x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Isner and Young raise American hopes at the US Open

The 'Wimbledon Guy' and the upstart are looking good, and form a quartet of aspirants along with Roddick and Fish.

Donald Young will fancy his changes against Andy Murray, whom he beat earlier this year.
Donald Young will fancy his changes against Andy Murray, whom he beat earlier this year.

Someday, John Isner hopes to be known for more than his marathon match. Someday, Donald Young hopes he will grab attention as something other than the youngster who never lived up to the hype.

The two Americans working their way up the rankings are in the fourth round of the US Open. For Young, it is the furthest he has ever gone in a grand slam tournament. For Isner, it equals his deepest run.

Isner used his big serve to make 17 aces and defeat Alex Bogmolov Jr, his fellow American, 7-6, 6-4, 6-4 for his eighth successive victory in the last round. Young defeated Juan Ignacio Chela, the No 24 seed from Argentina, in straight sets - just two days after eliminating Stanislas Wawrinka.

Isner plays Gilles Simon next with a place in the quarter-finals at stake. Asked whether he is becoming better known as "John Isner" rather than "The Wimbledon Guy" for the record-setting 70-68 fifth set he won over Nicolas Mahut at the All England Club last year, he said: "Probably more so right now, 'The Wimbledon Guy'."

"Making the round of 16 is nice, but you don't get remembered for making the round of 16," he said. "You have to keep going on. That's my goal."

It is the same for Young, who joins Isner, Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish as part of the first quartet of US men in the final 16 at Flushing Meadows since 2003, the year Roddick won the title.

Back then, Young was on his way to becoming the world's top-ranked junior, and the best youngster the United States had. Expectations were high. But over the next several years, results did not follow.

Until this week, his biggest claim to fame in adult tennis may have been the expletive-laden tirade he delivered the United States Tennis Association (USTA) via Twitter about what he perceived as a snub in its awarding of a wild-card berth for this year's French Open.

Patrick McEnroe, the head of the USTA's development programme, responded by holding a conference call with reporters to demand an apology.

"It's not the way it should have been done," Young says now of the infamous tweet.

"But things are smooth now. We're all OK and great. So, hopefully, we can move forward."

It is hard to imagine US tennis would not want him in the mix. The 22 year old from Atlanta next plays Andy Murray, whom he beat earlier this year for his first victory over a top-10 player.

"It feels like a big corner's been turned, and I really hope it is," said Jim Courier, the US Davis Cup captain. "I hope he can take this momentum - however it goes here - and use it. It's not been as smooth a road as maybe some pictured for Donald, but he's showing what he can do now."

Roddick also had a straight sets victory, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 over Julien Benneteau to set up a match-up with David Ferrer, a 6-1, 6-2, 7-6 winner over Florian Mayer. Ferrer is the world No 5, a position which Roddick enjoyed until recently.

It will be the best test yet of how well Roddick is playing after a disappointing year filled with injuries. "There is a process to it," he said. "It doesn't always look pretty. I've won close to 600 matches, I promise you 450 have been of the ugly sort, but that's what I do well. I'm not going to apologise for it."

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