be very unfulfilling.  Not only did these teams not get to play 1 or 2 matches they had planned on, but a real winner was not identified, and while giving out co-champs to multiple teams may be the only option, really feels odd and waters down the accomplishment.

And it all could have been avoided.  Yes, weather or other unforeseen events can happen anywhere, several years ago a freak storm caused delays and short sets for a Mixed Nationals in Tucson, but making the conscious choice to hold Nationals in Florida and Alabama, where October is likely to bring rain and at times lots of it, just seems a bit foolish.  In just a few weeks, not only has the fiasco in Mobile happened but Fort Lauderdale had significant delays leading to late night matches and shortened matches using short sets and no-ad scoring.  They were fortunate Sunday was not rained out and they got their semis and finals in.

Yes, I know many people liked the idea of Nationals being farther east as much of the population making trip would have shorter and more convenient travel, but are all those same folks still glad they had a shorter trip after facing delays and alternate formats of play and for some, not getting to play their last two matches and decide a champion?

To be fair to all my readers, while many of you said using the new National Campus was a great idea, over a third said California should continue to be used and holding Nationals in Alabama was supported by just 5% of players, behind "Other" at 10%.

What do you think?  Is this just the nature of the beast?  Just bad luck that two events in three weeks have been negatively affected?  Or is there an obligation on the part of the USTA to hold Nationals where the likelihood of delays or cancellation is lower, or there are indoor facilities to use as a fallback?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Handicapping USTA League Nationals 40 & over 4.0 Men

Nationals for the 2017 USTA League 40 & over division continue this weekend, and so my previews continue.  Here are the 40 & over 4.0 men after doing the 40 & over 4.0 women.

For all my previews, I'll be using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings and comparing teams using the top-8 (for 5 court levels) or top-5 (for 3 court levels) averages which gives an idea of who the best teams are, if they play their best players.  Who actually plays and the match-ups a captain is able to get obviously go a long way to determining who will win, but it is still interesting to compare "best" vs "best".  The actual detailed numbers along with full roster averages and by court played averages are available as part of a Flight Report which can still be purchased for any Nationals flight.  Contact me if interested.

The 40 & over 4.0 men will be played at the National Campus in Orlando, FL.  The full 17 teams are present so there is one flight with five teams and three with four teams, the flight winners advancing to the semis.

The favorites in the four flights are Mid-Atlantic, Florida, Middle States, and Intermountain, but one of the flights is very close with three of the top-4 overall teams.

Ratings will clearly change as a result of the matches played, but right now, Middle States and Florida are in a virtual tie for the top spot if they have/play their best players.

Good luck to all!

Handicapping USTA League Nationals 40 & over 4.0 Women

Nationals for the 2017 USTA League 40 & over division continue this weekend, and so my previews continue.  Here are the 40 & over 4.0 women.

For all my previews, I'll be using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings and comparing teams using the top-8 (for 5 court levels) or top-5 (for 3 court levels) averages which gives an idea of who the best teams are, if they play their best players.  Who actually plays and the match-ups a captain is able to get obviously go a long way to determining who will win, but it is still interesting to compare "best" vs "best".  The actual detailed numbers along with full roster averages and by court played averages are available as part of a Flight Report which can still be purchased for any Nationals flight.  Contact me if interested.

The 40 & over 4.0 women will be played at the National Campus in Orlando, FL.  The full 17 teams are present so there is one flight with five teams and three with four teams, the flight winners advancing to the semis.

The favorites in the four flights are Intermountain, Northern, New England, and Texas, but three of the flights are very close.

Ratings will clearly change as a result of the matches played, but right now, Texas appears to be the favorite overall if they have/play their best players.

Good luck to all!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The busiest week of 2017 USTA League Nationals is upon us - 18+ 2.5/3.0 and 40+ 4.0/4.5+

2017 USTA League Nationals continues this weekend with seven titles to be handed out, the busiest weekend of this year.

The 18 & over age group will be playing the 2.5 women in Mobile and the 3.0 level will be played in Arizona.

The 40 & over age group is also in Mobile with the 4.5+ level and the 4.0 level is in Orlando at the National Campus.

Stay tuned for some previews.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The second weekend of 2017 Nationals are in the books, 18 & over 4.0 and 40 & over 3.0 teams win championship banners

The second weekend of Nationals is complete, and there are four more teams that are going home with championship banners.

The 40 & over 3.0 women saw Caribbean, Southern, Middle States, and Southern California make the semis.  Southern and Middle States made the final with 3-2 wins where Southern took it all with a 4-1 win.

The 3.0 men saw Middle States, Midwest, and Pacific Northwest win their flights with Mid-Atlantic getting the wildcard.  Middle States won a hard fought 3-2 win over Midwest and PNW dispatched the wildcard 4-1 leading to Middle States taking it all with a 3-2 win with two match tie-break wins the deciders.

The 18 & over 4.0 women found Northern California, Midwest, Intermountain, and Missouri Valley in the semis.  The first semi was loaded with pre-tournament favorites playing with Midwest beating NorCal and Missouri Valley also a flight favorite took care of Intermountain.  The final had Missouri Valley in a small upset winning 4-1.

The 4.0 men had Texas, Southern, Hawaii, and Southern California in the semis.  Southern Cal pulled an upset to make the final against Southern, but ran into the pre-tournament favorite buzzsaw and Southern took it all.

I've updated the tally of the semi-finalists and winners for 2017 here and will continue to keep it updated.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Review of day 1 of weekend two of 2017 USTA League Nationals - 40+ 3.0 and 18+ 4.0

As I write this it is almost 9pm ET, and unfortunately I can't say that day 1 of this weekend's Nationals are complete!

You'd think we'd be waiting for the 18+ 4.0 matches in Arizona to complete, but alas that isn't the case as there was a 5-hour rain delay in Florida for the 40+ 3.0 and seven matches are still not recorded on TennisLink.  As far as I know, they are still being played tonight so I expect the scores will show up soon.

Note that because of the rain, my understanding is that the USTA preemptively shortened matches to start each set at 2-2 and also go to no-ad rather than playing the deuces out as is normally done at Nationals.  I do not know if this will continue tomorrow or was just to try to get today's matches in, but with more rain forecast, there is probably a good chance matches remain shortened.

But on to how teams have done.

In Arizona, the women has every team with only wins or only losses.  Each flight has two 2-0 or 1-0 teams and two 0-2 or 0-1 teams.  Caribbean didn't make the trip so there are four four team flights and Southern and Northern California won twice each in flight 1 as expected, Intermountain and Northern each won in flight 2 as expected, flight 3 also had the favored teams win in Midwest and Mid-Atlantic, and form also held in flight 4 with Missouri Valley and Florida winning twice each.  So the head to head matches between the winners today will decide things tomorrow.

The 4.0 men also had Caribbean not make the trip so the four four-team flights exists here too.  Several teams did go 1-1 though, not quite the "chalk" of the women.  Flight 5 had Texas upset Florida to lead at 2-0, flight 6 had Hawaii and Middle States win as expected, Southern leads flight 7 as expected, and flight 8 has Midwest and Southern Cal leading.

In Florida, for the women, Caribbean and Texas lead in five-team flight 1, Middle States and Midwest in flight 2, Mid-Atlantic and Southern in flight 3, and no scores are recorded for flight 4 yet.

The men have three five-team flights, and have Southern and Middle States leading flight 5, Northern and Pacific Northwest undefeated in flight 6, and Texas and Intermountain leading flight 7.

Good luck to all!

USTA League Nationals in Florida - Rain? Who knew!

For 2017 the USTA elected to hold a bunch of USTA League Nationals in Florida.  Last weekend the 18 & over 5.0+ level was played at the National Campus in Orlando and to my knowledge went off without incident, but this weekend Fort Lauderdale is hosting the 40 & over 3.0 level and it appears they've started out with a 2-hour delay due to rain and the forecast doesn't look promising.


That is not the most reassuring weather report when you have over 300 individual courts to get played over three days.

This was a concern I wrote and even polled about when all this was announced, the about a quarter of those polled agreed with me that due to weather, Nationals should have stayed in Arizona and California.  While you can have weather or fires or other events that may affect the ability to get the matches in regardless of location, picking a location where it frequently rains and it is a pretty sure thing that there will be some sort of weather delay over a location where it is highly unlikely to have one does not seem like the best decision, especially given the time and expense players and teams are asked to incur to make the trip.

Hopefully the weather holds and all the matches can be played as planned, but as someone spending thousands of dollars to make a trip to Nationals, I know I'd be pretty unhappy if I end up making the trip to only get to play a few pro-sets instead of complete matches.

p.s. if they had stuck with playing in the California desert, here is the forecast there.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Handicapping USTA League Nationals 18 & over 4.0 Women

Nationals for the 2017 USTA League 18 & over division continue this weekend along with the 40 & over starting, and so my previews continue.  I wrote about the 40 & over 3.0 women, now the 18 & over 4.0 women.

For all my previews, I'll be using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings and comparing teams using the top-8 (for 5 court levels) or top-5 (for 3 court levels) averages which gives an idea of who the best teams are, if they play their best players.  Who actually plays and the match-ups a captain is able to get obviously go a long way to determining who will win, but it is still interesting to compare "best" vs "best".  The actual detailed numbers along with full roster averages and by court played averages are available as part of a Flight Report which can still be purchased for any Nationals flight.  Contact me if interested.

The 18 & over 4.0 women will be played in Surprise, AZ.  The full 17 teams are present so there is one flight with five teams and three with four teams, the flight winners advancing to the semis.

The favorites in the four flights are Northern California, Northern, Midwest, and Missouri Valley, but most flights are very close.

Ratings will clearly change as a result of the matches played, but right now, Midwest appears to be the favorite if they have/play their best players.

Good luck to all!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Handicapping 2017 USTA League Nationals 40 & over 3.0 Women

Nationals for the 2017 USTA League 40 & over division gets started this weekend, and so my previews continue.  To start, we'll take a look at the 3.0 women

For all my previews, I'll be using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings and comparing teams using the top-8 (for 5 court levels) or top-5 (for 3 court levels) averages which gives an idea of who the best teams are, if they play their best players.  Who actually plays and the match-ups a captain is able to get obviously go a long way to determining who will win, but it is still interesting to compare "best" vs "best".  The actual detailed numbers along with full roster averages and by court played averages are available as part of a Flight Report which can still be purchased for any Nationals flight.  Contact me if interested.

The 3.0 women will be played in Ft. Lauderdale, FL on clay.  The full 17 teams are present so there is one flight with five teams and three with four teams, the flight winners advancing to the semis.

The favorites in the three flights are Hawaii, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Florida, but several flights are virtual ties in the preview so anything could happen.

Ratings will clearly change as a result of the matches played, but right now, Hawaii appears to be the favorite, but they are making one long trip and the Florida team is almost playing a home match and on clay, so we'll see if that slants things in their favor.

Good luck to all!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The first 2017 Nationals are in the books, 18 & over 3.5 and 5.0+ teams win championship banners

The first weekend of Nationals is complete, and there are three teams that are going home with championship banners.  Why three?  It appears the 5.0+ men is not complete yet, see below.

The 3.5 women saw Intermountain, Middle States, Pacific Northwest, and Florida win their flights and advance on to the semis, just Florida was a flight favorite going in, and they took the advantage they had and ran with it to take the title with a 3-2 win over PNW and 4-1 against Intermountain.

The 3.5 men's semis had Texas and Northern California as pre-tournament favorites advance, with Middle States and Caribbean as the other two teams.  Texas beat NorCal 3-2, court 3 doubles went their way in a match tie-break, and then won 4-1 in the final.

The 5.0+ levels were the first to be played at the new National Campus in Orlando and for the women, Missouri Valley, Texas, and Mid-Atlantic won their flights and were joined by wildcard Southern in the semis.  Just Texas was among the favorites going in, and they rode that to the title with two 2-1 wins.

The 5.0+ men found Mid-Atlantic, Southern, Intermountain, and Texas make the semis, the latter two among the favorites in my preview, and TennisLink is showing just the semis played with Southern and Intermountain to play the final.  I'll update this blog entry when it shows complete.

I've started the tally of the semi-finalists and winners for 2017 here and will continue to keep it updated.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Review of day one of 2017 USTA League Nationals

USTA League Nationals for 2017 has begun!

Here is a quick review of what happened on the first day.

The 3.5 women, flight 1 finds every team 1-1!  Saturday will be fun to see what happens.  Pacific Northwest, Middle States/Southwest, and Texas/Florida lead the other flights.  Three of the four flight favorites are still in it so mostly as expected.

For the 3.5 men, the flight leaders are Intermountain/Texas (both 2-0), Middle States, Northern Cal/Missouri Valley (both 2-0), and Caribbean/Southwest (both 1-0).  Just one of the flight favorites is no longer in the running so mostly as expected.

The 5.0+ women has Middle States, Northern Cal, and Mid-Atlantic leading their flights, two of those the favorites going in, and the other favorite and wildcard leader are still in it too.

And the 5.0+ men has Mid-Atlantic/Florida, Texas/Midwest, and Intermountain/Pacific Northwest leading their flights, two of the three favorites still in the mix.

Tomorrow should be fun!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Handicapping 2017 USTA League Nationals - 18 & over 3.5 Men

Nationals for the 2017 USTA League 18 & over division gets started this weekend, and it wouldn't feel right to let it pass without a little preview and prediction.  I wrote about the 5.0+ men, and 5.0+ women, and 3.5 women, now the 3.5 men.

For all my previews, I'll be using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings and comparing teams using the top-8 (for 5 court levels) or top-5 (for 3 court levels) averages which gives an idea of who the best teams are, if they play their best players.  Who actually plays and the match-ups a captain is able to get obviously go a long way to determining who will win, but it is still interesting to compare "best" vs "best".  The actual detailed numbers along with full roster averages and by court played averages are available as part of a Flight Report which can still be purchased for any Nationals flight.  Contact me if interested.

The 3.5 men will be played in Surprise, AZ.  Florida is missing so there are the 16 teams and four flights each with four teams, so the flight winners will advance to the semis.

The favorites in the three flights are Texas, Southern California, Northern California, and Northern, but several flights are very close.

Ratings will clearly change as a result of the matches played, but right now, Northern Cal appears to be the favorite.

Good luck to all!

Handicapping 2017 USTA League Nationals - 18 & over 3.5 Women

Nationals for the 2017 USTA League 18 & over division gets started this weekend, and it wouldn't feel right to let it pass without a little preview and prediction.  I wrote about the 5.0+ men, and 5.0+ women, now the 3.5 women.

For all my previews, I'll be using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings and comparing teams using the top-8 (for 5 court levels) or top-5 (for 3 court levels) averages which gives an idea of who the best teams are, if they play their best players.  Who actually plays and the match-ups a captain is able to get obviously go a long way to determining who will win, but it is still interesting to compare "best" vs "best".  The actual detailed numbers along with full roster averages and by court played averages are available as part of a Flight Report which can still be purchased for any Nationals flight.  Contact me if interested.

The 3.5 women will be played in Surprise, AZ.  There are the full allotment of 17 teams and four flights, so the flight winners will advance to the semis.

The favorites in the three flights are Southern, Northern California, Southwest, and Florida, but flight 1 is loaded and pretty close.  So those teams are the favorites to make the semis.

Ratings will clearly change as a result of the matches played, but right now, Southern appears to be the favorite if they can make it out of their flight and not be worn out.

Good luck to all!