Tag Archive: Donald Young


A very long List today. Since a lot of players’ seasons have already been shuttered, those who did play last week stood to gain a lot vs. those dormant others. Thus, there’s a whole lotta career highs to get to today. So let’s get to them!

Player NATIONALITY Age New High Why
Alejandro Gonzalez COL 24 91 CTF F
Oleksandr Nedovyesov UKR 26 93 CTF SF
Bradley Klahn USA 23 97 Yokohama SF
Dominic Thiem AUT 20 121 others lost points
Facundo Bagnis ARG 23 123 Lima F
Facundo Arguello ARG 21 124 Lima QF
Peter Polansky CAN 25 140 others lost points
Victor Estrella DOM 33 143 Guayaquil QF
Pierre Hugues-Herbert FRA 22 151 Yokohama SF
Guilherme Clezar BRA 20 156 CTF RR
Gerald Melzer AUT 23 178 others lost points
Sam Groth AUS 26 183 Champaign F
Tennys Sandgren USA 22 187 Champaign W
Damir Dzumhur BIH 21 189 others lost points
Pedro Sousa POR 25 199 Guayaquil F
Mohamed Safwat EGY 23 206 Egypt F32 W
Lorenzo Giustino ITA 22 232 others lost points
Axel Michon FRA 22 239 Egypt F32 F
Kimmer Coppejans BEL 19 254 Yokohama R2
Andrea Collarini ARG 21 257 Lima R2
Egor Gerasimov BLR 21 267 Helsinki QF
Hiroki Kondo JPN 31 275 Yokohama FQR
Adrian Sikora SVK 25 295 others lost points
Ante Pavic CRO 24 297 Helsinki R2
Janez Semrajc SLO 24 300 Croatia F14 F

So what do we make of this uber-long List?

Well, first of all, a hardy “Welcome to the Top 100!” is in order for Colombia’s Alejandro Gonzalez and American Bradley Klahn. Gonzalez, who lost to Filippo Volandri in the Challenger Tour Finals, is the sixth Colombian to ever break into the One Hundred Club.

AGon The Conqueror

AGon The Conqueror

Klahn, the three-time All-American out of Stanford, finishes his first full year on tour in superb form, going Finalist, Champion and Semifinalist in Traralgon, Yeongwol and Yokohama respectively — a run that saw him rise 26 rungs on the ATP Rankings ladder.

Behind John Isner and Sam Querrey, the Americans are now tightly bunched, with Tim Smyczek at #89, Michael Russell #92, Donald Young #96 and Klahn at #97.  Furthermore, Klahn has now assured his entry into the main draw at next year’s Australian Open, where the cutoff is ATP #105. Our pals at Footsoldiers of Tennis have the latest breakdown of who’s chasing ATPoints at the three Challenger events this week, in order to join Klahn in the main draw.

The Wrath of Klahn - photo courtesy of Aceland Tennis

The Wrath of Klahn – photo courtesy of Aceland Tennis

Next, we see that tennis’s Facundos are still doing just fine, although they’ll need to qualify at next year’s first Slam.  But at least they’ll be seeded. Click here if you’re still unsure about who the Fac they are.

Clearly congrats are in order for Victor Estrella, who’s the Tommy Haas of the Challenger Tour, finding success well into his thirties. A new career high at age 33 is nothing to sneeze at*.

Sweet Victory

Sweet Victor-y

Lastly, congrats to Sam Groth and Tennys Sandgren, whose bubbly Champaign Challenger success (finalist and champion, respectively) resulted in dual breakthroughs into the vaunted Top One Hundred Eighty Seven.

I Will Not Make A Tennys Pun.

I Will Not Make A Tennys Pun

Groth’s breakthrough has been a long time coming, as he’s dabbled in the 200’s for significant periods of time every year since 2008. As the now seventh-ranked Aussie, he inserts himself prominently into the wildcard discussion for the Oz Open.

Champaign Wishes And Caviar Dreams

Champaign Wishes And Caviar Dreams

Welp, there are many more stories I can tell of those in the lower reaches of this week’s W.A.T.C.H. List, but this article is already long enough, don’t you think?  If I’m inspired, I’ll write a sequel.  So check back often!***

*Unless you have a cold, in which case: sneeze away!**

**Your monitor also doubles as a sneeze guard.

***Chances are <1% that I’ll write a sequel, so use your best judgment here.

It’s a big week, and a big list, so let’s cut right to it:

Player NATIONALITY Age New High
Federico Delbonis ARG 23 56
Edouard Roger-Vasselin FRA 29 64
Jack Sock USA 21 78
Julian Reister GER 27 88
Tim Smyczek USA 25 91
Dominic Thiem AUT 20 146
Facundo Bagnis ARG 23 148
Facundo Arguello ARG 21 152
Marco Cecchinato ITA 21 161
Radu Albot MDA 23 174
Nick Kyrgios AUS 18 177
Norbert Gombos SVK 23 195
Blaz Rola SLO 23 201
Marton Fucsovics HUN 21 230
Enrique Lopez-Perez ESP 22 236
Lorenzo Giustino ITA 22 250
Daniel Cox GBR 23 254
Valery Rudnev RUS 25 257
Hiroki Kondo JPN 30 276
Chase Buchanan USA 22 282
Kimmer Coppejans BEL 19 286
Thiago Monteiro BRA 19 287
Mikhail Biryukov RUS 21 292
Bjorn Fratangelo USA 20 293

Normally the list only (arbitrarily) charts career high rankings from #60 to #300ish, but I’m including Federico Delbonis for sentimental reasons. And because he’s the highest-ranked player who follows me on Twitter.  So IF YOU WANT TO GET ON THIS LIST, TOP 60, YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW ME!

Because You Gotta Have Fede

Because You Gotta Have Fede

I also listed Delbo because he’s Argentinian, just like 33% of rest of this List’s Top 10.  As with every week, the Argies keep on comin’; since I started the List again about a month ago, there’s not been a single week that it hasn’t included at least one Argentine, and usually it’s many more than that.  In fact, I doubt there will be a week in the next few months in which the Argies won’t barge into the List.

Since I didn’t highlight him last week, I want to highlight Tim Smyczek this week, as breaking into the Top 100 was a big goal of his.  Last week he entered the Top 100 right at 100, but this past week’s Sacramento Challenger finalist showing (l. to Donald Young) pushes him well into the Top 100 at #91.

Speaking of The Donald (as I was above in parentheses), I paid everyone a disservice on Twitter when I broadcast my calculation that he’d be returning to the Top 100 at ~#98 as a result of his Sacramento title.  I still don’t know exactly how I missed it (it seems 10 points came off his ranking, but I didn’t see that as of last night), but Donald tragically languishes around #103 this week — not 98.

While it’s still far from Young’s career high, he’s been on quite the buttery roll lately; he’s now won ten consecutive matches for the first time in his pro career.

A Young Champion

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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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Ah, the excitement. The first challenger of the year on Floridian soil, and I intend to cover the hell out of it – even though the forecast this weekend is for near-record 92 degrees Fahrenheit/33.3 degrees Celsius temperatures (speaking of hell). I know challenger tourneys in the USA can sometimes be challenging to follow from afar, due to lack of livescore or livestream, etc., but the Tally Chally really does have their act together, coverage-wise.

Their website is one of the better sites on the Challenger Tour, and they have a very active Twitter account that will no doubt keep you updated on the latest happenings. In addition, they’ve had a strong media presence already in the lead up to the tournament, and that bodes well as far as their online presence as the event unfolds. Tournament director Karen Vogter has already been featured prominently on local TV, even taking a turn as a celebrity chef! Anyone for goat cheese with sun-dried tomatoes? Karen’s got you covered.

The Tall Chall is in their 12th year, and they have a rich roster of past champions: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Mardy Fish, and John Isner among them. Brian Dabul beat Robbie Ginepri in the final of last year’s event, when Ginepri was felled by injury and had to retire in the second set. The big news this year, of course, is that James Blake has accepted a wild card into the tourney.

James will be joined by such players as Donald Young, Sarajevo Challenger titlist Amer Delic, Dallas Challenger champ (and, along with Young, another Andy Murray conquerer) Alex Bogomolov Jr., Ryan Sweeting – who’s still alive in the ATP Houston quarterfinals, having just taken out Sam Querrey – and Rainer Schuettler. You can check out the full roster at the bottom of my tournament entry list page. In addition to hosting some great tennis action, they have an amazingly altruistic community presence, hosting free clinics and giving money they raise back to the community.

Ryan Swatting: Sweeting at the Tally Chally

But however much the tournament hosts cover, I intend to supplement it. ‘Cause I’m that kind of guy. I’ll be keeping close tabs on the qualifying action this weekend, and if you live in the area, you can too. Qualifying rounds are free to the public, and feature some of the next great up-and-coming stars of the future. I highly suggest you check it out if you’re anywhere nearby (or even moderately far away – I myself am driving six hours to the event, so if you live closer than that I expect to see you there, haha).

The tournament takes place at the Forestmeadows Tennis Complex, located at 4750 North Meridian Road (in Tallahassee, of course). I’ll be the guy with the dorky Vero Beach baseball cap and the black rimmed glasses – feel free to approach/accost me as needed!

ATL AO WC Playoffs Quarterfinal Recap

What an amazing day of tennis at the Racquet Club of the South today!  I was not able to see the ladies play, but I was able to go around the club and see all four of the men’s matches. Rhyne Williams really brought his A game but to be honest I really wasn’t expecting anything less from him.  He is fresh off his win from the Intercollegiate Championships in N.Y. and honestly when I saw him in person, I was a little taken aback.  He’s very tall and very quick on his feet.  He is going places for sure and is someone to keep your eye on.  Williams beat the second seed Tim Smyczek 6-4, 6-0. Wow!

Williams with Coach Chris Woodruff after his win. (photo courtesy of Volstennis twitter)

The match that I saw the least of was Denis Kudla and Jordan Cox, but I sat and watched them play table tennis in the players lounge after their match.  Such unpretentious guys and very eager to answer any questions that I put to them.  Cox is now living in Florida at Bollettieri’s Academy and Kudla is training in Boca right now, but still calls his home Northern Virginia and loves it here.  Kudla will next play Jack Sock in the semifinals.

Speaking of Sock, Jack was on fire today.  He was up 4-0 in the first set and then hurt his hip somehow and I could tell it caused him some discomfort.  Young came back after that, and the match ended up going three sets.  Young lost the match with a double fault and then smashed his racquet into the ground not once, not twice, but three times to really make certain it was broken.  What was so inspiring to me during that match was Sock’s passion. The fist pumping, the C’mon’s!  I absolutely loved it and it was so much fun to watch.  What a cute, cute kid he is, and boy does he really have some talent.  America should be so proud to call him our own.

The final of the four matches was the Ryan Harrison and Michael Shabaz battle. Those two went head to head and Harrison had match point in the second set, but Shabaz refused to surrender and killed the ball to take it to a tiebreak. It was such a fun match to watch.  Harrison is as passionate as Sock but probably has a little more arrogance about him than Jack.  It was good though… all good.  Harrison is very sure of himself and that confidence is going to take him far, no doubt.

So, the semi’s start tomorrow at 1 p.m. EST on Sat.  I am so excited to see these matches so stay tuned for more fun and awesomeness to come!

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