Monday, April 23, 2018

Seattle area teams win local playoffs and punch ticket to USTA League 40+ Sectionals

I previewed local playoffs for the 40 & over teams in the Seattle area, here is who ended up winning.

The 3.0 women had the #3 and #5 seeds come through and Eastside came through for the win over Amy Yee.

The 3.0 men had #3 Columbia Silver Lake make the final, but #1 Mercer Island took the win the local championship.

At the 3.5 level, the women's final was #3 Mercer Island against #2 TCSP-Blum, Mercer Island coming out on top.

The 3.5 men had #3 Gold Creek beating #1 Central Park in the final.

The 4.0 women found a #1 seed in the final again in TCSP but #3 Pro Sports Club beat them there.

The 4.0 men had the #2 seed in Nordstrom Tennis Center beating #4 Pine Lake.

The 4.5+ women found #1 Bellevue Club beating #4 BETC in the final.

Last, the 4.5+ men had the top two seeds play in the final, #1 Nordstrom beating Seattle Tennis Club.

As is the case in most years, all the teams noted above will be headed to Sectionals as the runner up gets a wildcard berth.  So congratulations to all the teams above and good luck at Sectionals!

Note that because teams know in advance that just making the final gets them to Sectionals, sometimes the final may not have each team's best line-up.  Captains will use the match to get other players in a playoff match or get someone their third match to qualify them for Nationals.  Still, the winner gets bragging rights, an extra winners gift from the USTA, and better seeding at Sectionals so there was still something to play for.

Regardless, while nearly ever final had a #1 and/or #2 seed, there were some upsets and lower seeded teams found their way there.  This is the beauty of sport, having higher rated players doesn't guarantee the win, you have to go out and perform on the given day and upsets can happen.

One last note, given that this playoffs had fewer teams due to struggles getting enough courts, lets be sure to thank the two facilities that did host 40+ playoffs this year, those being Mercer Island and BETC.  Thanks!

Again, congratulations too all the teams involved.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Seattle area USTA League 40+ local playoffs preview

The local playoffs for the 40+ USTA League in Seattle actually got started last night, but the bulk of play is today and tomorrow.  Here is a quick preview of some of the match-ups.

All these previews are using the top-8 averages from each roster using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings and is info that is included in Flight Preview reports.  Keep in mind that top-8 averages are a good, but not perfect, predictor of who will win a match.  Who actually plays and the match-ups can result in upsets, and getting the desirable match-ups is why people get flight reports to scout opponents.

The 3.0 women are tightly bunched and has one first round match this morning with #2 Robinswood playing #4 Bellevue Club.  The winner plays #3 Amy Yee while #1 Seattle Tennis Club plays #5 Eastside.

The 3.0 men lays out nicely with the #1 seed Mercer Island playing the #4 seed TCSP, while the #2 seed Bellevue Club plays the #3 Columbia-Silver Lake.

The 3.5 women had two matches last night, #4 TCSP-Rally Cats beating #5 BETC, and #2 TCSP-Blum beating #6 Central Park.  So no upsets so far.  Today TCSP-Blum takes on #1 Nordstrom while TCSP-Rally Cats plays #3 Mercer Island.

The 3.5 men have a match this morning, #2 Bellevue Club taking on #5 Eastside, the winner then taking on #1 Central Park.  The other semi has #3 Gold Creek facing #4 Columbia Silver Lake.

At the 4.0 level, the women are tightly bunched with #2 Central Park playing #3 Pro-Sports Club in one semi while #1 TCSP plays #4 Seattle Tennis Club.

The 4.0 men has #2 NTC facing #3 Bellingham and #1 Pro-Sports Club taking on #4 Pine Lake.

Finally, at 4.5+, the women has #1 Bellevue Club playing #3 Nordstrom and #2 Seattle Tennis Club playing #4 BETC.

And the 4.5+ men has #1 Nordstrom playing #3 Mercer Island while #2 Seattle Tennis Club faces #4 BETC.

I'll report back Sunday evening on how it has all played out and who is on to Sectionals.  Good luck to all!

NTRP Rating Meetings in Seattle and Portland in May

I'd like to think what I write about here on my blog and FAQ are a good set of resources for USTA League players interested in how the NTRP algorithm works, interesting stats about ratings and USTA League play, and a way to get a report estimating what their dynamic NTRP rating is offering insights into how and why their rating changes and is where it is.

But if you are in Portland or Seattle and would like to attend a meeting with the USTA Senior Manager of Product Strategy for Events and Ratings to learn more about the NTRP rating system, plan to attend one of the meetings being held in May where Heather Hawkes will be present to discuss the topic and answer questions.

Meetings will be:

  • Portland - Monday May 7, 6:30 - 8:00 pm - MAC Club Ballroom
  • Bellevue - Tuesday May 8, 7:00 - 8:30 pm - Downtown Bellevue Courtyard Marriott

I'll be there in Bellevue and hope to see you there.

Update: A video from the event is available now, see details here.

Pacific Northwest USTA League playoffs are underway, ready for Sectionals? 2018 Sectionals dates and locations

We are now in late April and with that comes the end of the regular season for several leagues in the Pacific Northwest meaning local playoffs have also taken place or are underway.  In Portland, 18 & over local playoffs were held last weekend and the Seattle area started their 40 & over playoffs last night.

There is still a lot of tennis to be played in other divisions and other local playoffs, but a few teams have punched, or will be punching, ticket to Sectionals so those dates now become important.  For those interested, here they are:

  • June 28 - July 1 - Sunriver, OR - Adult 55+
  • July 20 - 22 - Sunriver, OR - Mixed 18+
  • August 10 - 12 - Portland, OR - Adult 18+
  • August 24 - 26 - Portland, OR - Adult 40+
  • September 14 - 16 - Sunriver, OR - Mixed 40+
  • November 1 - 4 - Tacoma, WA - Adult 65+
  • November 9 - 11 - Tacoma, WA - Mixed 55+
  • November 9 - 11 - Tacoma, WA - One Doubles

Good luck to all those teams vying to advance to Sectionals!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

2018 playoffs get started in Seattle this coming weekend

In the Seattle area, the 40 & over league kicked off 2018 in early January, the regular season wrapped up a few weeks ago, and local playoffs are coming up this weekend 4/20-4/22.

Local playoffs are a bit abbreviated this year though with just one wildcard per gender/level so there are fewer teams and fewer rounds to be played.  With the typical wildcard to Sectionals, this means top seeds may only have to win one match to secure a spot to Sectionals.

With fewer teams and just the top teams advancing to playoffs, there will likely be no easy first match and there is a lot more importance on scouting opponents, so for those interested it is a good thing I continue to offer flight and team reports to help captains scout opponents and plan their line-ups.  Contact me if interested.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

When in the year do you play your USTA League matches? Matches per month across all the sections

Those of you reading my blog are probably well aware of, and play in, USTA League, and know that the main advancing leagues (Adult 18+, 40+, 55+) have league play during the year culminating in USTA League Nationals typically in October/November.

Since this is a yearly event, you'd expect the regular season league play to occur earlier in the year, say January thru June, and then the various stages of playoffs occur from July thru September leading to Nationals.  And in fact, this is the case in many, but not all, sections as you'll see below.  Additionally, when the different age divisions play varies by section, some doing them in parallel and some sequentially.

To see how different it is across sections, I've created some charts to visually see when each section has its 18+, 40+, and 55+ regular season matches scheduled.  This is looking at 2017 for just the three Adult age divisions and is just scheduled dates for regular season matches and calculating the number of team matches per month.

Note that looking at the section level you get different districts that may do things differently blended together.  If there is interest (leave comments!), I may drill into a few sections and see how things vary at the district level.

Let me know what you think of the below and when your league matches are played.

Because I'm in the Pacific Northwest, we'll start there.

We see that 55+ is an early start league across the board, playing in the Fall.  Then both 18+ and 40+ are played a lot in the first three months of the year, but 18+ peaks in April and May while 40+ has the bulk of its matches in Jan-Mar.

Southern is the largest section, we'll go there next.

This is one long "2017" season!  They take early start leagues to an extreme, Georgia starting back in May, and other districts have early start leagues too in the Fall, but the bulk of the play is in the Winter/Spring for all age divisions.  We also see that across the whole section, there are approaching ten thousand team matches played in March, far and away the most of any section/month.

Next, Northern California.

With just a bit of overlap, NorCal has 40+, then 18+, then 55+.  All very orderly and consistent.  Just a few early start leagues in Reno I believe not in the calendar year.

Staying in California, Southern Cal is next.

SoCal is also for the most part very orderly, 40+, then 18+, with 55+ sprinkled in and some mis-categorized leagues in the Fall.

Going to another good sized section next, Mid-Atlantic.

This section fits all in the calendar year and is fairly consistent with some played early in the year, but the bulk of 18+ in the Spring and 40+ in the early Summer.

Another large geographic section is Midwest.

There are a fair number of early start leagues in the Fall, and both 18+ and 40+ are spread across the whole season.  It is not clear from this if they are run in parallel in all districts/areas though.

A fair amount of tennis is played in Florida, here is when their matches are played.

They too are playing a lot of leagues at the same time, although the raw number of team matches is not exceptionally high in any month so each district/area could spread them out locally.

Missouri Valley is another section covering a bunch of states.

This section has quite a few early start leagues and is playing 18+ matches regularly throughout the season.  40+ and 55+ are more in the Spring.

Next up, Eastern.

Here the bulk of the matches, 18+, 40+, and 55+ are played in the Spring and early Summer, with a small amount of 18+ played earlier in the year and as early start leagues.

Next, Intermountain.

With snowy winters, not much advancing league play is done indoors it appears which compresses 18+ and 40+ each into just 8-10 week seasons with a little overlap.

Speaking of long winters, here is New England.

Clearly they play indoors with a fair amount of all three leagues played in the Winter and early Spring, but the most is still played in the late Spring and early Summer, a lot in parallel it appears.

Another cold section is Northern.

They play a lot indoors as part of early start leagues, but a fair amount in the late Spring and Summer too.  That absence of matches in April is quite odd though.

Heading south, here is Texas.

Texas has a fair number of early start leagues for 18+ then 40+ is played more in the first three months followed by the rest or a second round of 18+.

Adjacent to Texas is Southwest.

Southwest doesn't play much in the Summer, just some 55+, and 40+ is centered on the Fall/Winter while 18+ is Fall/Spring.

Next up, Middle States.

There is a smattering of early start leagues in this section, but they load up on their advancing leagues in the Spring and early Summer.

Last, on to the "Island Sections", first Caribbean.

Caribbean is very logical, 40+ to start the year, then 18+ and 55+ in the Spring and early Summer.

And that leaves Hawaii.

Also logical, more or less like Caribbean.

There you have it, when each section plays their matches for the different age divisions!