Saturday, November 16, 2019

USTA League Nationals Week 7 Semi-finalists - What tie-breakers had to be used?

Despite some rain, delays, and short-format on Friday, the round-robin phase of week 7 of USTA Nationals is complete and we have four sets of semi-finalists in Orlando.

The 6.0 level had three undefeated teams in PNW, Mid-Atlantic, and Intermountain, and remarkably there was only one 3-1 team, New England, so they advanced.  We were very close to a 2-2 team advancing to the semis!

The 7.0 level had three undefeated teams in Texas, Southern, and Mid-Atlantic, and then there was a 3-way tie at 3-1 for the last spot with with SoCal getting it on best court record 9-3 to Intermountain and NorCal's 8-4.

The 8.0 level had three undefeated teams in SoCal, Florida, and Middle States, and then had a 5-way tie for the last spot at 3-1.  Mid-Atlantic and Texas were tied at 9-3 on courts ahead of Eastern, PNW, and MoValley, and Mid-Atlantic got the spot having lost one fewer set.  They did win the same number of sets so using the better sets won percentage would have resulted in the same team advancing, but it is interesting that had they tied on sets lost, Texas would have easily won the games lost tie-breaker having lost 14 fewer games.

The 9.0 level had two undefeated teams in Southern and Mid-Atlantic, and then a 4-way tie at 3-1 with MoValley and Florida having better court records than NorCal and PNW.

These teams will play for the last titles of 2019 tomorrow!

40 & Over Mixed Nationals update: One match to go

After some rain, delays, and short format matches, day two of USTA League 40 & Over Mixed Nationals is underway, and with most teams having three matches played, here is how things stand.

The 7.0 level is going to be a dog fight for the last spot.  Right now, there are 10 teams at 2-1 or better, just three at 3-0, so there will be a 3-1 team advancing and the tie could be big and close.  Right now, the updated simulation says the most likely size of the tie is five (5) teams and it could be as many as eight (8)!

The 8.0 level had six (6) undefeated after one day with a real chance of five (5) finishing that way, and right now, five still are, but because PNW lost to Midwest, it can't finish that way as IM and Florida still play each other.  We could have a tight tie at 3-1 though.

The 6.0 level still has four undefeated teams but it won't remain that way so a good chance of a close tie for this flight.

The 9.0 level still has four undefeated teams but it also won't remain that way, a good chance of some tie-breakers.

So look for the tie-breakers to come into play.  Hopefully they pick the most deserving teams.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Weather Update 2: Six hour delay and short format for day 1 of 40 & Over Mixed in Orlando

I wrote earlier than rain had arrived and there would be delays.  They ended up not starting play until early afternoon, around 1pm, and using a short format with no-ad and sets to 4 rather than 6.

Even with these steps in place, it still appears it will be a late night as as of the writing of this (9:45pm EST) according to TennisLink, there are:

  • Seven 6.0 matches to play, one team hasn't played yet
  • Five 7.0 matches to play, two teams haven't played yet
  • Four 8.0 matches to play
  • Five 9.0 matches to play, two teams haven't played yet

Sounds like it will be a late night for some teams, while others have their two matches done for the day and are relaxing.  Perhaps they are delayed entering scores, but I'm told they enter them promptly.

Simulation 2019 USTA League Nationals - 40 & Over 7.0 Mixed

As I did last year, I will be doing simulations of each Nationals to predict who the most likely four teams are to make the semi-finals, and also look at other interesting things that may occur.  Last year, the simulations did a pretty good job predicting who would advance to the semis including having all four teams predicted correctly several times.

Why do these simulations you ask?  The primary reason is that the format for USTA League Nationals is now a flight-less random round-robin where each team plays four other random opponents.  This introduces significant variations in schedule strength, the possibility of an undefeated team not making the top-4, and teams vying for the top-4 perhaps not having played head-to-head and unfortunate tie-breakers being used.  The simulations aim to educate folks on how it all works and look at what may happen.  Also see this write-up for some things to know about Nationals.

Nationals have entered the seventh and final weekend of competition, the 40 & Over 8.0 Mixed event being held in Orlando.  Here is what the simulation says is likely to happen.

As a reminder, my simulations are done using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings and looking at the average rating for the top group of players on each team, the actual schedule each team will play, and then doing a million simulations of the matches with some random variation in each team's expected result.

With 17 teams at the event the USTA never creates a schedule that can avoid more than four undefeated teams, and there is a  less than 1% chance of five undefeated.  There is just an 8% chance of four undefeated, so this means a competitive event and a good chance of teams at 3-1 vying for the last advancing spot.

That chance is 92%, that there will be a tie for the last spot (4-0 or 3-1) and it come down to tie-breakers.  The most likely size of the tie is a healthy 4 at 37%, but three is pretty high at 23%, and five is 21%.  The chances of larger ties diminish pretty quickly, but a 10-way tie is theoretically possible, but it appears a multi-way tie is a very high probability and it could be reasonably large.

Should there be a tie on team record, it comes down first to who has the best court record, then head-to-head (if applicable), then to who lost the fewest sets, then who lost the fewest games, and finally percent of games won.  There is a 50% chance it comes down to the sets lost tie-breaker, and there is a 48% chance that is between two teams and a healthy 37% chance it is between three teams,  If the controversial tie-breakers are going to come into play, this is the likely spot.

The schedule strengths do vary a bit, the team with the easiest schedule having an opponent average of 3.45 while the team with the toughest schedule having an opponent average of 3.73.  This leads to an easier road for some teams than others, one of the predicted semi-finalists getting there due to an easier schedule.

So who is most likely to come out in the top-4?  NorCal, Mid-AtlanticPNW, and Hawaii are solid choices, NorCal the most likely by just a bit.  Southern is really close to joining the fray and Intermountain and Texas will be there too, SoCal also lurking.

For those interested, I offer a variety of reports to make Nationals more fun and help captains prepare.  I have a Simulation Report that has all of the details of the simulation including the average ratings for each team, each team's schedule strength, the most likely record for each team, and the chance of each possible record for each team.  I also offer reports to help teams scout opponents in more detail, both a Flight Report with full roster averages, top-8 averages and played by court averages for each team, as well as full Team Reports with detailed ratings for each rostered player and stats who who plays with who and on which court and how they do together.  Contact me if interested in any of these reports.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Weather Update: USTA League Nationals in Orlando Week 7 - Rain arrives

The weather report for this weekend's 40 & Over Mixed Nationals in Orlando wasn't good earlier in the week, and it still isn't good.

This will be the 4th of five Nationals held in Orlando having some amount of rain/delays, the 3rd it appears with significant delays and potential short format scoring being required.

Here it is as of Thursday evening.


It doesn't look promising for much of Friday.  With those percentages, even if there are periods without rain, can the courts be dried and play start for any period of time before more rain arrives?

I hear that they are already planning for the start of play to be delayed until Friday afternoon, perhaps 2pm when the indoor courts become available, but it sounds like they are hoping outdoor courts are playable by then too.

I have not heard if they are preemptively going to short format scoring.  Saturday looks good at this point so I'm sure they will try to catch up with more condensed scheduling so perhaps they can avoid a short format.

I'll update this post as I learn more, or create a new one with more significant updates.

Update: The decision was made Thursday evening to play sets to 4 rather than 6 and to use no-ad, on Friday at least.  A revised schedule was posted planning to start play in the afternoon when the forecast says the rain will diminish, but teams are on standby to start earlier if weather permits.

Simulating 2019 USTA League Nationals - 40 & Over 8.0 Mixed

As I did last year, I will be doing simulations of each Nationals to predict who the most likely four teams are to make the semi-finals, and also look at other interesting things that may occur.  Last year, the simulations did a pretty good job predicting who would advance to the semis including having all four teams predicted correctly several times.

Why do these simulations you ask?  The primary reason is that the format for USTA League Nationals is now a flight-less random round-robin where each team plays four other random opponents.  This introduces significant variations in schedule strength, the possibility of an undefeated team not making the top-4, and teams vying for the top-4 perhaps not having played head-to-head and unfortunate tie-breakers being used.  The simulations aim to educate folks on how it all works and look at what may happen.  Also see this write-up for some things to know about Nationals.

Nationals are about to enter the seventh and final weekend of competition, the 40 & Over 8.0 Mixed event being held in Orlando.  Here is what the simulation says is likely to happen.

As a reminder, my simulations are done using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings and looking at the average rating for the top group of players on each team, the actual schedule each team will play, and then doing a million simulations of the matches with some random variation in each team's expected result.

With 17 teams at the event the USTA never creates a schedule that can avoid more than four undefeated teams, and there is a very healthy 14% chance of five undefeated.  But there is a 1% chance of six undefeated too!  It is possible to avoid this even with 17 teams, but the USTA did not do that.  There is a quite good chance at 38% of four undefeated, but that still leaves a good chance of teams at 3-1 vying for the last advancing spot.

That chance is 62%, that there will be a tie for the last spot (4-0 or 3-1) and it come down to tie-breakers.  The most likely size of the tie is a whopping five at 40%, but four is nearly as likely at 34%, and two is still 16%.  The chances of larger ties diminish pretty quickly, but a 12-way tie is theoretically possible, but it appears a multi-way tie is a very high probability and it could be reasonably large.

Should there be a tie on team record, it comes down first to who has the best court record, then head-to-head (if applicable), then to who lost the fewest sets, then who lost the fewest games, and finally percent of games won.  There is a 29% chance it comes down to the sets lost tie-breaker, and there is a 60% chance that is between two teams and a healthy 31% chance it is between three teams,  If the controversial tie-breakers are going to come into play, this is the likely spot.

The schedule strengths do vary a bit, the team with the easiest schedule having an opponent average of 3.84 while the team with the toughest schedule having an opponent average of 4.05  This leads to an easier road for some teams than others, one of the predicted semi-finalists getting there due to an easier schedule.

So who is most likely to come out in the top-4?  Florida, PNWMid-Atlantic, and Texas are solid choices, Florida the most likely.  Hawaii and Middle States are really close, it drops off after that but SoCal could challenge.

For those interested, I offer a variety of reports to make Nationals more fun and help captains prepare.  I have a Simulation Report that has all of the details of the simulation including the average ratings for each team, each team's schedule strength, the most likely record for each team, and the chance of each possible record for each team.  I also offer reports to help teams scout opponents in more detail, both a Flight Report with full roster averages, top-8 averages and played by court averages for each team, as well as full Team Reports with detailed ratings for each rostered player and stats who who plays with who and on which court and how they do together.  Contact me if interested in any of these reports.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Breaking News! PNW changes 40 & Over to use Points Per Position for standings for 2020

I wrote literally two hours ago my musings on how PNW or other sections might address the concerns with the new 4-court format for 40 & Over in 2020.

I now go look at TennisLink and see that flights are being created and the standings now appear to be using the Points Per Position format!

For those that haven't seen it, here is what it looks like.


You notice the traditional Wins, Losses, Individual Wins, and Individual Losses columns are not present.  Instead there are Matches Played and Points columns.  This is the Points Per Position (PPP) format.

If you didn't read what I wrote earlier, PPP works by each court having an assigned number of points the winning team gets for winning that court, and rather than having a team win or loss for a team match, each team simply accumulates points based on the courts won.  The standings are then based on the accumulated points, with tie-breakers done based on sets and games won/lost.

Now, what points will be assigned to the courts?  That isn't clear yet, but I'd guess it will be what I wrote earlier, 1 point for all courts other than 1 doubles, and 2 points for that court.  This means 5 points available per match, so in an eight match season, 40 total points are in play for a team.  And while the "win" doesn't matter, this does mean one team will accumulate more points than the other team for the match so there is some satisfaction in the "win" this way.

So it appears we will find out how Points Per Position works and how captains will adapt to both the 4-court format and a new way of determining standings!

40 & Over and 4 courts - What if Points Per Position was used? Vote in the poll!

A recent change to the USTA League regulations for 2020 modified the format for 40 & Over at the National level, specifically changing it to a 4-court format with 1 court of singles and 3 courts of doubles.  Sections are given the leeway to adopt it for local league play and Districts/Sectionals if they so choose, and I expect many to do so, and my section, Pacific Northwest, has said it will be used for 2020, and I've heard that NorCal will use it as well.

I highlighted a number of concerns in what I wrote above, and I know a group of players in PNW have lobbied the Section Coordinator to rethink the position, but I have not seen an official reply or response with any planned changes.

That doesn't stop me from speculating what might be done though.

Update 11/13 9:30pm: It appears my speculation was correct as the standings on TennisLink for the upcoming league now show the standings using Points Per Position.

If there really is a shortage of singles players, a 1 singles and 4 doubles format could be used to actually increase playing opportunities (9 players rather than 7 or 8) and avoid the issue with 2-2 ties.  But that isn't happening for 2020, so let's move on.

And the 2-2 ties is an issue with the 4-court format as the traditional team wins/losses for standings falls apart should there be 2-2 ties that can't be broken by the published tie-breaker rules.  And yes, it could and would happen.

One approach if a 2-2 tie really happens after the tie-breakers are exhausted is to just give the teams a "half win".  The challenge here is that TennisLink doesn't support it so it would have to be manually managed/tracked.  I believe this has been done in at least one section where a 4-court format was used in 2019.

Perhaps a better solution is something I noted could be done, that being to use a Points Per Position (PPP) format for standings.  For those not familiar with it, rather than standings being based on team wins/losses, they are based simply on points, where a team accumulates points for winning courts throughout the season.  This effectively removes the team win issue as teams wins are not something that is used for standings.

The PPP format allows for the points per position to be whatever is deemed appropriate by the section/district/area implementing it.  The format has been used in several sections for several years with different points allocations, for example, in the Eastern section where PPP has been used for a few years, a 3-court 5.0+ flight uses 2 points for 1S and 1D, and one point for 2D (221), but 5-court flights use a 5 for 1S, 4 for 2S, 6 for 1D, 4 for 2D, and 3 for 3D (54643).

A simple approach for my section (PNW), or any section adopting this new 4-court format for the first time, would be to use PPP with a single point for each court.  This effectively just makes the standings based on courts won/lost record rather than team wins, but does make it so a 2-2 team result is not an issue.  You don't get the satisfaction of the "win", both teams just accumulate 2 more points towards their total in the standings.

An alternative that is subtle but perhaps addresses a few issues is to assign 1 point to all courts other than 1D which will be worth 2 points.  This means each team match will have 5 points up for grabs.  While the team "win" no longer matters, this would result in two teams splitting the four courts having the team that won 1D accumulating 3 total points and thus getting the "win" which lends a little more satisfying resolution to the team match.

This approach also has the benefit of discouraging stacking if you think that is an issue.  In fact, PPP is often used with points allocations to discourage stacking as noted above.  So not only does 1D being worth 2 points create the allure of a "win", but it would help ensure players play their better players on 1D to go after the 2 points.

Also, in 4.5+, by making 1D worth two points, a team may play their 5.0 on 1D some and not only 1S which may open up singles playing opportunities for 4.5s where they may not have had them before if the 5.0 always played singles.  This at least partially addresses the concern that 4.5 singles opportunities will disappear with the 4-court format.

I think there are pros and cons to PPP where court 1 is weighted more heavily.  It does discourage stacking to a degree, but also takes away a strategy for captains to use to try to win the team match.  It could lead to a captain being less willing to play lower rated players at all as they can no longer lose that court and win the team match, losing the court is just lost points now and points accumulation may be at a premium.  I'll be honest, I'm on the fence on this one until I see it in action or do some more research.

Regardless, while I still don't agree with the decision to move to 4 courts for 40 & Over, a move to Points Per Position would address some of the issues.  It does not address the reduced playing opportunity in general, and the cutting in half of the singles playing opportunities, and this is really the bigger issue, but it is at least a step in the right direction and better than the original plan.

Note that an alternative to PPP as I outlined above would be to just make the winner of 1D be the tie-breaker in the team-match if the courts split 2-2.  The problem with this is that this isn't an approved format that TennisLink supports, and unfortunately I think whatever is selected needs to be "TennisLink approved", and Points Per Position is.

If you are from PNW, what do you think?  Would you like to see Points Per Position adopted for the 40 & Over league since we appear locked in to the 4-court format?

If you aren't from PNW, is what I've outlined above something you'd like to see your section do should they adopt the 4-court format?

Voice your opinion and vote in the poll.


Given the 4-court (1S/3D) format for 40 & Over, what is your preferred approach for flight standings?

Traditional team wins/losses with the normal tie-breakers, ties won't really happen ...
Traditional team wins/losses with the normal tie-breakers, "half wins" in the event of a tie
Traditional team wins/losses with the 1D winner being the tie-breaker in the event of a 2-2 tie
Points Per Position where accumulated points determine the standings and team wins don't matter
Created with PollMaker


Note: Added another option to the poll a few minutes after posting.

Simulating 2019 USTA League Nationals - 40 & Over 6.0 Mixed

As I did last year, I will be doing simulations of each Nationals to predict who the most likely four teams are to make the semi-finals, and also look at other interesting things that may occur.  Last year, the simulations did a pretty good job predicting who would advance to the semis including having all four teams predicted correctly several times.

Why do these simulations you ask?  The primary reason is that the format for USTA League Nationals is now a flight-less random round-robin where each team plays four other random opponents.  This introduces significant variations in schedule strength, the possibility of an undefeated team not making the top-4, and teams vying for the top-4 perhaps not having played head-to-head and unfortunate tie-breakers being used.  The simulations aim to educate folks on how it all works and look at what may happen.  Also see this write-up for some things to know about Nationals.

Nationals are about to enter the seventh and final weekend of competition, the 40 & Over 6.0 Mixed event being held in Orlando.  Here is what the simulation says is likely to happen.

As a reminder, my simulations are done using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings and looking at the average rating for the top group of players on each team, the actual schedule each team will play, and then doing a million simulations of the matches with some random variation in each team's expected result.

First, there are just 15 teams for this event (NorCal had a team listed previously, but not anymore, and Hawaii is listed as a team, but is not on the schedule) and there is still a 3% chance of five undefeated.  It should be possible to avoid this with just 15 teams.  There is a quite good chance at 23% of four undefeated, still that leaves a good chance of teams at 3-1 vying for the last advancing spot.

That chance is 74%, that there will be a tie for the last spot and it come down to tie-breakers.  That tie is likely at a 3-1 record.  The most likely size of the tie is three at 36%, but four is nearly as likely at 28%, two is still 17%, and a 5-way tie 15%.  The chances of larger ties diminish pretty quickly, but a 10-way tie is theoretically possible, but it appears a multi-way tie is a very high probability and it could be reasonably large.

Should there be a tie on team record, it comes down first to who has the best court record, then head-to-head (if applicable), then to who lost the fewest sets, then who lost the fewest games, and finally percent of games won.  There is a 30% chance it comes down to the sets lost tie-breaker, and there is a 66% chance that is between two teams and a healthy 28% chance it is between three teams,  If the controversial tie-breakers are going to come into play, this is the likely spot.

The schedule strengths do vary a bit, the team with the easiest schedule having an opponent average of 2.91 while the team with the toughest schedule having an opponent average of 3.10  This leads to an easier road for some teams than others, one of the predicted semi-finalists getting there due to an easier schedule.

So who is most likely to come out in the top-4?  New England, CaribbeanMiddle States, and Mid-Atlantic are solid choices, New England the most likely.  PNW and Northern are close, it drops off after that with MoValley and Eastern the ones likely to disrupt things.

For those interested, I offer a variety of reports to make Nationals more fun and help captains prepare.  I have a Simulation Report that has all of the details of the simulation including the average ratings for each team, each team's schedule strength, the most likely record for each team, and the chance of each possible record for each team.  I also offer reports to help teams scout opponents in more detail, both a Flight Report with full roster averages, top-8 averages and played by court averages for each team, as well as full Team Reports with detailed ratings for each rostered player and stats who who plays with who and on which court and how they do together.  Contact me if interested in any of these reports.

Southern California follows Northern California's lead in questionable use of unflighted round-robin

Earlier this year, NorCal used the unflighted round-robin format for district playoffs, and foolishly did so with 22 teams, each only playing three matches.  This was a recipe for disaster, and indeed it happened with five teams finishing undefeated, and only four advancing.  Given that it was possible for eight(!) teams to finish undefeated, it is no surprise this happened.

You would hope the lesson had been learned and this format with a large number of teams and few matches per team would be avoided.  Unfortunately, that isn't the case as SoCal appears to be trying to one-up NorCal by questionably using the format for Tri-Level Sectionals.

Specifically, the 3.0/3.5/4.0 women's draw has 13 teams and a schedule with each team playing only two other teams.  Running through my simulation, two issues are exposed.

First, with this format/schedule, there is a not insignificant chance of six(!) teams to be undefeated, but a full 7% chance of five undefeated.  So it certainly isn't a given it will occur, but it very well could occur that one, if not possibly two, teams go undefeated and aren't in the top-4 to advance to the semis.  This is bad on its own, but is even worse when you throw in that in Tri-Level each team plays just three courts (six courts total across the two matches) so there is very little differentiation possible and it is highly dependent on schedule strength.

Second, the schedule has a 69% chance of a tie for the last spot (at 4-0 or 3-1 or even 2-2).  Again, with so few matches/courts played, there is little differentiation possible and ties on records and courts are very likely and it will go to tie-breakers.

Both of these highlight those tie-breakers and their flaws and could likely lead to the 'wrong' team being picked to advance.  These tie-breakers have issues, especially when so little data is provided to them and are highly subject to strength of schedule which can be wildly different when everyone plays only two matches.

Other events at Tri-Level Sectionals have normal flights so don't have this issue.  It appears the 3.0/3.5/4.0 women are the only event with an odd number of teams that can't be split into even flights so they went this way.  They just needed to have all the teams play three matches to mitigate the risk.

Now, they could get lucky and have no controversial standings or teams advancing, but beware of the inappropriate use of unflighted round-robin!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Weather Report - 2019 USTA League Nationals Week 7 - Orlando

USTA League Nationals for 2019 wrap up this coming weekend November 15-17 in Orlando with all four levels of 40 & Over Mixed being played.

After we had week 3 impacted by rain (3+ inches), week 4 impacted by rain (nearly an inch of rain), and this past weekend being impacted (0.7 inches of rain, but overnight and just a short delay Saturday morning), there has only been one out of four weekends of Nationals in Orlando that has been dry.  So we need to look at the forecast for this weekend.

Unfortunately it isn't good.


A decent chance of rain both Friday and Saturday when the bulk of matches will be played.

Let's hope the forecast improves, but it would be unfortunate if four out of the five Nationals held at the National Campus were affected by rain.

More 2019 USTA League National Champions Crowned - Week 6

Week 6 of USTA League Nationals is complete and with it, the 2019 ratings year is now complete and the USTA will spend the next few weeks calculating year-end ratings.  There is one more weekend of Nationals, but it is just 40 & Over Mixed and so the rating year for Adult is over.

But back on topic, 55 & Over and 18 & Over Mixed both finished up this weekend, so who won?

The 55 & Over 9.0 men and women were in Arizona and for the women, Texas beat PNW 2-1 in one semi and Florida beat Eastern 3-0 in the other, Texas prevailing in the final 2-1.

The 9.0 men had Southern beating Texas 2-1 in one semi while Midwest beat MoValley 3-0 in the other, the final having Midwest win 2-1.

In Orlando, the 18 & Over Mixed 6.0, 8.0, and 10.0 levels were played.  At 6.0, Caribbean beat PNW 2-1 in one semi while Southern beat MoValley 3-0 in the other, with Caribbean taking the final 2-1.

The 8.0 level had Southern beat Hawaii 2-1, while Texas beat Middle States 2-1, the final was also 2-1 in Southern's favor.

Last, at 10.0, Eastern beat Texas 2-1, NorCal beating Intermountain by the same score, and Eastern took the final 3-0.

On to 40 & Over Mixed next weekend in Orlando!

Saturday, November 9, 2019

USTA League Nationals Week 6 Semi-finalists - What tie-breakers had to be used?

Week 6 of the 2019 USTA League Nationals has reached Saturday night, and the 2019 ratings year is nearly over.  But we do have five sets of semi-finalists still to play tomorrow.

In Arizona, the 55 & Over men and women are wrapping up the Adult season with the 9.0 level playing.

The women's semis have three 4-0 teams in Texas, Eastern, and Florida, and there was a 4-way tie at 3-1 for the 4th spot but PNW took it being 9-3 on courts vs the other three being 7-5.  It interesting that of the three teams not advancing all tied at 7-5, the USTA's tie-breakers got in wrong in my opinion as a New England team that was 18-12 on courts is last of the three, behind Mid-Atlantic who was 17-12 on courts, and SoCal who was 15-12.  It seems silly, but the USTA only looks at sets lost, and not sets won (or sets differential) before going on to games lost (which itself is a silly tie-breaker).

The men's semis also has three 4-0 teams in Texas, Midwest, and MoValley, but just a 3-way tie at 3-1 with Southern beating out SoCal, and Southwest for the spot on better court record.

In Orlando, the 18 & Over Mixed is finishing up with the 6.0, 8.0, and 9.0 levels playing.

The 6.0 level has two 4-0 teams in Caribbean and Southern, and then a 3-way tie for two spots at 3-1.  MoValley and PNW had better court records and advanced over Middle States.

The 8.0 level has three 4-0 teams in Southern, Texas, and Middle States, and then a 3-way tie at 3-1 for one spot.  Hawaii got the spot over NorCal both being 9-3 on courts but Hawaii losing fewer sets.

The 10.0 level has two 4-0 teams in Eastern and NorCal, and then a 4-way tie for two spots at 3-1.  Intermountain and Texas were both 8-4 on courts and advanced over New England and Middle States at 7-5 on courts.  Note that I think the USTA's tie-breakers got it wrong on 3rd vs 4th though as Intermountain got the spot losing 10 sets to Texas' 11, but Texas won 19 sets to Intermountain's 16.  This is only seeding in the semis but it could influence who makes the final.  It does mean Texas avoids a rematch with NorCal in the semis though.

Good luck to all the teams!

The 2019 USTA League season is nearly over, what is your rating?

This weekend is the last weekend that has Adult Nationals with the 55 & Over being wrapped up in Arizona.  While 40 & Over Mixed is still to be played next weekend, the completion of Adult Nationals means the rating year for 2019 closes on November 10th.

With the closing of the rating year, the USTA will now go about calculating year-end ratings which are typically published the week after Thanksgiving.  I'd guess the target date to publish the ratings is Monday December 2nd.

While that is just over 3 weeks away as I write this, not really all that long to wait, some players are impatient and want to get an idea of where they stand and the chances of a bump up or down, or just like to know more details about how their matches rated.  For these players, I continue to offer my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating Reports that, while not perfect, give a very good idea of where a player's rating stands.

Want to know where a whole team stands?  Or are you a captain looking to do some recruiting?  I offers reports for these situations too.

If you are interested in any report, contact me and I'll provide more details.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Simulating 2019 USTA League Nationals - 18 & Over 10.0 Mixed

As I did last year, I will be doing simulations of each Nationals to predict who the most likely four teams are to make the semi-finals, and also look at other interesting things that may occur.  Last year, the simulations did a pretty good job predicting who would advance to the semis including having all four teams predicted correctly several times.

Why do these simulations you ask?  The primary reason is that the format for USTA League Nationals is now a flight-less random round-robin where each team plays four other random opponents.  This introduces significant variations in schedule strength, the possibility of an undefeated team not making the top-4, and teams vying for the top-4 perhaps not having played head-to-head and unfortunate tie-breakers being used.  The simulations aim to educate folks on how it all works and look at what may happen.  Also see this write-up for some things to know about Nationals.

Nationals are approaching the sixth weekend of competition, the 18 & Over 10.0 Mixed event being held in Orlando.  Here is what the simulation says is likely to happen.

As a reminder, my simulations are done using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings and looking at the average rating for the top group of players on each team, the actual schedule each team will play, and then doing a million simulations of the matches with some random variation in each team's expected result.

First, there are just 13 teams for this event and but remarkably the USTA still found a way to have a schedule where there is a 3% chance of five undefeated.  This should be easy to avoid with just 13 teams but they didn't.  There is a quite good chance at 18% of four undefeated, still that leaves a good chance of teams at 3-1 vying for the last advancing spot.

That chance is 75%, that there will be a tie for the last spot and it come down to tie-breakers.  That tie is likely at a 3-1 record.  The most likely size of the tie is three at 32%, but two is nearly as likely at 27%, four is still 22%, and a 5-way tie 15%.  The chances of larger ties diminish pretty quickly, but a 9-way tie is theoretically possible, but it appears a multi-way tie is a very high probability and it could be reasonably large.

Should there be a tie on team record, it comes down first to who has the best court record, then head-to-head (if applicable), then to who lost the fewest sets, then who lost the fewest games, and finally percent of games won.  There is a 30% chance it comes down to the sets lost tie-breaker, and there is a 67% chance that is between two teams and a healthy 27% chance it is between three teams,  If the controversial tie-breakers are going to come into play, this is the likely spot.

The schedule strengths do vary a lot, the team with the easiest schedule having an opponent average of 4.61 while the team with the toughest schedule having an opponent average of 4.92.  This leads to an easier road for some teams than others, one of the predicted semi-finalists getting there due to an easier schedule.

So who is most likely to come out in the top-4?  Intermountain, Middle StatesEastern, and Mid-Atlantic are solid choices, Intermountain the most likely.  NorCal, is really close, it drops off after that with Texas and SoCal the ones likely to disrupt things.

For those interested, I offer a variety of reports to make Nationals more fun and help captains prepare.  I have a Simulation Report that has all of the details of the simulation including the average ratings for each team, each team's schedule strength, the most likely record for each team, and the chance of each possible record for each team.  I also offer reports to help teams scout opponents in more detail, both a Flight Report with full roster averages, top-8 averages and played by court averages for each team, as well as full Team Reports with detailed ratings for each rostered player and stats who who plays with who and on which court and how they do together.  Contact me if interested in any of these reports.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Simulating 2019 USTA League Nationals - 18 & Over 8.0 Mixed

As I did last year, I will be doing simulations of each Nationals to predict who the most likely four teams are to make the semi-finals, and also look at other interesting things that may occur.  Last year, the simulations did a pretty good job predicting who would advance to the semis including having all four teams predicted correctly several times.

Why do these simulations you ask?  The primary reason is that the format for USTA League Nationals is now a flight-less random round-robin where each team plays four other random opponents.  This introduces significant variations in schedule strength, the possibility of an undefeated team not making the top-4, and teams vying for the top-4 perhaps not having played head-to-head and unfortunate tie-breakers being used.  The simulations aim to educate folks on how it all works and look at what may happen.  Also see this write-up for some things to know about Nationals.

Nationals are approaching the sixth weekend of competition, the 18 & Over 8.0 Mixed event being held in Orlando.  Here is what the simulation says is likely to happen.

As a reminder, my simulations are done using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings and looking at the average rating for the top group of players on each team, the actual schedule each team will play, and then doing a million simulations of the matches with some random variation in each team's expected result.

First, the schedule with 17 teams will nearly always allow for five teams to be undefeated and one sent home (0.01% chance).  Four undefeated would be a nice and tidy result with no drama, but there is just an 8% chance of that so we are more than likely to have some tie-break scenarios with a 35% chance of three undefeated.

That leaves a very good chance, 90%, that there will be a tie for the last spot and it come down to tie-breakers.  That tie is likely at a 3-1 record.  The most likely size of the tie is four at 28%, but three is nearly as likely at 24%, five is still 21%, and a 2-way tie just 10%, 6-way 11%.  The chances of larger ties diminish pretty quickly, but an 11-way tie is theoretically possible, but it appears a multi-way tie is a very high probability and it could be reasonably large.

Should there be a tie on team record, it comes down first to who has the best court record, then head-to-head (if applicable), then to who lost the fewest sets, then who lost the fewest games, and finally percent of games won.  There is a 42% chance it comes down to the sets lost tie-breaker, and there is a 51% chance that is between two teams and a healthy 36% chance it is between three teams,  If the controversial tie-breakers are going to come into play, this is the likely spot.

The schedule strengths do vary a lot, the team with the easiest schedule having an opponent average of 4.04 while the team with the toughest schedule having an opponent average of 4.25.  This leads to an easier road for some teams than others, one of the predicted semi-finalists getting there due to an easier schedule.

So who is most likely to come out in the top-4?  Mid-Atlantic, Middle StatesEastern, and Hawaii are solid choices, Mid-Atlantic the most likely.  Southwest, is close, with NorCal, and Florida lurking.

For those interested, I offer a variety of reports to make Nationals more fun and help captains prepare.  I have a Simulation Report that has all of the details of the simulation including the average ratings for each team, each team's schedule strength, the most likely record for each team, and the chance of each possible record for each team.  I also offer reports to help teams scout opponents in more detail, both a Flight Report with full roster averages, top-8 averages and played by court averages for each team, as well as full Team Reports with detailed ratings for each rostered player and stats who who plays with who and on which court and how they do together.  Contact me if interested in any of these reports.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

More 2019 USTA League National Champions Crowned - Week 5

Week 5 of USTA League Nationals is complete and we have four more champions.

The 55 & Over division continued with the 8.0 men and women playing in Arizona and with nice dry conditions the event went off without a hitch.

The women saw Florida beat SoCal in one semi and Midwest beat Mid-Atlantic in the other both by 3-0 scores, and then Midwest took the final 2-1.

The men's semis had Mid-Atlantic beating Florida 3-0, and Texas beating Intermountain 2-1, Texas winning by final 3-0.

18 & Over Mixed got started this weekend with the 7.0 and 9.0 levels playing in Orlando.  The chance of rain didn't transpire, at least in any significant way thankfully.

The 7.0 semis had Florida beating Northern 2-1 and Southern beating Hawaii also 2-1.  In the final Florida prevailed over Southern 2-1.

At 9.0, PNW beat Mid-Atlantic in the first semi and NorCal beat Northern in the second, both 3-0 scores.  In the final, NorCal beat PNW 3-0.

Nationals are not done, we still have 55 & Over events wrapping up next weekend and Mixed continues.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

USTA League Nationals Week 5 Semi-finalists - What tie-breakers had to be used?

Week 5 of USTA League Nationals has gotten to Saturday night and that means we have semi-finalists.

In Arizona, the 55 & Over 8.0 men and women are playing and the women's semis has Southern California, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest as undefeated teams, and Florida as the best 3-1 team having the best record on courts beating out four other teams.

The men in Arizona have Florida, Intermountain, and Texas as undefeated semi-finalists, and they are joined by Mid-Atlantic who beat out three other 3-1 teams by having the best courts record at 9-3.

18 & Over Mixed is being played in Orlando and the 7.0 level has four undefeated teams in Florida, Hawaii, Southern, and Northern, Northern with an 8-4 record on courts, they won every match 2-1, while Intermountain only lost two courts going 10-2, but those two lost courts were in the same match and they were 3-1.

The 9.0 level has Mid-Atlantic, Northern, and Northern California as 4-0 teams plus Pacific Northwest advanced as the 4th team over SoCal with both 3-1 and 9-3 on courts, but PNW losing two fewer sets.

Good luck to the teams on Sunday.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Simulating 2019 USTA League Nationals - 55 & Over 8.0 Women

As I did last year, I will be doing simulations of each Nationals to predict who the most likely four teams are to make the semi-finals, and also look at other interesting things that may occur.  Last year, the simulations did a pretty good job predicting who would advance to the semis including having all four teams predicted correctly several times.

Why do these simulations you ask?  The primary reason is that the format for USTA League Nationals is now a flight-less random round-robin where each team plays four other random opponents.  This introduces significant variations in schedule strength, the possibility of an undefeated team not making the top-4, and teams vying for the top-4 perhaps not having played head-to-head and unfortunate tie-breakers being used.  The simulations aim to educate folks on how it all works and look at what may happen.  Also see this write-up for some things to know about Nationals.

Nationals are approaching the fifth weekend of competition, the 55 & Over 8.0 women's event being held in Arizona.  Here is what the simulation says is likely to happen.

As a reminder, my simulations are done using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings and looking at the average rating for the top group of players on each team, the actual schedule each team will play, and then doing a million simulations of the matches with some random variation in each team's expected result.

First, the schedule with 17 teams will nearly always allow for five teams to be undefeated and one sent home (<1% chance), but four undefeated would be a nice and tidy result with no drama, but there is just a 2% chance of that so we are more than likely to have some tie-break scenarios with only a 14% chance of three undefeated.

That leaves a very good chance, 97%, that there will be a tie for the last spot and it come down to tie-breakers.  That tie is likely at a 3-1 record.  The most likely size of the tie is four at 27%, but five is nearly as likely at 24%, six is still 20%, and a 3-way tie just 14%.  The chances of larger ties diminish pretty quickly, but an 11-way tie is theoretically possible, but it appears a multi-way tie is a very high probability and it could be reasonably large.

Should there be a tie on team record, it comes down first to who has the best court record, then head-to-head (if applicable), then to who lost the fewest sets, then who lost the fewest games, and finally percent of games won.  There is a 51% chance it comes down to the sets lost tie-breaker, and there is a 37% chance that is between two teams and a healthy 40% chance it is between three teams,  If the controversial tie-breakers are going to come into play, this is the likely spot.

The schedule strengths are moderately close, resulting in the high likelihood of ties, the team with the easiest schedule having an opponent average of 3.93 while the team with the toughest schedule having an opponent average of 4.06.  This leads to an easier road for some teams than others, one of the predicted semi-finalists getting there due to an easier schedule.

So who is most likely to come out in the top-4?  Middle States, New EnglandHawaii, and SoCal are solid choices, Middle States the most likely.  Florida is in a virtual tie for fourth most likely, and NorCalMoValley, Southwest and Southern will step in if someone slips up.

For those interested, I offer a variety of reports to make Nationals more fun and help captains prepare.  I have a Simulation Report that has all of the details of the simulation including the average ratings for each team, each team's schedule strength, the most likely record for each team, and the chance of each possible record for each team.  I also offer reports to help teams scout opponents in more detail, both a Flight Report with full roster averages, top-8 averages and played by court averages for each team, as well as full Team Reports with detailed ratings for each rostered player and stats who who plays with who and on which court and how they do together.  Contact me if interested in any of these reports.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Simulating 2019 USTA League Nationals - 18 & Over 9.0 Mixed

As I did last year, I will be doing simulations of each Nationals to predict who the most likely four teams are to make the semi-finals, and also look at other interesting things that may occur.  Last year, the simulations did a pretty good job predicting who would advance to the semis including having all four teams predicted correctly several times.

Why do these simulations you ask?  The primary reason is that the format for USTA League Nationals is now a flight-less random round-robin where each team plays four other random opponents.  This introduces significant variations in schedule strength, the possibility of an undefeated team not making the top-4, and teams vying for the top-4 perhaps not having played head-to-head and unfortunate tie-breakers being used.  The simulations aim to educate folks on how it all works and look at what may happen.  Also see this write-up for some things to know about Nationals.

Nationals are approaching the fifth weekend of competition, the 18 & Over 9.0 Mixed event being held in Orlando.  Here is what the simulation says is likely to happen.

As a reminder, my simulations are done using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings and looking at the average rating for the top group of players on each team, the actual schedule each team will play, and then doing a million simulations of the matches with some random variation in each team's expected result.

First, the schedule with 17 teams will nearly always allow for five teams to be undefeated and one sent home (2% chance), but while a schedule can be done that precludes it, it is possible there could be six undefeated, although very unlikely with about 500 of the million simulations ending that way.  Four undefeated would be a nice and tidy result with no drama, but there is just a 19% chance of that so we are more than likely to have some tie-break scenarios with a 41% chance of three undefeated.

That leaves a pretty good chance, 79%, that there will be a tie for the last spot and it come down to tie-breakers.  That tie is likely at a 3-1 record.  The most likely size of the tie is four at 28%, but three is nearly as likely at 26%, five is still 22%, and a 2-way tie just 11%, 6-way 9%.  The chances of larger ties diminish pretty quickly, but an 11-way tie is theoretically possible, but it appears a multi-way tie is a very high probability and it could be reasonably large.

Should there be a tie on team record, it comes down first to who has the best court record, then head-to-head (if applicable), then to who lost the fewest sets, then who lost the fewest games, and finally percent of games won.  There is a 32% chance it comes down to the sets lost tie-breaker, and there is a 59% chance that is between two teams and a healthy 32% chance it is between three teams,  If the controversial tie-breakers are going to come into play, this is the likely spot.

The schedule strengths do vary a lot, the team with the easiest schedule having an opponent average of 4.42 while the team with the toughest schedule having an opponent average of 4.63.  This leads to an easier road for some teams than others, one of the predicted semi-finalists getting there due to an easier schedule.

So who is most likely to come out in the top-4?  NorCal, NorthernSoCal, and Eastern are solid choices, NorCal the most likely.  PNW, TexasMid-Atlantic, and Florida will step in if someone slips up.

For those interested, I offer a variety of reports to make Nationals more fun and help captains prepare.  I have a Simulation Report that has all of the details of the simulation including the average ratings for each team, each team's schedule strength, the most likely record for each team, and the chance of each possible record for each team.  I also offer reports to help teams scout opponents in more detail, both a Flight Report with full roster averages, top-8 averages and played by court averages for each team, as well as full Team Reports with detailed ratings for each rostered player and stats who who plays with who and on which court and how they do together.  Contact me if interested in any of these reports.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

What is on tap for week 5 of USTA League Nationals? More 55 & Over and Mixed gets going, what about the weather?

Week 4 of USTA League Nationals is complete, so it is time to look forward to week 5 and what we can expect.

The first 55 & Over event was just completed this weekend, and that division continues with the men and women at the 8.0 level playing in Surprise, AZ.

With 18 & Over and 40 & Over complete, it is now time for Mixed to get going and it starts with the 18 & Over 7.0 and 9.0 levels playing in Orlando.

We are still over 4 days away from play commencing, but we do need to take a look at the weather forecast given the weather issues this weekend and last weekend.

Arizona's forecast calls for sun all three days and upper 70s to lower 80s.  No chance of rain shown on either side of the weekend either so this looks great for the 55 & Over players headed there.

Orlando's forecast calls for isolated thunderstorms on Friday, a 40% chance of afternoon showers on Saturday, and mostly cloudy on Sunday.  This forecast is not dissimilar to the forecast for this weekend a week ago, so let's hope it rain and delays don't happen again.

More 2019 USTA League National Champions Crowned - Week 4 - A 7-way tie!

Week 4 of USTA League Nationals is complete and we have four more champions.

The 55 & Over 7.0 men and women played in Arizona and with nice dry conditions the event went off without a hitch.

The women saw NorCal beat Southern in one semi and Hawaii beat Texas in the other both by 2-1 scores, and then NorCal took the final 3-0.

The men's semis had SoCal beat Southern 2-1, and Northern beat Florida also 2-1, Northern winning by final by the same score.

The 40 & Over 4.5+ men and women was played in Orlando at the National Campus, and unfortunately for the second time in the two weeks the site has been used, there was rain that disrupted matches, this time forcing a short format on Saturday resulting in the majority of round-robin matches using no-ad and starting all sets at 2-2, so first to four sets, and some very late finishes Saturday night.

And for the women, those late finishes had meaning as there was a 7-way tie for 2nd thru 8th at 3-1 to determine the last three teams to advance.  When it was all decided, Eastern had beaten PNW 3-2 and Midwest beat Southern 4-1, and Midwest won the final 3-2.

The men had just 16 teams so fewer matches to get in and didn't finish as late but still had a 5-way tie for 3rd thru 7th, and when all was said and done, Southern beat Texas 4-1, PNW beat Mid-Atlantic 3-2, and Southern won the final 3-2.

Nationals are not done, we still have 55 & Over events and Mixed will get started this coming weekend.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

USTA League Nationals Week 4 Semi-finalists - What tie-breakers had to be used? 7-way tie for 2nd!

Week 4 of USTA League Nationals has completed the round-robin, despite some delays due to rain and shortened format matches for the 40 & Over 4.5 men and women in Orlando, and we have four sets of semi-finalists.

In Orlando, the women's semi-finalists are Eastern, who was 4-0, then Midwest, Southern, and Pacific Northwest all at 3-1 who had to beat out four other teams in a 7-way tie for 2nd.  Florida was tied with PNW at 3-1 / 12-8 and they each had lost 18 sets as well.  So despite PNW winning one more set (29 to 28, the USTA does not look at sets won or sets differential), it went to games lost and PNW had a big lead there, so thankfully deservedly got the spot.  But there were three more teams with 11-9 court records, so it was really close.  The simulation had two of the four semi-finalists predicted, and a third semi-finalists was mentioned as lurking.

The men 4.5+ semi-finalists are Southern and Pacific Northwest, both undefeated, joined by Mid-Atlantic and Texas both 3-1.  Three others were 3-1, but at least two courts worse than Texas so no strange tie-breakers.  My simulation did predict three of the four semi-finalists.

The 55 & Over 7.0 in Arizona had no weather issues and completed play without any drama or shortened formats.

The women's semi-finalists are NorCal and Hawaii, both 4-0, joined by Texas and Southern.  SoCal was tied with Southern at 7-5 on courts, but Southern had won head-to-head so they got the spot despite SoCal losing fewer sets and winning more sets!  And losing fewer games and winning more games too!  I have no argument with this tie-breaker, it is just remarkable that Southern won just the right courts to pull it off while SoCal won their other matches a lot easier.

The men's semi-finalists are SoCal, Florida, and Northern, all 4-0, and Southern got the last spot being one court better than Texas.

Good luck to all the teams on Sunday!

Weather update 3: Week 4 of Nationals in Orlando

As we arrive at Saturday morning, word is that in Orlando where the 40 & Over 4.5+ Nationals are being played, they did not complete Friday's matches and will be playing catch-up today.  And with more rain forecast late in the day, it appears they will be forced to change matches to a short format to have hope of getting them in.

If TennisLink is up to date, it appears the women's 3:00 and 4:30 matches from yesterday (four total), and men's matches in the same time-slots also remain (seven total).  To make matters a bit worse, it appears they can't get started until 9:00 am today.  Here is the schedule:

  • Friday 3pm matches will now be at 9am
  • Friday 4:30pm matches will now be at 10am
  • Updated Saturday Schedule:
  • Saturday 7:30am matches are now at 11am
  • Saturday 9:30am matches are now at noon
  • Saturday 11am matches are now at 1 pm
  • Saturday 1pm matches are now at 2 pm
  • Saturday 3pm matches will remain at 3pm
  • Saturday 4:30pm matches are now at 4pm

Astute readers will note they only have hour slots for these matches, so yes, a short format will be used.  They will play 2 out of 3 short sets, first to four games, win by two, no ad. At 4 games all, they will play a seven point tie break. If you split sets, you will play a match tiebreak to 10 points.  This is effectively normal format, but with no-ad and played as if you are starting at 2-2 each set.

Now, the challenge is that the forecast calls for rain to come back starting around 3pm.


If the rain comes at 3pm, and assuming matches are done quickly enough to stay on schedule, that still leaves 10 matches currently scheduled to be played that may be affected.  That is 50 court hours needed and even if they can get the courts dry at 8pm, and also use the limited indoor courts, it could be a late night to get everything in.

Now, credit to the USTA for communicating with the players and doing what they reasonably can do adapt to a challenging situation.  They are also helped a bit by the men's event having just 16 teams, otherwise they'd have a few more matches they'd have to be getting in.

Let's hope it goes as well as it can and the format doesn't have to be shortened any further.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Weather update 2: Week 4 of USTA League Nationals in Orlando

The weather report yesterday wasn't promising, and it turns out it rained quite a bit in Orlando today and has disrupted play significantly.

As I understand it, at least some 11am matches have not been completed yet as of 6pm, but they are hoping to get them complete or back in progress by 7pm.  Then:

  • 1pm matches plan to go on at 7:00 pm
  • 3:00 pm matches at 9:00 pm
  • 4:30pm matches at 10:30 pm

The handful of indoor courts will be used at 7:00 pm but they hope to be playing outdoors as well.

Word is they will try to get back on schedule and play tomorrow's matches as planned, but there is a 50% chance of Thunderstorms again.

Update: Friday's matches were not completed, short-format on Saturday.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Weather update: Week 4 of Nationals in Orlando

When I did the start of the week weather check, weather was great in Arizona and some possibility of rain in Orlando.

As of Thursday night, the forecast still calls for a decent chance of rain.  With a 40-50% chance of thunderstorms every day, it looks like there is a good chance play gets interrupted.  Hopefully it will be better than the forecast or the interruptions be brief.



Simulating 2019 USTA League Nationals - 40 & Over 4.5+ Women

As I did last year, I will be doing simulations of each Nationals to predict who the most likely four teams are to make the semi-finals, and also look at other interesting things that may occur.  Last year, the simulations did a pretty good job predicting who would advance to the semis including having all four teams predicted correctly several times.

Why do these simulations you ask?  The primary reason is that the format for USTA League Nationals is now a flight-less random round-robin where each team plays four other random opponents.  This introduces significant variations in schedule strength, the possibility of an undefeated team not making the top-4, and teams vying for the top-4 perhaps not having played head-to-head and unfortunate tie-breakers being used.  The simulations aim to educate folks on how it all works and look at what may happen.  Also see this write-up for some things to know about Nationals.

Nationals are approaching the third weekend of competition, the 40 & Over 4.5+ women's event being held in Orlando.  Here is what the simulation says is likely to happen.

As a reminder, my simulations are done using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings and looking at the average rating for the top group of players on each team, the actual schedule each team will play, and then doing a million simulations of the matches with some random variation in each team's expected result.

First, with 17 teams playing a random four opponents and there will always be scenarios where five teams are undefeated, but less than 1% of them.  Six is even possible but extremely unlikely.  Four undefeated would be a nice and tidy result with no drama, but there is just a 22% chance of that so we are more than likely to have some tie-break scenarios with a 42% chance of three undefeated.

That leaves a very good chance, 76%, that there will be a tie for the last spot and it come down to tie-breakers.  That tie is likely at a 3-1 record.  The most likely size of the tie is a three or four at 31%, but three has a 27% chance, five 21%, and two 10%.  The chances of larger ties diminish pretty quickly, but an 11-way tie is theoretically possible, but it appears a multi-way tie is a very high probability and it could be reasonably large.

Should there be a tie on team record, it comes down first to who has the best court record, then head-to-head (if applicable), then to who lost the fewest sets, then who lost the fewest games, and finally percent of games won.  There is a 20% chance it comes down to the sets lost tie-breaker, and there is a 75% chance that is between two teams and a 22% chance it is between three teams,  If the controversial tie-breakers are going to come into play, this is the likely spot.

The schedule strengths do vary a bit, the team with the easiest schedule having an opponent average of 4.46 while the team with the toughest schedule having an opponent average of 4.58.  This leads to an easier road for some teams than others, one of the predicted semi-finalists getting there due to an easier schedule.

So who is most likely to come out in the top-4?  Florida, Intermountain, Eastern, and Southern, Florida the most likely.  Several others are in a group waiting for one of those to slip up including Middle States, Northern, and Midwest.

For those interested, I offer a variety of reports to make Nationals more fun and help captains prepare.  I have a Simulation Report that has all of the details of the simulation including the average ratings for each team, each team's schedule strength, the most likely record for each team, and the chance of each possible record for each team.  I also offer reports to help teams scout opponents in more detail, both a Flight Report with full roster averages, top-8 averages and played by court averages for each team, as well as full Team Reports with detailed ratings for each rostered player and stats who who plays with who and on which court and how they do together.  Contact me if interested in any of these reports.