U.S. Open Report: One For The Ages

By Richard Kent
Updated: August 28, 2008

James BlakeNEW YORK — It was all it was supposed to be and more. James Blake and Donald Young. Two heavyweights on the first day of the U.S. Open in prime time. How could you ask for more? Even the weather was perfect. And it was followed a performance by Earth, Wind & Fire.

Blake came out of the gate fast and won the first set easily 6-1. It looked to be no contest as Young was erratic, one of his problems. Young turned his game around in the second set and made very few unforced errors in winning 6-3.

The crowd was abuzz.

Blake came back in the third set and served quite well, winning 6-1 again. Once again Young, the son of teaching professionals from Georgia looked down and out, but the lefty came back and won the fourth set, 6-4.

Young had many break points in the fifth set but could not convert, losing a closely contested set 6-4 to the highly-ranked Blake. For the match, Blake had 54 winners to only 43 for Young.

American tennis has been better in the past, but Young is one of the great hopes. He is only 19 years old and beating Blake would have been the best win of his career.

It was the first time that the two had ever played and Young was clearly anxious before the match. The Open is Blake’s favorite tournament and very close to his Fairfield, Connecticut home.

He had many fans and family in the crowd including his brother Thomas, a fellow Harvard player in his box. The match brought back memories of Blake’s dramatic five-set loss to Andre Agassi at night a few years back.

Blake, Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish are really the only American men that have a chance to make any noise in this Open. The women are far better off with many contenders including the obvious choices in the Williams sisters.