If you’ve ever watched a tennis player dominate with the first serve but saw the second serve obliterated by the returner, you might have wondered: Why don’t more players go for it on their second serve? Wouldn’t they be better off treating their second opportunity to serve like their first one?The answer almost always is no.Most servers win a much higher percentage of points on their first serve than their second serve. For example, in his five-set marathon loss to Kei Nishikori as Monday night turned to Tuesday morning at the U.S. Open, Milos Raonic won 87 percent of his first-serve points but just 47 percent of his second-serve points.During that match, Min Han, a biologist at the University of Colorado, emailed me. “I wonder whether some of the big servers in men’s tennis should serve the fast ‘first’ serve all the time,” Han wrote. “For some of these guys, the difference between the winning percentage on their first serve and that on the second serve seems huge.”It’s a good suggestion. But the season-long numbers suggest nearly every player would be hurt, not helped, by treating the second serve like a first serve. Except in a couple of cases, the higher probability that the second serve lands in the court more than compensates for the higher effectiveness of first serves.Let’s start with the average Top 50 men’s player. This year heading into the U.S. Open, he wins 73.6 percent of service points when the first serve lands in, compared to 57.5 percent when the second serve lands in. But his first serve lands in just 61.9 percent of the time, compared to 91.1 percent of second serves. So if he went for his first serve on both points, he’d win 73.6 percent of second-serve points when the ball lands in, but double fault on 38.1 percent of them. His second-serve winning percentage would be just 45.6 percent, compared to 52.4 percent now. Bad move.This is just an average. It varies widely by player. Mikhail Youzhny has a relatively weak first serve without landing in the court all that often, so he’d be especially unwise to go for his first serve again given a second opportunity. His second-serve winning percentage would drop by 12.7 percentage points.By contrast, Ivo Karlovic, who is 6 feet 10, has a relatively weak second serve and usually lands his excellent first serve in, so he’d gain 2 percentage points on his second-serve winning percentage if he went for his first serve twice. That’s a modest gain, and Karlovic is the only player in the Top 50 who’d get a high enough reward to justify the high-risk tactic. (Raonic would be nearly even, but slightly worse off — as he would have been if he’d gone for second-serve bombs against Nishikori, since he missed so often on first serves in that match.)Even Karlovic couldn’t have anticipated before this season that he would have benefited from the risky strategy. In each of the past two seasons, it would have hurt him slightly. No current Top 50 player who played at least five matches in 2013 would have gained from hitting exclusively first serves, and only Gael Monfils would have in 2012. (Players’ serve percentages are fairly persistent from year to year, and therefore so is the effect of the tactic on a player’s serve success — a correlation coefficient of 0.66 between this year and 2013, and of 0.7 between this year and 2012, for current Top 50 players with at least 25 matches in each season.)The story is similar in the women’s game. The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) sent me data this season heading into the U.S. Open. Among 94 players with at least 15 matches, just six would have benefited from going for their first serves on second serve: Victoria Azarenka, Annika Beck, Yvonne Meusburger, Monica Niculescu, Sara Errani and Yaroslava Shvedova.Errani, the 2012 French Open finalist, doesn’t have a great first serve. It was even singled out in a New York Times article this week as one of the oddest strokes on tour. But she lands it in at an unusually high rate, leading the WTA in each of the past four seasons and ahead among regulars this year. And her second serve is bad enough to be worth replacing with the first serve, though not by much: She’d have gained 0.6 percentage points on her second-serve winning percentage with the riskier tactic.The biggest beneficiary of hitting two first serves is Azarenka, the former No. 1 player in the world who was knocked out of the U.S. Open in the quarterfinals by Ekaterina Makarova. Heading into the U.S. Open, she’d have had a second-serve winning percentage of 44.7 percent by hitting two first serves, instead of her atrocious 38.5 percent.Last year, Azarenka and Errani also would have benefited from the riskier serving approach. Beck and Niculescu would have, too. Meusburger and Shvedova wouldn’t have, though.Returns on the tactic also could be very volatile from match to match. Though Azarenka’s pre-U.S. Open stats argue for a riskier serving tactic, it would have hurt her in four of her five U.S. Open matches, including her loss to Makarova.These calculations simplify serving by reducing it to just first and second serves. Most players employ a wide variety of first serves, with different levels of risk and effectiveness. Perhaps a bomb down the T of the court is too risky for a second serve, but a slider out wide lands in the court often enough to be worth it. Then again, go too often to a reliable serve and the returner will adjust and make it less effective.The calculations also don’t account for the psychological elements of the sport. Returners might get rattled if they know they’ll never face easy serves. But the toll on a server who double-faults much more often could be even greater.CORRECTION (Sept. 4, 2:40 p.m.): If the average Top 50 ATP player went for his first serve on both points, he’d double fault on 38.1 percent of his second-serve points. A previous version of this article said he’d double fault on 38.9 percent of them.
With an 8-4 victory in Los Angeles Thursday night, the Chicago Cubs took a 3-2 NLCS lead over the LA Dodgers and now head back to Chicago just one win away from the World Series. According to FiveThirtyEight’s Elo prediction model, the Cubs have an 81 percent chance of capturing the franchise’s first pennant since 1945. And with a 51 percent probability of winning the World Series, Chicago is now more likely than not to end its 108-year drought and celebrate a title for the first time since 1908.Of course, Cubs fans have heard some version of this before. The team entered Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS under the same conditions — up three games to two, needing only to win one of the next two games (both at Wrigley Field) to clinch the pennant — but then disaster struck. They also led the 1984 NLCS two games to none, needing to win only one of the next three games in San Diego to advance (back when the league championship series used a best-of-five format). That advantage conferred an even greater pennant probability184 percent, according to a basic calculation that just looks at home-field advantage and the number of games remaining at each location. than Chicago has now or had in 2003,279 percent in both cases, according to the same measure we looked at for 1984. and they still managed to blow it. So Chicagoans can be forgiven if they’re not booking travel to Cleveland quite yet.And if the Cubs’ championship dreams end up being deferred to a 109th year, it’ll probably be because of the Dodgers’ pitching trio of Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen and Rich Hill. According to Elo’s starting-pitcher rating component, Kershaw is the best starter in baseball by a mile — he boosts LA’s Elo rating by a whopping 71 points when he takes the mound — and he’ll try to help the Dodgers stave off elimination Saturday night. Hill, LA’s starter for a potential Game 7, is no slouch either: He ranks 14th among starting pitchers in our ratings. And for his part, Jansen, the Dodgers’ closer, has completely shut down the Cubs when called upon in the NLCS so far, notching 16.2 strikeouts per 9 innings over a couple of multi-inning appearances.The Cubs will counter with their own aces — Game 6 starter Kyle Hendricks ranks seventh in Elo, and they’ll likely send 18th-ranked Jake Arrieta to the hill in Game 7 — but Chicago’s fate might come down to how well its lineup hits LA’s star pitchers. Although the Cubs’ offense has been incredibly uneven in this series, scoring eight or more runs in each of the team’s three wins and zero in each of its two losses, the common threads in those scoreless games have been that either Kershaw or Hill took the mound as the starter, and Jansen (who appeared in both games) came in to close it out. Before Chicago can pop champagne in Wrigley’s spacious, newly renovated locker room, they’ll probably have to score some runs off the Dodgers’ aces.But for now, the Cubs find themselves in a good spot. They’ve been the talk of baseball all season long; now they’re closer than ever to fulfilling their potential and ending the franchise’s absurdly long dry spell. VIDEO: Cleveland fooled us twice
Glazed with myriad books from varied genres, the ongoing World Book Fair in the capital’s Pragati Maidan, shone with an astounding collection of books for children and youth, with an entire hall dedicated to this section. Move aside encyclopedias, puzzles, toys, fables, story books and novels, now its the era for three-dimensional books for children, which has replaced them all. In fact these books emerged as the most popular choice during the fair. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Visitors to the children pavilion were the highest and, interestingly, had a mix of all age groups. Apart from just reading a story, nowadays children need that extra edge to keep them hooked, was the feeling I garnered from most publishers concentrating on children’s literature. Ajay Parmar, who heads Bonnier Publishing, explained this trend, ‘There is a need for publishers to pack in a lot of activity in children’s books now. Such books instantly attract their attention. We have a series of puppet books, which makes the entire process of story-telling interesting as well as refreshing. There are also varied activities which have been incorporated in children’s books, to include 3D cut-outs, illustrations, dot-to-dot diagrams, paintings and also jigsaw puzzles. The entire process of storytelling has been completely renewed and revamped now.’ Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixAn innovative book Lets Lace at Ajay’s stall focused on the process of tying laces, and at the end had a 3D shoe cut-out which pops out, where the child can actually implement what they had learnt through the course of the book. Another interesting book Theo focused on smell, where the little pup Theo goes out in search of adventures and discovers honey, rose and strawberry through the course of the journey. Each of these flavours can be touched and then smelt by the reader.A lot of young mothers and their children were seen at the stalls that had displayed books exploring fairy tales and nursery rhymes in three-dimension. Lucky Dhawan from Future books had a fantastic collection of 3D books. ‘There is a huge demand for such books. As children view them as something different and interesting, they get immediately attracted to them,’ says Lucky. There was a dedicated stall to 3D books – what with the special glasses provided, the children had a riot reading these books. This hall, apart from books, also showcased stationary items, toys and computer games CDs for children. Naturally, children flocked here, pittering and pattering about. You could see them pulling their parents to the 3D stalls to have a look. Neeta Sinha, a young mother who bought a collection of these books said, ‘My son dragged me here as he was so fascinated by the whole idea of 3D books. Cinema has a huge role to play here, as children have been watching a lot of such films.’Apart from this hall dedicated to books for children and youth, the pavilion hosting foreign publishers was a sheer delight as well. Organised by the National Book Trust of India, the fair saw books from countries such as China, the US, Poland, South Korea and Turkey as well as United Nations agencies. This year, the focus is on France and its publishing industry and contemporary literature.Walking past the energised crowd of young school kids, families as well as couples with tiny tots, one is immediately engulfed by a feeling of sheer thirst to purchase an instant good read.The chilly breeze supplemented by the winter sun, walking past the enthusiastic faces discovering the fair was an engaging experience for a first-timer like me at the popular book fair. For the sheer delight of engulfing yourself in an intellectually and creatively stimulating environ, don’t give this fair a miss. It is on till 10 February, so go ahead pile up some more books. And make sure you grab a 3D copy that interests you as well.
In an effort to recreate and revive the Indian classical theatre, National School of Drama is organising the performance of Abhignana Shakuntalam under the direction of Rita Ganguly, an eminent professor of the school. Sanskrit classical theatre has a highly developed theatre technique and its training is an integral part of NSD curriculum, giving an opportunity to the students to interpret contemporary theatre practice inspired by
Exercise can increase the production of a key protein that is likely to help in keeping the brain active as well as lower the risk of neurological diseases like dementia, a new study conducted on mice has found.The findings showed that during the rodents’ exercise routine, certain chemicals naturally build up in the brain and kick-start the production of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) – also called “Miracle-Gro” – for the brain because of its role in enhancing memory and the growth of nerve cells. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’“We believe that our study shows a precise biological mechanism behind increased BDNF production in mammals due to exercise,” said Moses Chao, professor at New York University, in the US.“Unravelling the mysteries of BDNF is important as we seek more ways to naturally keep mammalian brains healthy, including those of humans,” Chao added.Unravelling the mystery of BDNF production to naturally keep mammalian brains healthy, the researchers found that ketone – a chemical naturally produced in the liver called beta-hydroxybutyrate (DBHB) –, triggers biological reactions that activates the BDNF gene to produce more of its protein. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixAlso, this DBHB – which builds up in the body and brain with exercise – was found to prevent other proteins in the brain known as histone deacetylase complexes, or HDACs, from suppressing BDNF production by altering the environment of the BDNF gene. For the study, published online in the journal eLife, the team compared the brains of mice that had been allowed to run at will on a cage wheel for a month with the brains of mice that did not run. “Our findings suggest how we might boost production of miracle gro as studies have confirmed that doing so protects the brain,” Chao said.The researchers used commercially available psychiatric drugs already known to stabilize mood and prevent seizures by inhibiting histone deacetylase complexes and “open up” the otherwise “closed” gene, making it easier to trigger its action and increase production of miracle gro by as much as 50 per cent.
Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Register Now » This story appears in the June 2013 issue of . Subscribe » Michael Jacobs traveled to Bangalore, India, in the summer of 2012 to participate in a study-abroad program through the Eller College of Management at The University of Arizona. As part of his program, he attended networking events and toured local businesses. A senior in business management, Jacobs hoped to maintain the relationships he formed, but when attempting to connect online with the people he had met, he encountered a problem.”I couldn’t spell their names, and that made it impossible to find them on social networks,” he recalls. While working toward their target of 100,000 downloads, the partners are exploring several revenue models, including accepting ads and offering a premium version of the app.”Michael and Hector have been quick to embrace the notion that it’s not just about a cool idea as much as having the ability to focus on doing the work to make it viable,” explains Jane E. Robbins, senior lecturer with the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Arizona.Since launching SociaLink, the team has added a new function that allows users to connect via e-mail with those who don’t have the app. Jacobs and Rosales are hoping to raise $10,000 to upgrade the app, introduce an Android version and increase their marketing efforts.”It has changed the way we’re networking, and we want to spread that message to the world,” Rosales says.”We’re letting our passion guide us to push the product out and make it the best networking resource available.” Jacobs expressed his frustration to another student in his program, finance and economics major Hector Rosales. The pair came up with the idea for SociaLink, an app that uses Bluetooth for instant, in-person connections on multiple social networks simultaneously.Users connect SociaLink to their accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Tumblr. Making connections with another SociaLink user requires hitting the”connect” button and waiting for the other user to accept, linking multiple social networks with that one invitation.Even though they had the idea, Jacobs and Rosales needed help developing their app.”We decided to use the resources around us to our advantage,” Jacobs says. With three weeks to go on their program, the pair interviewed 15 app developers in Bangalore and hired one, paying the $5,000 fee with funds raised through their families.Leading up to the release of the free iPhone app in January, Jacobs and Rosales worked frantically to spread the word about SociaLink. Within two months of its release, the app hit 2,000 downloads. June 30, 2013 3 min read Relationship experts: SociaLink’s Michael Jacobs (left) and Hector Rosales. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals
18Jun Rep. Runestad honors 50th anniversary of Michigan’s district court system House Resolution 367 commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Michigan District Court system passed the Michigan House. The resolution was offered by Rep. Jim Runestad, members of the House Judiciary Committee and House members of the state bar.The resolution states, “In its first 50 years, the Michigan District Court system has proven to be comprised of fair-minded and thoughtful jurists who have served the people of Michigan capably and admirably. We honor the contributions that the Michigan District Court system has made to the state of Michigan.”Rep Runestad said: “Our local district courts provide an invaluable service to the residents of Michigan every day. This resolution provides a special opportunity to recognize the institutional influence and everlasting importance of our judicial court system.”The district court is often referred to as “The People’s Court,” as the public has more contact with the district court than with any other court in the state. Those appearing in district court are more often representing themselves without an attorney. District courts conduct preliminary examinations in felony cases prior to transfer to the circuit court and handle a wide range of criminal proceedings, including most misdemeanors and offences for which the maximum possible penalty does not exceed one year in jail.The Michigan District Court system was established by the passage of Public Act 154 of 1968, effective June 17, 1968, amending the Revised Judicature Act to create our state district court system. Categories: Runestad News