Tag Archive: Alex Kuznetsov


Hello friends. It’s Monday again, that wonderful day in which we delve into a tradition unlike any other — the W.A.T.C.H. List.  The time is now to see Who’s Achieved Their Career Highs this week*:

Player NATIONALITY Age New High
Julian Reister GER 27 90
Tim Smyczek USA 25 100
Alejandro Gonzalez COL 24 106
Alex Kuznetsov USA 26 120
Dominic Thiem AUT 20 149
Facundo Bagnis ARG 23 151
Marco Cecchinato ITA 21 162
Guilherme Clezar BRA 20 171
Radu Albot MDA 23 179
Pierre-Hugues Herbert FRA 22 186
Mohamed Safwat EGY 23 239
Filip Peliwo CAN 19 251
Valery Rudnev RUS 25 259
Theodoros Angelinos GRE 29 292
Mikhail Biryukov RUS 21 293
Bjorn Fratangelo USA 20 294
Alexander Rumyantsev RUS 21 295
Roman Jebavy CZE 23 297
Egar Gerasimov BLR 20 313
Emilio Gomez ECU 21 315

First of all, it’s really nice to see Alex Kuznetsov charting a career high again, after everything he’s been through.  If you’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about, or if you’d just like a handy guide as to how one differentiates Alex Kuznetzov from Andrey Kuznetsov, you’re in luck: I wrote all the answers here.

Next of all, your Sibiu Challenger runner-up, Marco Cecchinato, upjumps 22 rungs on the rankings ladder to #162.  And I continue to insist he looks like an Italian version of Stanislas Wawrinka. You be the judge: yes or no?

Cecch A Rising Star

Cecch A Rising Star

Thirdly, in the excellent book The Geography of Blissauthor Eric Weiner contends that (SPOILER ALERT!!) Moldova is the world’s unhappiest country.  If that’s indeed the case, then maybe Moldovan Radu Albot’s continuous rise will offer some solace.  The former junior combined #11 is up 46 places to ATP #179 this week, courtesy of his Fergana Challenger title.

Not Just A Partial Bot -- Radu Is ALBOT

Not Just A Partial Bot — Radu Is ALBOT

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For the past couple of days, I’ve found myself wondering about just how advantageous home court advantage is in tennis.  Does it confer the same enormous weight as it does in team sports like football and basketball?

Yesterday, I finally started to look for answers. Since I found no sites online that distinguish between home and away records in tennis (and if there is one, please let me know so I can feel silly about having done all this work), I decided to do my own research on the matter. Here’s what I found:

Player Home Hard Court Win% Away Hard Court Win% Home Clay Win % Away Clay Win % Home Grass Win % Away Grass Win % Overall Home Win % Overall Away Win % % of matches played at home
Jack Sock 54.55% 50.00% 65.79% 62.50% 50.00% 33.33% 56.29% 52.94% 89.88%
Michael Russell 63.04% 56.48% 62.81% 44.04% 58.33% 42.86% 63.35% 48.75% 68.37%
Denis Kudla 56.73% 61.54% 55.56% 45.45% 42.86% 58.62% 57.29% 56.60% 78.97%
Tim Smyczek 57.27% 61.11% 59.26% 0.00% 66.67% 55.00% 57.47% 52.27% 91.63%
Ryan Harrison 58.46% 57.14% 53.85% 45.45% 55.56% 50.00% 55.88% 51.61% 68.69%
Rajeev Ram 49.50% 53.00% 35.71% 33.33% 70.00% 34.48% 52.17% 48.24% 71.99%
Rhyne Williams 50.62% 40.00% 59.46% 62.50% 0.00% 40.00% 54.59% 55.88% 84.47%
Alex Kuznetsov 54.84% 52.50% 61.73% 25.00% 62.50% 53.33% 55.21% 46.94% 83.04%
Wayne Odesnik 62.24% 51.28% 70.59% 58.08% N/A 50.00% 62.56% 56.36% 64.40%
Bradley Klahn 65.98% 50.00% 41.18% 50.00% 0.00% 50.00% 59.52% 50.00% 92.65%
Donald Young 58.05% 57.50% 56.00% 0.00% 40.00% 36.36% 57.07% 47.73% 81.55%
Bobby Reynolds 61.87% 56.00% 53.85% 27.27% 40.00% 53.66% 60.15% 51.38% 82.73%
Steve Johnson 58.14% 72.73% 47.06% 60.00% 50.00% 75.00% 57.03% 69.23% 83.12%
Austin Krajicek 58.09% 76.47% 65.22% 33.33% N/A N/A 60.22% 65.22% 89.00%
Brian Baker 53.70% 53.33% 87.14% 73.33% 66.67% 61.54% 64.07% 59.57% 83.09%
Robby Ginepri 58.02% 50.00% 48.15% 45.65% 69.23% 39.02% 56.99% 50.26% 66.26%
Tennys Sandgren 63.11% 40.00% 55.17% 16.67% N/A N/A 59.56% 27.27% 94.33%
Bjorn Fratangelo 46.94% N/A 63.64% 75.00% N/A N/A 57.66% 75.00% 89.54%

And yeah, I know that table is hard to read. Alas, my wordpress/HTML tabling skills aren’t what they could be.  To that end, I had to eliminate the “Indoor Home Win Percentage” and the “Indoor Away Win Percentage” columns in order to make room for the rest.  If you’re desperate for that information, I’ll be happy to email it to you.

To make things slightly more legible/enjoyable, I’ve colorfully highlighted the numbers I’m focusing on.  If you’re interested in the methodology behind how I arrived at these numbers, do please check the footnote*.

But within this horrid chart, the first thing that jumps out at me is:

Three of the four players who have a better winning percentage outside North America than they do within have something in common — can you spot it?  That’s right: they all played collegiate tennis. Rhyne Williams, Stevie Johnson and Austin Krajicek all have better records in far-flung regions than they do in the American North.

Steve Johnson and Rhyne Williams, NCAA Trophies In Hand

Steve Johnson and Rhyne Williams, NCAA Trophies In Hand

This suggests a few things.  First, the learning curve isn’t as steep transitioning to the pro game from college. This could be because a) they’re more familiar with playing against hostile crowds and people cheering against them (those of you who watch college tennis will know of what I speak); b) their bodies are more developed and physically able to keep up with the men as they begin life on the pro tour; c) their strategic sense is more developed or; d) all of the above. I lean toward “d”, myself, but I’m open to other suggestions.

(Author’s note: yes, I know Tennys Sandgren’s match record away from home flings a statistical wrench at my theory.  However, Sandgren is the American who plays the largest percentage of his matches on U.S. ground, and I don’t consider eleven matches (3 wins, 8 losses) to be a large enough sample size to be statistically relevant.  So my theory remains largely undamaged.  I think.  Maybe. You be the judge.)

Does Tennys Sandgren's Winning % Away From Home Make My Theory A Stretch?

Does Tennys Sandgren’s Winning Percentage Away From Home Make My Theory A Stretch?

You also may notice a red-highlighted Bjorn Fratangelo hangin’ a hefty 75 percent win rate in the foreign soil column.  In this case, the word “soil” is the key to figuring out that stat; e.g. the 2011 French Open Boys Champion is a red clay hound, and there ain’t hardly many red clay courts Stateside.  So he and his team have done a great job finding the proper venues through which he can find success.

The above numbers also give Ryan Harrison a couple of boosts he might be in need of these days: Harrison is the only “young gun” to play over 30% of his matches away from home. Only  the older guys like Robby Ginepri, Wayne Odesnik, and Michael Russell have played a similar schedule. Plus, Ryan has a winning record both at home and on the road.

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Know Your Kuznetsovs – A Field Guide

Due to this Sky Sports article, featuring an alleged picture of Andrey Kuznetsov when it is, in fact, a picture of Alex Kuznetsov, I’m guessing a primer is in order on how to properly differentiate the two.

Here’s a screenshot as insurance in case they correct their article

For the record, they are not related. They’ve never met on the court, and I’d be shocked if they’ve ever met off of it. At the absolute most, they are very distant Kuzn’s. But let’s review:

Alex Kuznetsov is a 24-year-old American tennis player, currently ranked #199 in the world. A former Top Ten junior, AlKuz was once on the fast track, working out with Andy Roddick and attending Miami Heat games with RAndy, Mandy (Moore) and Roddick’s then-coach Brad Gilbert. For those with long memories, you might also recall him as a hitting partner with that year’s US Davis Cup team.

Unfortunately, fate found Alex a quick and cruel exit off the fast track, in the form of a single car collision with a tree that sent him straight into surgery with a broken right thigh. A titanium rod was inserted in his leg, and the promising player was off the courts for three months afterward. He was still able to team up with Scott Oudsema to win a round in the US Open dubs just four months after that, and he made it to the third round of the USO juniors that year (where he was beaten by Tim Smyczek).

Sadly, after that quick recovery, Alex found it hard to recapture his once-promising form. One year later, after winning one challenger but struggling otherwise, he got a WC to the USO main draw where he was ever-so-ironically defeated in the first round by Tommy Haas, who knows a few things about coming back from leg injuries.

These days, Alex is again on the rise, attaining a high of 158 just a couple of weeks ago. He made the finals of the Honolulu Challenger in January (losing to Ryan Harrison) and the semis of the Dallas Challenger last month.

Alex Kuznetsov at the Dallas Challenger

Andrey Kuznetsov is a 20-year-old Russian tennis player, currently ranked #244, with a high of 163 (last August). He is one of my 2011 Challenger Tennis Players To Watch (the first, in fact), and – since I’m too lazy to cut and paste my material – everything you ever wanted to know about him, words and pictures, audio and video can be found here.

Andrey Kuznetsov

The short version, in case you’re too lazy to click: he won junior Wimbledon.

Since I wrote the above-linked profile, he’s had just an OK year, going 9/5 and only really catching fire in Casablanca with today’s win over second seed Marcos Baghdatis.

Now, I’ll grant the good people of Sky Sports this: while Andrey was winning the juniors at Britain’s prestigious “W” tourney (hint: Wimbledon), on this side of the pond Alex was winning ours. That’s right: he won the Winnetka Challenger that very same week, unseeded, beating a top seed along the way – just like Andrey did! So maybe they were thinking of that. Yeah, I’m sure that’s it. Could happen to anyone. Plus they’re both brunettes. With birthdays in February.

Anywho, I’ll be watching Alex at the Tallahassee Challenger next week in case more photographic evidence is needed for this study. In the meantime, feel free to review this lesson as much as is helpful. There might be an exam.

So.  Hello.  I’m pretty sure it’s not me you’re looking for either.  And I know I’m supposed to be driving to Florida right now, but the Northeast is getting slammed with snow – bamboozled by blizzard, we are! – so I’m (Tom) delayed for one more day. Which means, despite my procuring of the finest guest-hosting talents (and they are doing a spectacular job), you are stuck with me for one more day. I don’t know what to do with myself, other than sully my site with more of my words. Therefore, I proudly present to you my Australian Open men’s qualifying day one wrap-up – cabin fever edition:

I was able to wake up in the middle of the night and watch the livestream of the John Millman v Sebastian Rieschick match as well as the Greg Jones v Olivier Patience contest. Then I fell asleep again (sorry Gooch!) Turns out that Greg and the Mailman were the only Aussies to come good out of the twelve who played yesterday.

That’s right, two wins out of twelve. Maverick Banes, Matt Reid, Chris Guccione, Sean Berman, Sam Groth, James Duckworth, Ben Mitchell, Luke Saville, James Lemke, and Brydan Klein all lost. Ouch. All Ozzed up, and no place to go. In fairness, Mitchell’s effort (some of which I saw) was superb, taking top seeded Blaz Kavcic to 4-6 in the third set. And Saville lost to a red hot Nicola Mahut. 

Benny Mitchell – Will He Escape From Full Screen Mode?

So I’m especially glad to have seen the rare instances of Aussome success in all their glory. And they were glorious indeed. If ever a match could be called “classic John Millman”, this match vs. Rieschick was the one. The Mailman seemed dogged by the conditions early, and easily distracted by “fans” with highly questionable etiquette. His shots were landing short in the court, and his opponent was taking those short balls and teeing off, making more than he missed.

Thus, the amiable Queenslander found himself down a set and a break, with the burly German serving for the match, when he was granted a rain-delay reprieve. After an hour or so break, Milkman came out raring to go, a noticeable spring in his step that was absent pre-precip. Maybe he enjoyed some caffeine during his break. I offer this as evidence for my hypothesis:

Meanwhile, Rieschick was nowhere to be found, and ambled out onto the court a good five minutes or so after John did. When play resumed, Mailman overcame match point, shoddy line calls, and dodgy inter-game spectator migrations to break twice and take the second set 7-5. Rieschick also could no longer find the court – that helped, too.

The third set opened with three straight breaks, Sebastian settled a bit more into his game after an extended walkabout during the previous frame’s conclusion.

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