Young Leads American Charge in Paris

May 29, 2014 01:16 PM
Donald Young upset Feliciano Lopez to reach the third round at Roland Garros

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Roland Garros is turning into a good tournament for the American men, helped not least by Donald Young’s run through to the third round. The 24-year-old Young came into the clay-court Grand Slam championship having never won a match on red clay outside the United States, and finds himself in the last 32 after upsetting No. 26 seed Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 7-6(1), 6-3 on Thursday in Paris.

“To beat a quality player like Feliciano is awesome as well,” said Young. “And definitely to be in the third round is something I've never done. I have actually never won a match outside of the U.S. on red clay. So to win two here at the French Open, it means a lot.”

World No. 79 Young also made a run to the third round at the Australian Open in January, falling to Kei Nishikori. The left-hander is hopeful that, after a rocky progression onto the ATP World Tour following a highly successful junior career, he is starting to understand what he needs to do to rise up the Emirates ATP Rankings.

“I feel like I play better against higher level players," said the Chicago native, a family friend of rising WTA star Taylor Townsend. "I just feel like I put the work in and I'm playing well. I'm just letting my game flow and do what it does.

“Now I'm starting to play better,” continued Young, who has been working this season with Craig Boynton, as well as his parents. “Not better but more consistent than before. Whenever it comes, I'm going to be there and ready and happy it happens.

“So I'm not going to be mad it didn't happen earlier, because that's in the past and I can only deal with what's in the future.”

Young goes on to face the conqueror of Stan Wawrinka, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who backed up his upset victory over the Australian Open champion by defeating France’s Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0.

With Jack Sock winning an all-American second-round clash with Steve Johnson 7-5, 6-4, 6-2 to reach the third round in Paris for the first time, and American No. 1 John Isner through to a third-round match-up with Tommy Robredo, Young spies an opportunity for the Americans to enjoy yet more success on the dirt in Paris.

“I think it's great,” said Young. “The guys are playing well. Obviously the draw helps out a lot in tournaments like this. Everybody can easily play a Top 10 guy, except for John, and go out.

“The draws have really opened up with Steve and Jack. I think with [Tommy] Haas going out, it's definitely opened up. They have the potential to make the fourth round. With Wawrinka going out in my half, it's not like it's an insurmountable task for me to make the fourth round as well. But I'm going to take it one match at a time and see how it goes.”