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dizzlmcwizzl 07-14-2013 04:40 PM

Ratings Management Gone Awry
 
How should I feel about this .... I won a doubles match today where it was obvious to me they were trying to massage their ratings for fear of the DQ
.... I did think they wanted to win, but wanted to do so while keeping it close. It just so happens we lucked out. STORY BELOW:

__________________________________________________ _____________

Today I was finishing a postponed match from earlier in the year. We needed to win to make the playoffs ... they were in the playoffs but needed to win to secure a first round bye.

I was playing third doubles against two very strong players. One has been a 5.0 after winning Nationals as a 4.5 two years ago and is now a 4.5 A (appealed) and the other is a 4.5 that went 17-2 last year and is undefeated this year. TlS has them rated at 4.60 and 4.65 respectively.

I am a new 4.5 and my partner today was an aging, low 4.5. TLS has us rated at 4.17 and 4.00 respectively. BY my estimation they should have beaten us 6-1, 6-1 or worse.

First Set ... they serve first and hold a deuce game. I serve next and although the serve is the only part of my game that can be considered at the 4.5 level .... they break me very easily. 4 First serves in ... does not matter, we lose at love. They hold and are up 3-0. In my partners service game they play two out balls. On the second one ... we ask "That was out?" .... they shrug as if to say it really does not matter and then say "Uh, we must have missed it". Set proceeds along. They hold each of their games easily .... on or serves the opponents were just going for broke ... big swings, ending the point either way. They win first set 6-3.

At this point I am really perturbed .... I really felt like they wanted to break us early in the set and coast to the win. I wanted to win, but I knew it should not this close and that they were just toying with us.

Second Set: Everybody holds and it is 3-3 ... At this point I feel like they are at least trying and they were getting a frustrated that they had not broken us yet. We were going for broke on every service game, and had a very high first serve percentage. However, they could tell we were putting everything we had out there and they clearly were not ... a caught a couple shared smiles after we would run down a shot and lob into the sun that they missed.

Now this is where it gets interesting. At 3-3 we break them. It is our only break of the day and it is a lucky break. I hit two backhands down the line when the guy was poaching ... my partner hits a cross court return that clips the tape and dribbles over. At love-40 the server doubles ... both serves just back. Everybody holds out and we win the second set 6-4.

After we broke my opponent starts talking to the neighboring courts asking them what their scores were etc. Also, I hear them discussing at length about the 3rd set possibilities and wondering out load what the rule was about playing a MTB. I knew the rule and kept quiet until we got there.

Once we won the 2nd set, I calmly walked up and said ... "boys we are playing a breaker". They immediately wanted to talk to their captain, to check the rule.

We play the MTB .... We serve big, and continue to get the balls in. We win a couple clutch points with frame shots. At one point I chase down a lob over my head and throw a lob of my own into the sun, which the other guy misses.

We win, we win, good guys win.

Furthermore, we win the match outright .... we are in the playoffs ... they lose the first seed. Our reward for winning this match .... we get to play them again net week where I am sure we will not be getting any gifts.

josofo 07-14-2013 04:51 PM

i suspect you are over thinking it.

dizzlmcwizzl 07-14-2013 04:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by josofo (Post 7590720)
i only suspect you are over thinking it.

That would not be the first time that has happened ... but there is no way we should have even been competitive in this match, let alone win it.

J_R_B 07-14-2013 05:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dizzlmcwizzl (Post 7590732)
That would not be the first time that has happened ... but there is no way we should have even been competitive in this match, let alone win it.

Regardless of whether they were soft playing the first set to avoid a blowout or not, they certainly weren't throwing the second, so I think that's a bit of a red herring in the discussion. It sounds like you took advantage of a couple lucky breaks and an off day. It happens. Nice job on a quality win.

dizzlmcwizzl 07-14-2013 06:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by J_R_B (Post 7590743)
Regardless of whether they were soft playing the first set to avoid a blowout or not, they certainly weren't throwing the second, so I think that's a bit of a red herring in the discussion. It sounds like you took advantage of a couple lucky breaks and an off day. It happens. Nice job on a quality win.

Thanks, but what sux is that this win is against the best opponents I have ever faced in league tennis and it feels hollow.

Sumo 07-14-2013 06:55 PM

I don't think it should feel hollow. Like JRB said, they weren't messing around in the 2nd set, and for sure weren't in the TB. They were trying in the two sets that mattered, and you won both of them.

Who cares what happened in the 1st.

dcdoorknob 07-14-2013 07:15 PM

From the description its hard to tell if it was actually ratings management, or just flat out arrogance and complacency on the part of your opponents, which could have nothing at all to do with them thinking about their ratings.

Still, it's a nice win, and I'd savor it regardless. Upsets like that are fun.

dizzlmcwizzl 07-15-2013 04:49 AM

There was not a single incident where I would point to and say ... AHAA they are giving away points. It was subtle things ....

For example ... in my first service game they returned the ball cross court, hit a couple volleys and eventually we made a mistake and they broke me easily. After the first service game they started hitting out on every serve, often down the line. They were attempting to win the point with one swing ... sometimes it worked, often they missed.

For two former college players and recent 5.0's this seemed like very poor strategy unless you wanted to have some fun while keeping it close.

J_R_B 07-15-2013 05:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dizzlmcwizzl (Post 7590828)
Thanks, but what sux is that this win is against the best opponents I have ever faced in league tennis and it feels hollow.

I don't think it should feel hollow. By the time they got into a close match in the second set, they were playing for real and that's when you beat them. Maybe they had an off day, but they still certainly weren't trying to throw the match and cost their team a bye.

Philly districts was this past weekend. We won 4.0 pretty easily. The competition level at 4.0 was way down this year. 4.5 was insane, though. The #1 singles player on the team that won (I guess I should say the top singles player, I don't know if he was playing #1 or not) was this kid named Tyler who hit winners off both sides from absolutely everywhere on the court. He won his match 1 & 0, and it really wasn't even that close. He was a treat to watch.

dizzlmcwizzl 07-15-2013 08:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by J_R_B (Post 7591513)
Philly districts was this past weekend. We won 4.0 pretty easily. The competition level at 4.0 was way down this year. 4.5 was insane, though. The #1 singles player on the team that won (I guess I should say the top singles player, I don't know if he was playing #1 or not) was this kid named Tyler who hit winners off both sides from absolutely everywhere on the court. He won his match 1 & 0, and it really wasn't even that close. He was a treat to watch.

Your 4.0 team is very good and should not have had a problem in districts ... Congrats.

I wish you well however, I cannot root for your success at sectionals because you have a couple of blatant cheaters on the roster. Even though this squad is under different management, the cancerous lesions persist and cannot be ignored.

J_R_B 07-15-2013 08:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dizzlmcwizzl (Post 7591919)
Your 4.0 team is very good and should not have had a problem in districts ... Congrats.

I wish you well however, I cannot root for your success at sectionals because you have a couple of blatant cheaters on the roster. Even though this squad is under different management, the cancerous lesions persist and cannot be ignored.

LOL. Honestly, I hope to be playing for my own team at sectionals, not the Philly team anyway. NJ districts is in 2 weeks, although the competition in NJ is miles ahead of what we saw in Philly, so we're far from a shoo-in up here.

ian2 07-15-2013 02:36 PM

Doesn't sound like an attempt to manage ratings. They might have been off their games that day, or didn't try too hard given that for them it was a fairly meaningless match. Or you might have been on fire or a bad match-up for them. You had a good win... enjoy it :-)

dizzlmcwizzl 07-15-2013 04:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ian2 (Post 7592681)
Doesn't sound like an attempt to manage ratings. They might have been off their games that day, or didn't try too hard given that for them it was a fairly meaningless match. Or you might have been on fire or a bad match-up for them. You had a good win... enjoy it :-)

I would like to believe all of those things ... however, both of these guys are WAY better than me and I am way better than my partner.

Also the 4.5 A guy is in danger of getting DQ'd ... and playoffs start soon.

Cindysphinx 07-15-2013 06:12 PM

Hollow? No way.

You got them to tighten up. It's happened to all of us at some point. We think we will win easily, and suddenly we can't hit out and we lose to what appears to be a weaker team.

Enjoy it, man!

sam_p 07-15-2013 08:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 7593025)
Hollow? No way.

You got them to tighten up. It's happened to all of us at some point. We think we will win easily, and suddenly we can't hit out and we lose to what appears to be a weaker team.

Enjoy it, man!

Indeed, this almost happened to me last Friday. My partner and I played a 4.5 team that seemed OK in the warmup but with little USTA experience (both 4.5S players with a single match each). When the match started we ran away with the first set 6-1 and then in the second set just traded games for a while. At a certain point we started to make silly errors and got a little tight. Won the second set in a TB but it should have been much easier. Had the stars aligned differently we could have dropped that second set and then who knows in a match TB...


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