First USTA 8.0 match of the year

dsp9753

Semi-Pro
I was bumped to 4.5 this year and just played my first 8.0 match. My partner (female, all black clothing) and I (male, all black clothing) played 7.0 together last year. The opposing team was also a 4.5 guy and 3.5 pair. I have played the 4.5 guy multiple times over the years and he is probably the most consistent/defensive player I have ever played. When he played 4.0 he won a vast majority (75%) of his matches in both doubles and singles.

We started off a little tight and nervous but we relaxed and started to get in our groove. Our opponents were not aggressive and hard hitting. I was just trying to be consistent and attack once I had an easy ball. The key for me was not to be overly aggressive (I usually hit harder) and keep my errors down. I was trying to hit a lot of my balls around the opposing 3.5 lady to either get an easy error or hoping she would give up an easy ball we could put away. It worked most of time. Around 18:15 I accidentally ripped a ball really hard at her and she barely ducked out of the way. She called the ball out and we had a little mini pow wow to figure it out. I think it went by her so quickly that she didnt see the ball bounce and only saw the 2nd bounce so she called it out.

Started off down 2-4 the first set but came back to win it 6-4. We then won the 2nd set 6-1. I posted the video because I thought some people might find it interested and/or fun to watch a USTA 8.0 match.

 

jmnk

Hall of Fame
Can someone explain to me why any 4.5 rated man would play mixed doubles where the opposite pair is 4.5m + 3.5w? Which means that one player on the opposite team is 3, literally three levels below the said player? I mean what is the appeal here? What is there to learn /enjoy from such competition?
I sincerely ask, nothing against folks in the OP post, just in general, why anyone would enjoy such a thing?
 

dsp9753

Semi-Pro
Can someone explain to me why any 4.5 rated man would play mixed doubles where the opposite pair is 4.5m + 3.5w? Which means that one player on the opposite team is 3, literally three levels below the said player? I mean what is the appeal here? What is there to learn /enjoy from such competition?
I sincerely ask, nothing against folks in the OP post, just in general, why anyone would enjoy such a thing?
I think for men, mixed falls into two categories, for fun/social and/or trying to get to nationals etc. If you are a 4.5, there aren't that many leagues to play. I could just not play mixed and sit at home or I can just go out and play. You will probably also find that learning how to win at mixed will elevate your game as a whole. It requires you to move faster, be more consistent, be smarter, not make stupid mistakes, etc. Also, just playing more often helps keep my skills up as well.
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
I know, I know. Video, etc. Rating police. Inflated TTW egos. I get it. But I just can't take it. I just can't handle the orange shirt guy being a 4.5. Sorry.
Something to be said for consistency and hitting the ball in the court ... Doesn't have to be pretty.

Player appears to have been bumped up to 4.5 at the end of 2018 and played 4.5 last year with a 0.382 winning percentage.
 

pennc94

Professional
I think for men, mixed falls into two categories, for fun/social and/or trying to get to nationals etc. If you are a 4.5, there aren't that many leagues to play. I could just not play mixed and sit at home or I can just go out and play. You will probably also find that learning how to win at mixed will elevate your game as a whole. It requires you to move faster, be more consistent, be smarter, not make stupid mistakes, etc. Also, just playing more often helps keep my skills up as well.
Well said. I’m a 4.5 male and I think 8.0 mixed allows me to work on being aggressive and deal with pressure points. You cannot lose your serve and you must win your return points.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

jmnk

Hall of Fame
I'm going to argue.
If you play such mixed due to social reasons - all good, but that means you don't really care about winning. So you hit differently to 3.5w so she has some fun, and there's nothing wrong with that indeed.
But if you play such mixed to get to some national level you do care about winning. In that case your best bet is to hit every single ball to 3.5w, no matter your or her position.
That is hardly a learning experience.
And to take every ball on your side - meaning the best option is to ask your 3.5w partner to just stand outside the lines after she hits a mandatory return or serve. Where's the fun in that for anyone?
 

dsp9753

Semi-Pro
I'm going to argue.
If you play such mixed due to social reasons - all good, but that means you don't really care about winning. So you hit differently to 3.5w so she has some fun, and there's nothing wrong with that indeed.
But if you play such mixed to get to some national level you do care about winning. In that case your best bet is to hit every single ball to 3.5w, no matter your or her position.
That is hardly a learning experience.
And to take every ball on your side - meaning the best option is to ask your 3.5w partner to just stand outside the lines after she hits a mandatory return or serve. Where's the fun in that for anyone?
Maybe you should try to go play some mixed and see if you can learn anything from it. Maybe you won't but I do. Like I said, it requires me to hit better shots, be more strategic, serve better and poach better in order to win. You know it is possible to play mixed and want to win but not want to stuff every ball into the opposing lady.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
As a 3.5F who has played some 8.0 ... I am always surprised that when the opposing 4.0 or 4.5M does not in fact hit every ball towards me.
Most are still playing the smartest shot .... and if they are CC to my 4.5 partner redirecting an Ad to Ad cc baseline shot it is low percentage to attempt to redirect DTL to me. Those that try start adding up some errors .. which is fine by me.

The best male partners are more likely going to want me to be aggressive at net and steady on the baseline.

But they had better be good poachers ... when I am across from the 4.5M I can return 2 usually 3 baseline shots, but never 4 ... I will do my best to get it to his bh but don't just look for the poaching opportunity ... find it!

@jmnk The maximum spread between partners is 1.0 NTRP ... the only way in 8.0 that a 3.0 player could be on the court is paired with a 4.0 and that would be 7.0 mixed.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Just watched some of the video .... um ... orange guy's partner .... are we certain she isn't 3.0? She stands like a statue on the court ... her serve, complete with ugly foot faults, might be better than her volleys ... and they are ... well .... untrained.
 

damazing

Rookie
He's the textbook definition of keep the ball in play and winning ugly. If you have a hard time watching - try playing him...
I second this, he gets to everything. At 4.0 he won because enough players didn't have the patience to construct a point or didn't have good mid court overheads. At 4.5 more players punish his floaters and lobs.
 

djkahn86

Rookie
Orange backhand and serve look 3.5 to me. Serving up lobbed cookies that should have been rocketed back. Youcould have stood three feet from the service line and hammered those returns
6-1 second set makes a lot of sense. Good win
 

denoted

Rookie
Something to be said for consistency and hitting the ball in the court ... Doesn't have to be pretty.

Player appears to have been bumped up to 4.5 at the end of 2018 and played 4.5 last year with a 0.382 winning percentage.
Doubles or singles?
 

denoted

Rookie
I consider myself a seasoned observer of both actual USTA play and videos of such, and I just haven't seen anything like this at 4.5. I believe all the information; I am having a hard time accepting it.
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
I can see the orange shirt guy winning a lot at 4.0 due to consistency. And winning a lot at 4.0 is all it takes to get bumped to 4.5. The computer is not an AI that watches your matches for technique or great looking shots. It only knows the scores of your matches and produces a numerical rating. With that said, however, I would not be surprised if he does not win matches at 4.5.
 

Heck

Rookie
Mixed is fun but as I say about doubles, in general, it is fun and a great challenge if you have the right partners. If you are not on a team that feels like all friends or a mini family then it may
not be fun. I play 6.0 as a 3.5. Is it the best tennis? Maybe not sometimes but I still have to make my shots and have a plan to win a match. I play 8.0 as a 3.5 and roles change for me.
I am the scrub and the woman bosses me around. I let them at least lol. It is more of a challenge for my tennis at 8.0 but matches are more serious and cold. So right now
I am enjoying both worlds and will miss 6.0 if the USTA ever thinks I am good enough for a damn bump to 4.0.
 

BallBag

Semi-Pro
Oh **** I know you. And I know the place where you are playing. And I know the orange shirt guy.
I played 8.5 combo with him last year. We played a really solid 4.5 and a 4.0 that got bumped at the end of the year. We won 3 and 1. That guy feeds on power and just redirects it to a lob, indefinitely. He covers 85% of the court and lobs. Solid 4.5 guy was throwing racquets by the end of the match.
I dare anyone to play this guy and try to hit through him. I double dog dare you to talk **** and get your ass humbled.
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
Oh **** I know you. And I know the place where you are playing. And I know the orange shirt guy.
I played 8.5 combo with him last year. We played a really solid 4.5 and a 4.0 that got bumped at the end of the year. We won 3 and 1. That guy feeds on power and just redirects it to a lob, indefinitely. He covers 85% of the court and lobs. Solid 4.5 guy was throwing racquets by the end of the match.
I dare anyone to play this guy and try to hit through him. I double dog dare you to talk **** and get your ass humbled.
Be honest. You are the orange shirt guy, right?
 

jmnk

Hall of Fame
Maybe you should try to go play some mixed and see if you can learn anything from it. Maybe you won't but I do. Like I said, it requires me to hit better shots, be more strategic, serve better and poach better in order to win. You know it is possible to play mixed and want to win but not want to stuff every ball into the opposing lady.
Sure, it is possible for 4.5m to want to win and not try to hit every ball to 3.5w - but it is not proper strategy. Just like playing against someone that has no backhand - you _could _ try to win and hit to his forehand. But you should not be doing that.
 

jmnk

Hall of Fame
As a 3.5F who has played some 8.0 ... I am always surprised that when the opposing 4.0 or 4.5M does not in fact hit every ball towards me.
Most are still playing the smartest shot .... and if they are CC to my 4.5 partner redirecting an Ad to Ad cc baseline shot it is low percentage to attempt to redirect DTL to me. Those that try start adding up some errors .. which is fine by me.

The best male partners are more likely going to want me to be aggressive at net and steady on the baseline.

But they had better be good poachers ... when I am across from the 4.5M I can return 2 usually 3 baseline shots, but never 4 ... I will do my best to get it to his bh but don't just look for the poaching opportunity ... find it!

@jmnk The maximum spread between partners is 1.0 NTRP ... the only way in 8.0 that a 3.0 player could be on the court is paired with a 4.0 and that would be 7.0 mixed.
Well, a 3.5w is roughly equivalent to 3.0m. And that is three levels below 4.5m
 

jmnk

Hall of Fame
I can see the orange shirt guy winning a lot at 4.0 due to consistency. And winning a lot at 4.0 is all it takes to get bumped to 4.5. The computer is not an AI that watches your matches for technique or great looking shots. It only knows the scores of your matches and produces a numerical rating. With that said, however, I would not be surprised if he does not win matches at 4.5.
I assume you've missed the post where it was stated he did win almost 40% of matches at 4.5...
 

Doan

Rookie
I consider myself a seasoned observer of both actual USTA play and videos of such, and I just haven't seen anything like this at 4.5. I believe all the information; I am having a hard time accepting it.
He's a unicorn. Only 4.5 guy in Mid-Atlantic with strokes like that. Living proof that there's more than one way to get to 4.5.
 

denoted

Rookie
40%? @schmke said he had a 0.382 winning percentage, so less than 1%. If he meant the equivalent of a 0.382 “batting average”, that’s different.
Now you're just being a you-know-what. To reiterate my position, I never doubted that the player was a 4.5. I also know how the computer works. I just can't get past what my eyes are seeing here and square it with my experience of 4.5 tennis. If you told me this guy was unbeatable at 3.5, sure. I've seen plenty of similar examples. But winning enough at 4.0 to get bumped?
 
  • Like
Reactions: J B

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Well, a 3.5w is roughly equivalent to 3.0m. And that is three levels below 4.5m
Here I am going to disagree ... as a 3.5W and playing a few club ladders ... I do not lose to a 3.0M in singles ... not even a close match, and I am over 50 and it doesn't matter what age they are ... have a data set of at least 6 matches against different 3.0M. My fellow 3.5F friends have about the same winning trend against 3.0M.
In dubs, a pair of 3.5W against a pair of 3.0M ... the 3.5W is going to win in my experience, again not close matches.

That all changes the next levels up. But because 3.0 is the starting point for men, you get a lot of near beginners. When I play against a low 3.5M I have won some singles matches ... but mid to high 3.5 ... it will be decently competitive but I usually come out losing side.
 

damazing

Rookie
Now you're just being a you-know-what. To reiterate my position, I never doubted that the player was a 4.5. I also know how the computer works. I just can't get past what my eyes are seeing here and square it with my experience of 4.5 tennis. If you told me this guy was unbeatable at 3.5, sure. I've seen plenty of similar examples. But winning enough at 4.0 to get bumped?
The year before he got bumped his team made it to nationals and he won his three singles matches convincingly and won his one doubles match.
 

denoted

Rookie
The year before he got bumped his team made it to nationals and he won his three singles matches convincingly and won his one doubles match.
I bet video of those would be something to watch. Probably some of that racket-throwing mentioned earlier.
 

Matthew ATX

Semi-Pro
Also will be playing 8.0 this year with my previous 7.0 partner. We were unbeatable at 7.0. 8.0 will be fun, but we're going to lose a few.
 

Matthew ATX

Semi-Pro
Now you're just being a you-know-what. To reiterate my position, I never doubted that the player was a 4.5. I also know how the computer works. I just can't get past what my eyes are seeing here and square it with my experience of 4.5 tennis. If you told me this guy was unbeatable at 3.5, sure. I've seen plenty of similar examples. But winning enough at 4.0 to get bumped?
Facts don't care about your feelings.
 

Space_D

New User
For any of the doubters. The guy in orange was on a 40+ 4.0 team that went to Nationals in 2018. He went 7-0 in the playoffs without dropping a set. There are many ways to win in tennis.

Sectionals
Singles: 6-2, 6-3
Doubles: 6-0, 7-6; 6-3, 6-0

Nationals
Singles: 6-3, 6-1; 6-4, 6-1; 6-1, 6-0
Doubles: 7-5, 6-1
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
I was bumped to 4.5 this year and just played my first 8.0 match. My partner (female, all black clothing) and I (male, all black clothing) played 7.0 together last year. The opposing team was also a 4.5 guy and 3.5 pair. I have played the 4.5 guy multiple times over the years and he is probably the most consistent/defensive player I have ever played. When he played 4.0 he won a vast majority (75%) of his matches in both doubles and singles.

We started off a little tight and nervous but we relaxed and started to get in our groove. Our opponents were not aggressive and hard hitting. I was just trying to be consistent and attack once I had an easy ball. The key for me was not to be overly aggressive (I usually hit harder) and keep my errors down. I was trying to hit a lot of my balls around the opposing 3.5 lady to either get an easy error or hoping she would give up an easy ball we could put away. It worked most of time. Around 18:15 I accidentally ripped a ball really hard at her and she barely ducked out of the way. She called the ball out and we had a little mini pow wow to figure it out. I think it went by her so quickly that she didnt see the ball bounce and only saw the 2nd bounce so she called it out.

Started off down 2-4 the first set but came back to win it 6-4. We then won the 2nd set 6-1. I posted the video because I thought some people might find it interested and/or fun to watch a USTA 8.0 match.

Why did you go after that girl with your overhead? Could have hit it anywhere on the court but you went right at her. Was that retaliation for something that happened before? Maybe he went after your partner so you were paying them back? Just trying to send a message? If unprovoked, around here that gets you uninvited to the next mixed doubles scenario.
 

jmnk

Hall of Fame
Why did you go after that girl with your overhead? Could have hit it anywhere on the court but you went right at her. Was that retaliation for something that happened before? Maybe he went after your partner so you were paying them back? Just trying to send a message? If unprovoked, around here that gets you uninvited to the next mixed doubles scenario.
While I see what you are saying that is exactly the reason why I'm questioning why a 4.5m would play mixed doubles against a pair with 3.5w. So on one hand he is trying to win, but he also needs to be cognizant of perhaps unintentionally hitting/hurting her so he needs to NOT hit certain shots? I have hard time understanding how one can try to win and not play the best shots at the same time....
 

jmnk

Hall of Fame
Here I am going to disagree ... as a 3.5W and playing a few club ladders ... I do not lose to a 3.0M in singles ... not even a close match, and I am over 50 and it doesn't matter what age they are ... have a data set of at least 6 matches against different 3.0M. My fellow 3.5F friends have about the same winning trend against 3.0M.
In dubs, a pair of 3.5W against a pair of 3.0M ... the 3.5W is going to win in my experience, again not close matches.

That all changes the next levels up. But because 3.0 is the starting point for men, you get a lot of near beginners. When I play against a low 3.5M I have won some singles matches ... but mid to high 3.5 ... it will be decently competitive but I usually come out losing side.
Ok, fair enough. I suppose it is possible and not that uncommon that 3.5w is roughly on par with lower range 3.5m. Still, that means lower range 3.5m vs, on average, mid level 4.5. That is normally a non competitive match every time, with hardly anything to gain for either party if 4.5 is playing to win.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
For the record, I would be ticked off if an opponent didn't hit at me if that was the right play. I am not unlike nearly all of my friends who play for more than the social / get-exercise reasons.

I have found that with most 4.5M they have enough control that they don't have to hit at anyone and end up risking a reflexed return from the opponent.
 

jmnk

Hall of Fame
I consider myself a seasoned observer of both actual USTA play and videos of such, and I just haven't seen anything like this at 4.5. I believe all the information; I am having a hard time accepting it.
Or perhaps, possibly, you are NOT a seasoned observed of actual and /or video play? I mean we have facts: his documented ranking and his documented play video vs. you know, your opinion, where you _consider yourself _ to have any good experience with rating players based on video... Just a thought...
 

denoted

Rookie
Or perhaps, possibly, you are NOT a seasoned observed of actual and /or video play? I mean we have facts: his documented ranking and his documented play video vs. you know, your opinion, where you _consider yourself _ to have any good experience with rating players based on video... Just a thought...
Well, we also have someone who apparently plays in the region saying that the player is a unicorn, that no one else who's 4.5 hits like that, so. . .people who think my reaction to this is unusual should see the youtube comments under the iracer videos. Dozens of people (ok, youtube commenters) refuse to believe that he, who has more conventional strokes along with blazing speed, is ranked that high. They would short-circuit if they saw this. I guess it is a good counterexample for the conventional wisdom that says that pushing with strokes like this can't make it past 4.0.
 

dsp9753

Semi-Pro
Well, we also have someone who apparently plays in the region saying that the player is a unicorn, that no one else who's 4.5 hits like that, so. . .people who think my reaction to this is unusual should see the youtube comments under the iracer videos. Dozens of people (ok, youtube commenters) refuse to believe that he, who has more conventional strokes along with blazing speed, is ranked that high. They would short-circuit if they saw this. I guess it is a good counterexample for the conventional wisdom that says that pushing with strokes like this can't make it past 4.0.
You are correct, this player is one of a kind unicorn. I have never come across any other 4.5 who really plays like this. Watching him play, many people would assume it would be much easier to win against him then it actually is in real life. One can only understand once you have stood on the court against him. I don't think you are wrong to be surprised about his level.
 

dsp9753

Semi-Pro
Why did you go after that girl with your overhead? Could have hit it anywhere on the court but you went right at her. Was that retaliation for something that happened before? Maybe he went after your partner so you were paying them back? Just trying to send a message? If unprovoked, around here that gets you uninvited to the next mixed doubles scenario.
Which ball? It is hard to tell from the video, but I don't think I ever hit the ball really hard throughout the match except for a handful. Almost all of my overheads were aimed instead of trying to crush them with power. I did hit some overheads at/around her but if you were there at court level, you would see they were not that fast and hard.
 

dsp9753

Semi-Pro
While I see what you are saying that is exactly the reason why I'm questioning why a 4.5m would play mixed doubles against a pair with 3.5w. So on one hand he is trying to win, but he also needs to be cognizant of perhaps unintentionally hitting/hurting her so he needs to NOT hit certain shots? I have hard time understanding how one can try to win and not play the best shots at the same time....
Any strategy that gets you the win is the right strategy. You don't have to play to your opponents weaknesses. I typically try to play to my personal strengths, not to my opponents weaknesses. It usually works well enough for me and when I was a 4.0, I was winning most of my matches in both mixed and mens.

But in this specific match, I needed to hit more balls to the lady. I know my opponent is much much more consistent then me and he is better at my game then I am. I needed to hit the balls to the lady to force more errors or short balls we could put away. I knew I didnt have to crank it at her to get these easy put away balls.
 
Top