- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 3, 2011

On paper, the matchup of fourth-seeded Jurgen Melzer and Donald Young — unofficially No. 46 — looked like a mismatch. But Young still is playing on potential at the age of 22, with his sights set on becoming a star and many around the sport maintaining the belief that he can do it.

If he’s going to continue his rise this week at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Rock Creek Park, he has to at least in part thank the rain. Trailing Young 3-1 in the decisive third set, Melzer pulled out of the tournament in the midst of the match’s second rain delay, allowing the American’s passage into the round of 16.

Young said this was the first time he’s advanced because of injury — but he’ll take it.

“Definitely, I would like to win the last point and have the score be 6-whatever, but I felt like I put him in the position where, I feel like, if he was up or he felt like he could come back and win, I’m sure he probably would’ve kept playing,” Young said. “But no, I’m just happy to move on to the [third] round. I played well enough to be in the match and be in a winning position.”

A tournament spokesman said Melzer withdrew with a left quad pull.

Young was holding his own against Melzer before the major delay, as well. He barely lost the first set, falling short in a tiebreak, and then took command using sharp footwork and shots that were just out of Melzer’s reach.

It wasn’t until the third set that Young said he noticed Melzer favoring his left leg. Play was suspended for about an hour before the announcement was made that the match was over.

Young, who has been pegged as a future champion since being discovered by John McEnroe when he was 10, will next face fellow American Michael Russell, who also advanced when Xavier Malisse retired. Russell beat him a couple of weeks ago 6-0, 6-3 in Atlanta.

“Hopefully, it’s a lot different match on the score line than that,” Young said. “I just think last time I wasn’t myself. … I feel a lot more rested and confident now.”

In other action Wednesday, Nikolay Davydenko defeated Matthew Ebdgen 6-3, 7-5 and Radek Stepanek defeated Wayne Odesnik 6-1, 6-1.

If Young is able to keep the upsets coming, the highest seed he can face before Sunday’s final is No. 5 Fernando Verdasco. With several other high-profile players withdrawing — including Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish and Fernando Gonzalez before even playing a match — the tournament seems to be setting up nicely for a deep run.

“That was my goal coming into the tournament — to go as far as I can, and every time I enter now it’s a new mindset – I want to win,” Young said. “I’m definitely looking forward to it, and when these things happen it kind of opens it up a little bit.”