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Championship Week
Angels and Patriots Win Titles at Wet USTA Spring Team Championships
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Declaring Mother Nature the winner at the second annual USTA Spring Team Championships in Mobile, Alabama would be appropriate, as rain disrupted play on all four days of competition, requiring shortened formats throughout. But when a steady rain ended play on the final day, two teams - the Angels and the Patriots - did claim their gold balls.

Wet courts were a common site in Mobile
© ZooTennis.com
The weather was perfect for the first two days of the event, which consisted of mandatory practices that introduced the players to each other and to their coach. Each of the 32 teams, consisting of two 12s, two 14s, two 16s and two 18s division players, were selected by ranking for competitive balance. They were then assigned a coach that the USTA had invited to participate, with many coaches returning from 2014, the first year of the competition.

Unlike last year, when 6-all ties in the dual matches were broken by counting sets and games, this year a match tiebreaker was instituted, with a doubles team of the two coaches' choice playing one match tiebreaker to decide who would advance in the compass draw format.

Rain washed out almost the entire first day of play, with not even one of the doubles matches completed, so the first round was shortened to doubles only on Day Two. In six cases, the four doubles matches of eight-game pro sets were split, so the match tiebreaker was played to decide who would move on to the quarterfinals.

The quarterfinals, played later on Day Two, consisted entirely of singles matches, with a match tiebreaker in lieu of a third set. Although not all teams managed to finish on Day Two, five of the eight quarterfinal matches split the eight singles matches, leaving the doubles match tiebreaker to determine the semifinalists.

The boys champions, the Patriots, were not among those needing a tiebreaker in advancing to the final. They defeated the Saints 3-1 in the first round, the Falcons 5-3 in the second round and the Bears 9-3 in the semifinal round, the only round where both singles and doubles were played.

Their opponents in the final, the Eagles, had taken a different path, winning a doubles match tiebreaker over the Lions in the first round and another to beat the Jaguars 5-4 in the second round. A 7-5 win over the Panthers, which finished after 7:30 p.m. on Day Three, put them in the final.

The girls championship matchup would feature the Angels, who had beaten the Dolphins 6-2 and the Devils 8-4 in quarterfinals and semifinals respectively, and the Firecrackers, who had won a "miracle match" against the Stingrays to advance to the semifinals.

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Page updated on Monday, November 04, 2019
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