Tell team they must lose set to win title

beernutz

Hall of Fame
If this you are a tl;dnr forum member you can skip to the Cliff notes at the bottom. Otherwise just move along, nothing to see here.

Monday night my 4.0 team played in the championship playoff match for the our local doubles-only league and this interesting scenario played out. All dual meets consist of 4 doubles matches, each of which are best of 3 sets (no 10 point tiebreaks yea!) and if the courts split 2 and 2 then the match tiebreak is to next look to number of games won by each team.

I wasn't playing but was there to watch and this is what happened.
We had won court 1 (2 and 3) but lost court 2 (1 and 3) and lost court 3 (3 and 4) and our court 4 team had won their first set 7-5. That means with only court 4 remaining we were down in matches 1 to 2 and down 4 games.

I wandered over to the gazebo overlooking court 4 and found out that they were tied in the second set 4 all and quickly realized along with several other players who had finished playing that if our team wins this set we lose the championship.

It appeared the best chance we had for pulling out a team win based on games was for court 4 to lose the second set at 6-7 so our team would be down 5 overall games, then try to win the third set 6-0 to win outright or 6-1 to force a tie. If a tie in games occurs these rules apply:
In a 4-match Dual Meet, a fifth (5th) point will be awarded to the team winning the most games. ... In case of a tie in games, the players in the last match to finish will play a set tiebreak (the first to 7 by 2 points) to determine the awarding of the fifth point.
The question is would you tell your court 4 team tied at 4-4 in their second set the situation? They asked spectators who told them that we were down 1-2 in matches and were down in games but no mention of the possible winning scenario I mentioned above.

As I look in our local league rules for the first time I see this blurb:
Coaching by spectators or teammates is not allowed.
and I guess telling a team they needed to lose a set close then win the final set big would be coaching so my question is probably academic but I'm still wondering if this situation has come up before and how it was handled.

One other factor to consider is that my team has won this very competitive (9 teams typically vie for it) league championship the last two seasons. While my captain would have loved to do the threepeat it may have been good for the health of the league to spread the wealth a bit. The captain was not one of the court 4 spectators as he was chatting elsewhere with his just-completed match opponent 50 feet away in another gazebo.

I was injured after the regular season and didn't get to participate in any of the three playoff matches and I don't really need another hand towel or Tervis tumbler so I wasn't that broken up that we lost.

Cliff notes: In a championship match where a team needs to intentionally lose a set close then win a final set big to have a chance to get the team win do you tell them?
 

TennisCJC

Legend
A better tie break for a team meet consisting of 4 matches is for the last team on court to play a match tie break to determine the winner. So, if your line 4 matchs finishes last and the matches are even at 2 each, then the line 4 teams continue on and play a 10 point match tie breaker to determine the meet winner. ALTA seniors meets use this format. This way you still try to win every point/game. The only drawback is some teams may play slow of throw a set so their better match up is the last match playing.
 

beernutz

Hall of Fame
A better tie break for a team meet consisting of 4 matches is for the last team on court to play a match tie break to determine the winner. So, if your line 4 matchs finishes last and the matches are even at 2 each, then the line 4 teams continue on and play a 10 point match tie breaker to determine the meet winner. ALTA seniors meets use this format. This way you still try to win every point/game. The only drawback is some teams may play slow of throw a set so their better match up is the last match playing.
If only matches won determines whether you play the 10 point match tie break, how do games won in all the matches matter?
 

gmatheis

Hall of Fame
Must not be USTA because tiebreaker for USTA would be games LOST which would prevent someone intentionally losing a set.
 

beernutz

Hall of Fame
Must not be USTA because tiebreaker for USTA would be games LOST which would prevent someone intentionally losing a set.
No this isn't USTA, it is a local league called BATA.

Unless I am misunderstanding what you mean I don't think just counting games lost produces a different outcome than game differential. Do you mean sets lost?
 

beernutz

Hall of Fame
That's a very poor tiebreaker.
Yes. I'm sure this league wants to promote the idea that every game of every match is important but this dual meet tiebreak format leaves open the possibility of intentionally throwing games and sets to give your team a better chance of winning.

I'm going to propose changing it to a member of its board and see where that goes.
 

beernutz

Hall of Fame
But games lost has issues too. Using games lost, it is better to lose a set 6-0 than to lose it 7-5. That doesn't make sense.

See what I wrote about USTA tie-break rules awhile ago.
I can see where games lost could have a problem in a multi-team playoff-deciding situation like you describe in your blog but I'm talking about a dual meet here. Games lost should give the same outcome as game differential when we're talking about finding the winner between 2 teams playing 4 matches.

I think I'm convinced that the playoff tiebreaker I wrote about is flawed because it doesn't consider sets won and lost before looking at games won and lost.
 

gmatheis

Hall of Fame
No this isn't USTA, it is a local league called BATA.

Unless I am misunderstanding what you mean I don't think just counting games lost produces a different outcome than game differential. Do you mean sets lost?
Actually games lost does have a small problem as mentioned above in that it penalizes you for losing 5-7 or 6-7 more than losing 0-6

Game differential is probably a good metric to use. Only way I can think of abusing that is to intentionally lose a really close set so you have another chance to blow them out in a 3rd set. But to do that you'd have to be much better than your opponent and it would have been better to just win 6-0.6-0 to begin with.
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
Actually games lost does have a small problem as mentioned above in that it penalizes you for losing 5-7 or 6-7 more than losing 0-6

Game differential is probably a good metric to use. Only way I can think of abusing that is to intentionally lose a really close set so you have another chance to blow them out in a 3rd set. But to do that you'd have to be much better than your opponent and it would have been better to just win 6-0.6-0 to begin with.
Game differential does make a lot more sense. Do leagues elect not to use it just because there is a smidgen extra math?
 

beernutz

Hall of Fame
Actually games lost does have a small problem as mentioned above in that it penalizes you for losing 5-7 or 6-7 more than losing 0-6

Game differential is probably a good metric to use. Only way I can think of abusing that is to intentionally lose a really close set so you have another chance to blow them out in a 3rd set. But to do that you'd have to be much better than your opponent and it would have been better to just win 6-0.6-0 to begin with.
Like I replied to Kevin, games lost and game differential will give you the same result if you are talking about 1 match between 2 teams playing 4 courts. It has a problem, like the situation Kevin was writing about, when you have multiple teams with multiple matches against each other and you are using it to compare their results.

Your second paragraph second sentence is almost exactly the situation I wrote about in my original post however I disagree that you have to be a lot better than your opponent to take advantage of the situation.

For example, lets assume you are the last court and when you start playing your second set, assuming you won the first, you know that your team is one match behind and 3 games behind overall. Once the other team gets to 4 games you know you must intentionally lose the set. Another way to state that is your team knows at the beginning of the set it must win it by at least 3 games or it must intentionally lose it as close as possible. There is no other acceptable alternative for your team.

That takes a lot of the pressure off your team in that second set. Should the other team get to 4 games in the 2nd set, it would be optimal for your team to get to a tiebreak in that set and then intentionally lose it that so that you'd only be behind 4 games at the start of the 3rd set.

The flip side is that once your opponents team gets to 4 games in the second set they should not under any circumstances try to win any more games. It is in their best interests at that point to just tank the match and not try to win another point.

Should it however get to the 3rd set, your team would then need to win it at least by 6-2 to create a games lost/differential tiebreak or a 6-1 or 6-0 victory in that set which is not unheard of wins the overall match outright for you.

It seems backasswards to me to reward teams for intentionally losing games and sets but the incentive is definitely there in certain situations in our league.
 
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J_R_B

Hall of Fame
Game differential does make a lot more sense. Do leagues elect not to use it just because there is a smidgen extra math?
Game differential has the same problem as games won. If you're at 4-4 in the second but need a +4 game differential to win the match, you need to throw the set then try to win 6-0.
 

spaceman_spiff

Hall of Fame
That's a very poor tiebreaker.
Yes. I'm sure this league wants to promote the idea that every game of every match is important but this dual meet tiebreak format leaves open the possibility of intentionally throwing games and sets to give your team a better chance of winning.

I'm going to propose changing it to a member of its board and see where that goes.
A better tiebreak option would be to first look at sets won and then, if the teams are level on sets, look at games won.

That way, you don't get teams throwing sets in order to win on total games.
 

gmatheis

Hall of Fame
Game differential has the same problem as games won. If you're at 4-4 in the second but need a +4 game differential to win the match, you need to throw the set then try to win 6-0.
If your opponent is good enough to get you to 4-4 in the 2nd set what are the odds you will be able to 6-0 them in the 3rd? If you can do that why wouldn't you have just done it in the 2nd?
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
If your opponent is good enough to get you to 4-4 in the 2nd set what are the odds you will be able to 6-0 them in the 3rd? If you can do that why wouldn't you have just done it in the 2nd?
Probably low, but if it's the only way to win, you have to do it anyway.
 

OrangePower

Legend
Cliff notes: In a championship match where a team needs to intentionally lose a set close then win a final set big to have a chance to get the team win do you tell them?
I tell them that at this moment, we are down by 5 (or whatever) in the game differential. I don't think this can in any way be construed as coaching, as it is purely score information. Assuming the players have a brain-cell between them, they will get the implication.

That's a very poor tiebreaker.
Yeah, should be based on sets first, and only then game differential.
 

TennisCJC

Legend
If only matches won determines whether you play the 10 point match tie break, how do games won in all the matches matter?
In a single team meet, games won (or lost) don't matter. If the 4 matches are split 2-2, then the last match playing plays the 10 point TB to determine the meet winner.

This is ALTA in Atlanta. They only do this in the playoffs where you must have a winner. During the regular season, you can have a 2-2 tie. If 2 teams are tied in matches won at the end of the regular season in the division standings, the 1st tie-breaker is head to head results and then they use games won ratio as the 2nd tie-breaker.
 

beernutz

Hall of Fame
In a single team meet, games won (or lost) don't matter. If the 4 matches are split 2-2, then the last match playing plays the 10 point TB to determine the meet winner.

This is ALTA in Atlanta. They only do this in the playoffs where you must have a winner. During the regular season, you can have a 2-2 tie. If 2 teams are tied in matches won at the end of the regular season in the division standings, the 1st tie-breaker is head to head results and then they use games won ratio as the 2nd tie-breaker.
Then I would put my best four players on to 2 courts in every playoff match and tell them both to be sure to let the other two courts finish before they do. If reverse stacking is possible I'd do that too.
 

goran_ace

Hall of Fame
Then I would put my best four players on to 2 courts in every playoff match and tell them both to be sure to let the other two courts finish before they do. If reverse stacking is possible I'd do that too.
Captain's instructions - "Hey so I need you guys to win, but do it slowly"
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
Then I would put my best four players on to 2 courts in every playoff match and tell them both to be sure to let the other two courts finish before they do. If reverse stacking is possible I'd do that too.
You can avoid that by saying the line 1 team plays the tiebreaker, or better yet, the team gets to choose which team gets to play the tiebreaker.
 

beernutz

Hall of Fame
You can avoid that by saying the line 1 team plays the tiebreaker, or better yet, the team gets to choose which team gets to play the tiebreaker.
The first option would mean every team member on line 1 would have to stay to the end of all the matches, or until one team won 3 matchups, in case they were needed for the tiebreak.

By the second option do you mean each side picks a pair so there could be a different matchup in the tiebreak than in the regular match? Also, everyone would have to stay until the last match finished unless or at least until one team had won the first three matches.

It is a moot point because I doubt any of the poobahs at ALTA with the power to change their rules are reading this thread.
 
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chatt_town

Hall of Fame
Man...this is wild...I remember me and the wife winning a round robing once as we did lose a match but we actually went 3 sets in our loss so we won the tourney. :)


But games lost has issues too. Using games lost, it is better to lose a set 6-0 than to lose it 7-5. That doesn't make sense.

See what I wrote about USTA tie-break rules awhile ago.
 

dizzlmcwizzl

Hall of Fame
Then I would put my best four players on to 2 courts in every playoff match and tell them both to be sure to let the other two courts finish before they do. If reverse stacking is possible I'd do that too.
It would be awesome if the other team had done this also ... leading to 4 courts all looking around trying to make sure that the "right" courts for their team finished last ....
 

athiker

Hall of Fame
For two teams to be tied W-L wise they would need to have identical "Sets Won" correct? Shouldn't "Sets Lost" be the first tiebreaker? If one team was pushed to more 3rd set matches than the other they would lose...seems fair. They were less dominating.

Then it seems like "Games Lost" would follow. A team will have more games lost if sets were closer or if they had more 3 set matches vs. dominating 2 set matches.

Yes, maybe the very final match a team could tank the end of a close 2nd set if they were behind on "Games Lost" hoping for a 6-0 or 6-1 final set to reverse it, but that's a big ask...and it can only work if they are playing the actual team they trail...and if they did pull it off I wouldn't mind saying they were the champs.

RE: the 7-5 scenario being worse than a 6-4 scenario for the loser, that is simple. Max number of games lost per set is capped at 6. You lose 7-5 or 7-6 you still only get a 6 "Games Lost". You might also add max number of games lost by a 7-5 winner is 4. Max number of games lost by a 7-6 winner is 5.

I may have missed something here b/c only took a quick look at it but seems to make sense to me?
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
For two teams to be tied W-L wise they would need to have identical "Sets Won" correct? Shouldn't "Sets Lost" be the first tiebreaker? If one team was pushed to more 3rd set matches than the other they would lose...seems fair. They were less dominating.
No, again because of three set matches. Sets won measures how often you pushed your opponents to three sets in your losses and sets lost measure how often your opponents pushed you to three sets in your wins. If you're talking about a tie breaker between two teams, then you get the same result, but if it involves a league standing or something with more than two teams, there is a difference.
 

beernutz

Hall of Fame
Dumb format, Order for getting positions needs to be something where winning is the best option.

Matches won
Rubbers won
Set Percentage
Game Percentage

That separates teams almost 100 percent of the time

Can use h2h as the final method
The question concerned deciding the winner of a dual meet, not the ranking of multiple teams.
 
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