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Re(1): Biggest Handicapping Challenge of the Week....IMO

I think it's a mistake to try to isolate it to one variable - How is Zulaika doing in singles? - as if it's all about him.

We know that it's basically the same group of players in a zero sum game. So if Erik elevates his singles game to his A++ level right at the time that Zulaika returns from his foot / ankle injury, it's not just Zulaika who takes the hit, but the other 6 participants as well. And, according to my data, Erik ran that game 5 times in a 13 perf period.

Beyond that, it seemed to me that either last year, or the year before, Diego for some reason was subpar in singles for an extended period of time - many, many months. Might have been some physical problem that limited how much power he could get on the initial return, but that's just a guess. But the point is that for some time now he has been back to his regular self, which means WINNER.

And it also appears that Barandika is movin' on up in his all-around playing level.

Then there is the incredible singles win patch that Arrieta put together prior to the Xmas break. He's not anywhere near that now, but he proved that he can be a major force in that game, at least at times.

So we have Erik winning almost 1 out of 4 (and higher during a hot phase), Diego at about 1 out of 5.5, and then Barandika and Arrieta as further resistance.

Now, the truth about game 10 is that when one of the big guys is on their game, they typically use the serve-and-take-control advantage to roll right over the competition. So getting that first point against them as a receiver is the key, and it's not that easy. Far worse than 50-50.

Finally, owing to a quirk of the game, it turns out that Erik gets an advantage as a receiver because he never once has to receive serve from ... Erik. Works out well for him because otherwise it would drive down his winning %.

Bottom line - has Zulaika gone down, or have Erik, Diego, and Barandika gone up? Or is it a combo?


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