November 26, 2015

Donald Young Reaches Citi Open Quarterfinals

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Donald Young photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

By Dave Gertler

(July 31, 2014) WASHINGTON, DC – Donald Young has bounced back from a four-match losing streak to find redemption at the Citi Open this week, where today’s win over Denis Istomin places him in his second ATP quarterfinal of 2014.

“I had to fight some nerves, and it’s tough to play an opponent who you can visually see was not on top of his game,” said Young of Istomin who appeared exhausted at times throughout the match, “I asked him at the end. He said he was a little tired.”

The 25-year-old American broke his opponent late in the first set, before consolidating the break – and the set – with a love service game, taking the opener 6-3.

Aforementioned losing streak aside, Young has found himself on a mid-career upswing in the last 12 months, and has raised his ranking from outside the top 150 to where it is now at No.73, mostly through wins at Challenger level.

Along with his second-round win against Julien Benneteau yesterday, today’s win against Istomin means Young now has an even 7-7 win/loss record against top-50 players in 2014, a sure sign he himself is heading in that direction.

“It’s been three years since I’ve been in the top 50,” said Young, “It took me a while to get my head together. Next time I get there – which I think I will – I want to stay and be consistent, at least for a good part of the rest of my career.”

Istomin swung the momentum in his favor in the second set, capitalizing on an early break and holding the advantage for 6-3, but with the Grandstand One crowd well and truly behind him, Young outlasted Istomin in the decider, proving more physically equipped than his opponent to gain the advantage in the majority of their long baseline duels.

Closing out the match, however, required a different approach. Young said his strategy on this crucial 5-3 service game was to, “Put some good first serves in, be aggressive, move forward. When I move forward, the nerves don’t have a chance to kick in, ‘cause it’s so instinctive.”

Now enjoying his sixth career appearance in Rock Creek Park, the 6-foot former junior world No.1 from Georgia is hoping to outdo his 2011 run to the Citi Open semi-final, but to reach that stage in 2014, he’ll need to turn the tables on his next opponent, Kevin Anderson, who has beaten Young the last five times they’ve played.

It was a good day for American men at the Citi Open, with Young, as well as Steve Johnson getting through to the quarter-finals, Johnson taking out 9th seed Ivo Karlovic in three sets and two hours.


Rafael Nadal Makes Quick Work of Denis Istomin

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(March 24, 2014) Rafael Nadal may have received a warning for slow play, but he made quick work of disposing of Denis Istomin 6-1, 6-0 in 59 minutes to reach the fourth round of the Sony Open on Monday.

“I played a very complete match,” the world No. 1 said.  “Talking about the things that you can do well in the tennis court, today I think I did the most ‑‑ not every one because not match is perfect, but I did a lot of things very well.  No mistakes, serving with good percentage, and playing a lot of winners.

“My movements were better than what I did last event events.  That’s a very important thing for me.  I am happy to be in that fourth round, winning not against an easy opponent like Istomin, a tough one, that way.  It’s impossible win with that result if I don’t play well.”

Next for Spaniard is Italian Fabio Fognini.

“He’s an opponent, very uncomfortable opponent,” Nadal said.  “He’s an opponent that is playing great.  He has an amazing talent.  Great forehand, great backhand, especially the forehand, but he’s able to hit winners from every part of the court.

“So he’s an opponent sometimes that can be unpredictable, and is difficult to play against these kind of players ‑ especially when they are playing well and Fognini is playing well.

“I need to try to let him play with ‑‑ if he wants to play, try to find the winners, and I need to try to let him play from not easy positions.  If he’s playing with comfortable positions will be very difficult for me.”


Andy Murray and Stanislas Wawrinka Move into US Open Quarterfinals

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(September 3, 2013) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – No. 3 seed Andy Murray and No. 9 seed Stanislas Wawrinka overcame rough starts to advance to the quarterfinals on Tuesday night at the US Open.

Defending champion Murray stopped No. 65 Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 on a windy Tuesday night while Wawrinka hit 14 aces in a a 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (6), 6-2 win  over No. 5 Tomas Berdych. Scot Murray and Swiss Wawrinka will face off against each other for a spot in the semifinals of Flushing Meadows.

Istomin who was making his debut in a Grand Slam fourth round, initially gave Murray problems. The highlight of the evening for the Usbek was when he hit a between-the-legs shot as Murray was close to leveling the match at a  set apiece.

“Started well,” Berdych said. “I made the first set, but then I would say, yeah, Stan starts to play very well and very solid and many things doesn’t work from my game that I would like to.

“You know, when the opponent is that solid like Stan was playing today, then, it’s not enough.”

“That’s for sure my best year,” Wawrinka said. “Today I was playing really good tennis. As I said before the tournament, I think I play my best tennis ever. I had one or two first round. Tough mentally, especially to get the confidence back. But today I was really confident with my game, and I was playing really good. I think my best match against Tomas. It’s never easy to play him, but I did a good job. I was feeling really better than him.”

“This year is confidence, for sure,” the Swiss explained. “I had tough beginning of the year, but in the same time was really positive for me because I was playing great tennis. I had some tough loss, but I was still working out. I think the title in Portugal against David Ferrer in the final helped me a lot with my confidence to pass the next level. Since then, I’m feeling really good on the court.”

Wawrinka was asked about being the last Swiss player remaining and about his countryman Roger Federer’s upset loss the night before.

“It’s a different situation, for sure,” the Swiss said. “I’m really happy with me for myself with the year, what I’m doing right now, but I will prefer to have him still playing in the tournament, you know. I watched his match yesterday and it was not that good. I was sad for him, because he’s a good friend and I like when he’s winning Grand Slam titles. I hope he will come back stronger.

On playing Wawrinka in the quarterfinals Murray said: “I’ll need to play a good match. He’s improved I think this year quite a bit. Some of the things he didn’t do so well before he’s improved. So he has less weaknesses. You know, he’s more experienced now. You know, he has a very good backhand. He serves well. You know, he’s solid up at the net. He makes a lot of returns. He makes it very tricky for you. He’s a top player. It will be a very tough match for me.”

Murray leads in the head-to-head record against Wawrinka 8-5. They are 1-1 when playing each other at the US Open.