*Flushing, NY – Having trodden a very rocky path to get to New York, Donald Young, world no. 68 – down from no. 38 in 2012, had his dream run at the 2015 U.S. Open ended on Monday. He was defeated in singles in a day session match on Ashe by world no. 5 and 2015 French Open winner, Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka, 4-6, 6-1, 3-6, 4-6. He went down in both mixed (taking partner Taylor Townsend out with him)and men’s doubles as book ends, respectively, to the singles loss.
Donald Young had put together an inspiring campaign during this year’s competition at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center, reaching the fourth round in singles, the third round in men’s doubles and the second round in mixed doubles. His play was reminiscent of his junior’s glory (and the brief flicker of ATP glory in 2011). He even managed to come back from two sets to love down in two different matches to achieve those results … but he could only sustain it for so long. Reaching the upper echelons of the ATP roster in his quarterfinal match up exposed that there’s work yet to be done to compete consistently at that level.
“Stan is a quality opponent. I mean, 5 in the world. He’s won two Slams, including the French this year. He’s competed at the highest level consistently. To be playing at his level is going to take a little more than what I’m doing currently,” he said.
In their match, Stanislas Wawrinka took the first set only needing one break of serve to do so, but the second set wasn’t as straight forward. Young managed to get and early break to go up 3-1 as Stan’s level dropped, which caused the Suisse to snap a racquet in-two out of frustration. The American ended up capitalizing on his opponents loss of focus and went on to serve out the set, 6-1.
But it was only a temporary reprieve because Wawrinka had other gears that Young didn’t and it was only a matter of steadying himself to right his proverbial ship.
Young had beaten Stan before, but that was in 2011 and pre-Grand Slam-winner Stan and the increase in confidence was gonna make it tough to repeat the feat. The resilient American wasn’t being blown off the court, but he lacked the weapons to really hurt his elite opponent.
As mentioned, it had been Young’s way over this fortnight to lose the first one or two sets then come back from near-dead to win, but Monday’s match was different; it was all up to Stan, the more skilled player. The Suisse’s errors were high, but so were his winners … and his serve was bigger, so once he dialed in, Young was gonna be toast … and he did.
As was in his power to do, Stan turned up the heat in the third and rushed out to a 3-0 lead with a break … and he didn’t look back. Before you could blink, the reigning French Open champ was up 5-0 with Young on serve. Young held and broke Stan for 2-5 – trying to earn some momentum to take into the 4th set, then eked out an additional hold for 3-5. But a botched return in the first point of the next game paved the way for Stan to easily hold to love and the take the third set. He went up, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.
Any momentum Young thought he’d earned was quenched, as he surrendered his first service game of the next set. Young is a crowd player, but he hadn’t given them any incentive to get into the match. Down love-30, the American won the next four points and held for 1-2 – bringing the crowd in at least a little, but he was unable to consistently get into Stan’s service games to turn the tide.
Things steadied for a spell with alternating holds with Stan still with the break and the lead, 4-3. Then came an easy hold for Stan for 5-3, but Young clapped back with an easy one of his own for 4-5. The Suisse no. 2 was then just one hold away from reaching the semis.
A net clipper landed on Stan’s side of the net…giving Young a glimmer of “fortune” hope, but turns out it didn’t help. He saved one match point, but lost the remaining one and so went his last match at the 2015 U.S. Open.
It was a good run, but was cut short by a better and more experienced player.
“I’m working hard lately, but just, you know, hadn’t come yet. It comes in spurts. But like I say, I’m looking to be a little more consistent. This was a good step in the right direction for me.”
Consolation: he goes home a few 100k richer.
That about did it for Americans left in the draw on the men’s side, as John Isner lost to Roger Federer, 7-6(7), 7-6(8), 7-5, in the last night match on Ashe.
But as is amazingly common, on the women’s side carrying the USA banner, Serena Williams still remains – as well as her resilient sister Venus Williams – but as of this time tomorrow, only one will be left standing.
Young commented on the match up:
“It’s awesome for any people from the same family to be competing at the highest level. So that is super rare. Doesn’t happen. I don’t know if it will ever happen again.”
The sisters battle it out for a spot in the semis at 7pm EST on Tuesday inside Arthur Ashe Stadium.