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WTA Tennis




Cummings & Goings IX by Jim Cummings

April 4, 2007 03:21 AM

Seeding rule change & short sets

A really important change in seeding tournaments was made in 2007 that somehow slipped the Friend At Court summary of highlights of important changes for 2007.
Prior to 2007,  a tournament could seed players at a maximum ratio of one seed for every 4 players or major fraction thereof. That's out the window. The total number of seeds in a draw now must equal a power of 2 (2, 4, 8, 16 ...). No more draws with 3, 5, or 10 seeds etc. The maximum ratio of players seeded is now one in 3, except that any draw may have 2 seeds.
This is a little tricky, and for someone like me who am mathematically challenged, it is better that I let Friend At Court do the explaining:
"FAC Comment II. A.1: The decision to round up or down to a power of two depends in large part on the availability of adequate seeding information. The Tournament Committee should round up to the next power of two when adequate information is available. Example: A draw of 24 could have either 4 or 8 seeds depending on the information available., but a draw of 23 could have no more that four seeds. Similarly, a draw of 96 could have either 16 or 32 seeds, but a draw of 95 could have no more that 16 seeds. A draw of 3 or 4 could have two seeds."
Effectively, this balances the seeds in a draw and I strongly suspect the Points per Round ranking system has something to do with it. Draws just short of 24 or 48 players could end up with some really good first round matches, something my mentor and the original author of Friend At Court, Jack Stahr, firmly advocated. What goes around, comes around.
Short On Time, Try Short Sets
If you are like me, you do not like no-ad scoring. The rhythm of no-ad just isn't tennis. And as far as pro sets are concerned; forget it. But there are times where the format of play has to be shortened in order to get through a tournament. If this happens, I recommend you play short sets and/or use the Match Tie-Break (MTB).
A short set is won by the first player or team winning four games by a margin of two. If the score in a short set reaches four games all, a 7x2 set tie-break game is played. The first player or team to win two short sets wins the match. A short set format used with an MTB at a short set apiece can save even more time.
Or , you can play two regular sets and use an MTB in lieu of a third set. Although the rules still say an MTB can be 7x2, I have never played one or used it when I was Referee for a tournament. When all the marbles are on the line, a 10x2 MTB helps even out the element of luck; although luck is always a part of our game.
Now, here is a tip that makes playing a short set easy. Start at 2-all. That's it.
From then on, everything is exactly the same as a regular set. And the beauty of it is, you use the same mental framework that you are use to playing with. A couple years ago, I was the Referee for the Maryland State Senior League Championships and we lost almost a day and a half to rain. At my suggestion, we went to short sets starting at 2-all and there was not one problem or word of complaint. It worked like a charm and we were able to finish the event on time

By:  Jim Cummings 4/2/2007

Jim Cummings Bio:
   Born in Marinette, WI
   Boyhood friend of the Cook family
   Played varsity tennis for UW-Madison in the 50s
   Officiated at over 25 US Opens as a chair and line umpire
   Served on USTA's Rules Committee when Jack Stahr and Nick Powel were Chairs
   Active senior player and Referee
   Presently helps edit the Friend At Court