YOUNG INTO FIRST GRAND SLAM FINAL
AT FRENCH OPEN
Ashley Marshall | June 8, 2017
After 13 years on the professional tour, Donald Young will look to secure his first career title this weekend on one of the biggest stages in tennis.
Donald Young and Mexico’s Santiago Gonzalez defeated Fernando Verdasco of Spain and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia, 6-7, 7-5, 6-3, on Thursday in the semifinals of the men's doubles at the French Open.
It marks the first time Young has made a Grand Slam final. He had previously reached the fourth round of the US Open in singles play in 2011 and 2015, but he had not been past the round of 16 in men’s doubles at a major. Young did, however, win Grand Slam junior titles in singles at the 2005 Australian Open and 2007 US Open and in doubles at the 2005 US Open.
In total, Young has appeared in two tour singles finals and one doubles final, the most recent of which was in 2015.
He reached the round of 16 in doubles of the past two majors, in Melbourne in January (with Sam Querrey) and New York last Septmeber (with Nicholas Monroe).
Young won three doubles titles on the Challenger circuit between 2007 and 2010 but has concentrated more on singles throughout his career. He is currently ranked No. 51 in the world in the ATP singles rankings after peaking at No. 38 in February 2012 and is No. 180 in doubles after peaking at No. 100 in September 2015.
On Thursday, Verdasco and Zimonjic won four of the final five points of the first-set tiebreak to claim the opening set, but Young and Gonzalez responded by earning a crucial break at 5-6 in the 12th game of the second to send the match into a decider. A lone break in the second game of the third set proved the difference, and Young and Gonzalez held serve five consecutive times to punch their ticket to the final.
They will play the winner of the second semifinal between the 16th-seeded Colombian duo of Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah and American Ryan Harrison and New Zealander Michael Venus.
The run to the final has seen 27-year-old Young and Gonzalez notch several top wins, including over No. 14 seeds Daniel Nestor and Fabrice Martin in the first round, against Aussies Nick Kyrgios and Jordan Thompson in the third round and fifth seeds and reigning US Open men's doubles champions Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares in the quarterfinals.
The last Americans to win a men's doubles title at the French Open were Mike and Bob Bryan, who lifted the trophy in 2013, 10 years after their first triumph at Roland Garros. The Bryan brothers made five other finals appearances on the red Paris clay.
Other than the Bryan brothers, the last American man to reach the doubles final in France was Jeff Tarango, who partnered Goran Ivanisevic to the championship match in 1999.