Further South

I’d planned to roll out my Western and Southern simulation today, but no such luck. There’s yet another scratch. And yet again, it’s a seeded player giving up his bye line – Milos Raonic, the sixth seed, is being replaced by Christian Harrison, who’s ranked 240th in the world according to the ATP. Harrison is the fourth lucky loser chosen to fill out the bracket, and the third to go directly into the second round by fluking onto one of the eight lines that get a first-round bye.

So, I’ll need to retool the simulation once again. It will be a matter of a few minutes to slot in Harrison and nudge nearly everyone else up a place in the simulator’s skill ranking, but it will take a few hours to run the trials, and all this has to be done in off moments stolen from actually watching tennis.

With four of the seven losers of the qualifying mini-brackets being chosen to fill lines in the main draw, and with three of those getting first round byes, it appears that, on average, the Q2 losers, collectively, will be on track to win more prize money than the qualifiers who actually won and entered the main draw by right. It will be close. And I think we’re probably done finding new lucky losers, so perhaps the next simulations will actually make it to the blog. Watch this space.

2 thoughts on “Further South”

  1. A few random thoughts. If a player bows out of the tournament in a bye position a day or two before the tournament starts, you could move the #9 seed into a bye position. If a Bye player withdraws after the first round has started, we are in the ‘What else are we going to do’ category.

    I can see at least a little bit why the rules are what they are. If a player has a 1st round match scheduled at 3PM Monday on Court 2, he sets his sleep schedule, breakfast, etc. with that match in mind. There is value in changing that schedule as little as possible. I do think that giving a bye to the wrong player when avoidable is taking this principle to an extreme.

    It is not just money equity, it is also ATP Points equity. In this tournament, first round losers get 10 ATP pts, 2nd round losers get 45, then 90, 180, 360, 600, and 1000 to the winner. There is a big difference between a first and second round loss. I don’t think we even have to run a simulation to know that the losing finalists in the qualifiers get more ATP Points on average than the 7 that qualified directly.

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  2. I think you have the situation just right, except that you might add another factor – the TV schedule. The TV people want as many of the scheduled matches to stay put because they’ve already made coverage decisions. So, when they get a plum early-round matchup, like yesterday’s Berdych v. Del Potro tie, they don’t want late scratches messing things up.

    Points are important, of course, and one of the things I’ll do when I get the leisure is re-run the simulations with the payouts specified in points rather than dollars. The two distributions are pretty similar, but there is indeed a considerable difference in the early rounds, where that first round win gives (at least) 4.5 times more points, but only 1.85 times more dollars. Among the really elite players, who make more money from endorsements than they do from prize funds, it may be that points are ultimately more valuable than dollars even in financial terms.

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