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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Kuznetsov Wins Wimbledon Boys Title with Three-Set Win Over Cox

Not much that I can add to the conversation after watching the longest fifth set in Grand Slam singles history. It was a phenomenal match that looked as if it might never end and it will define the 2009 Championships.

Qualifier Jordan Cox had won his own epic 16-14 final set match on Friday to reach the boys championship, but on Sunday he could not find the serve that had helped him beat Devin Britton and his previous six opponents, and he fell to unseeded Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.

I was listening to Guy McCrea and John Morris call the match on Wimbledon Radio while I watched the men's final on television, and once they had determined that both Cox and Kuznetsov had worked out their nerves, they began to analyze the strength of Cox's forehand against the strength of Kuznetsov's backhand. The difference in the first set, which didn't produce a deuce game until Cox was serving at 4-4, came when Cox saved a break point in that game, then converted his only chance at 30-40 in the next for the set.

Although Cox's first serve percentage actually went up during the match, he didn't get nearly enough big serves in and when he was broken in the fifth and seventh games, he gave Kuznetsov too many looks at second serves. In the third set, Cox was again broken in the fifth game, this time on a double fault at 30-40, and Kuznetsov never gave him an opportunity to regroup. Far from relaxing with a 4-2 lead, the 18-year-old Russian, that country's first Wimbledon boys champion since 1966, kept the pressure on and broke Cox despite his 40-0 lead in the seventh game. Morris was urging Cox to use his net skills more, saying that area was one where the American had the advantage, but without confidence in his serve, that proved too difficult for the 17-year-old from the Atlanta suburbs.

McCrea had some technical problems with the interview he did with Cox and was unable to provide the audio file of it, but he paraphrased their conversation in an email.

"Jordan was understandably still pretty upset when doing media afterward. We talked a little about the match - I suggested he seemed a bit mentally tired in the final set, but he chose to talk more about his serving letting him down. He said he didn't get enough free points and chances to come to net because his first serve wasn't at the level he'd shown through the week.

I then suggested he should be pleased with the week as a whole - with the seven wins in a row - but that didn't seem to resonate with him. He just said he was disappointed at not playing better after the opening set."

The interview of Kuznetsov was not done by McCrea, but he was able to provide us with a few remarks by the champion below. Because Kuznetsov has not played in the U.S. the past two years, I also don't have any photos of him for display either. But see the ITF Junior website for Susan Mullane's photos (click to enlarge) and for the article on the boys championship match. There is a video interview with Cox on usta.com.

In the doubles finals today, Noppawan Lertcheewakarn of Thailand matched Serena Williams's two championships when she and partner Sally Peers of Australia cruised past No. 2 seeds Kristina Mladenovic of France and Silvia Njiric of Croatia 6-1, 6-1. It was Lertcheewakarn's third junior slam doubles title with three different partners, on three different surfaces, so it's safe to say she's got a great future in the pro game in that specialty. She is also expected to overtake Mladenovic for the No. 1 spot in the world junior rankings tomorrow, which is where she finished at the end of 2008.

The boys doubles final went to extra games in the third set, and that was no surprise, as both teams had won their semifinal contests with extended final sets. Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France and Kevin Krawietz of Germany fought back to take a 6-7(3), 6-2, 12-10 victory from the French pair of Julien Obry and Adrien Puget.

For more on the doubles finals, and the boys singles championship, see wimbledon.org.


Brent said...

Early prediction on KZoo 18s seedings....

1. Ryan Harrison
2. Alex Domijan
3. Rhyne Williams
4. Devin Britton
5. Bradley Klahn
6. Denis Kudla
7. Tennys Sandgren
8. Evan King
9. Jordan Cox
10. Chase Buchanan
11. Harry Fowler
12. Mitchell Frank
13. Jarmere Jenkins
14. Junior Ore
15. Bo Seal
16. Bob Van Overbeek
17. JT Sundling
18. Dennis Novikov
19. Raymond Sarmiento
20. Matt Kandath
21. Ryan Lipman
22. Alex Llompart
23. Sean Berman
24. Jack Sock
25. Frank Saba
26. Connor Smith
27. Ian Chadwell
28. Lawrence Formentera
29. Zach Leslie
30. Dennis Lin
31. Sekou Bangoura
32. Walker Kehrer

This would leave the following dangerous floaters...

Ryan Noble
Marc Powers
Mousheg Hovhannisyan
Christian Harrison (assuming he plays 18s)
Kyle McMorrow
John Huang
Daniel Kosakowski
Clay Thompson

Klahn and Buchanan and Jenkins are the three who don't really fit well into the ATP, ITF, USTA tiered approach to seeding here. Should be interesting. Didn't realize the tourney was late this year so I may not be able to make it. That would be a bummer.

Colette Lewis said...

Klahn, Llompart and McMorrow aren't age-eligible this year, and I don't think Britton is going to play, but glad you're thinking about this.

Austin said...

has Rhyne Williams done anything this year?

No, Britton isnt playing, he said as much last week when he told McCrea Wimby was his last junior tournament.

KZOO Mania Has Begun said...

Here is my prediction of Top 16.
Please note--with Devin Britton winning NCAA's, I did not include him in the seedings.

1) Harrison (Highest ATP)
2) Domijan (2nd Highest ATP)
3) Buchanan(ATP 1010, 5th Kzoo'08)
4) Klahn (Quarters Kzoo'08)Pac10 W
5) Williams (Quarters Kzoo'08)
6) Jenkins (6th Kzoo'08)
7) Lipman (7th KZoo'08)High ITF'08
8) Kudla (Next highest ITF)
9) Sandgren (Next highest ITF)
10) King (Next highest ITF)
11) Cox (Next highest ITF)
12) Fowler (Next highest ITF)
13) Frank (Next highest ITF)
14) Ore (Next highest ITF)
15) Seal (Next highest ITF)
16) VanOverbeek (Next highest ITF)

Key Notables out are:

JT Sundling
Matthew Kandath
Raymond Sarmiento
Jack Sock
Amongst many others....

Going to be a deep KZOO

Brent said...

Colette, what are the rules on age eligible? Is it by month? Don't know why I thought it was just based on the tournament being scheduled to be completed before the 19th birthday. With Klahn's birthday on 8/20, thought he would then be eligible. Thanks for straightening me out.

10is said...

jack sock is going to play the boys 16s at kzoo.

Colette Lewis said...

It is the month that you turn 19 that determines eligibility for USTA competition held in that month.

Brent said...

Doesn't seem like as long a list of folks as usual who could legitimately either play 16s or 18s. Kudla, Frank, etc. are obviously playing 18s because of past success. Sounds like Sock is playing 16s according to the poster above. Berman I'm sure will play 18s. That seems to leave Novikov and Christian Harrison as the big ones who could go either way. Anybody else I'm forgetting about?

Colette Lewis said...

Junior Ore, but I'm pretty sure he's playing 18s.

BTW, just noticed that Daniel Nguyen is still eligible this year.