- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 4, 2011

On the eve of his rematch with Michael Russell, Donald Young could only hope it wasn’t like the last time the two squared off — when Russell mopped the hardcourt with him in a 6-0, 6-3 victory in the Atlanta Tennis Championships.

“I wanted some revenge and to just go out there and play a lot better than I did previously,” Young said Thursday evening.

A bit earlier, he exacted that revenge, winning 6-3, 6-3 on the stadium court at William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center in Rock Creek Park to move into the quarterfinals of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic.

Why it was different this time around had a lot to do with Young feeling more comfortable away from home. The 22-year-old, who lives in Atlanta, is feeling less pressure in the District.

“It’s kind of tough, at least for me, to play at home in front of my family and friends that I normally don’t get to play in front of. It’s exciting and difficult at the same time,” Young admitted. “This is not Atlanta, I’m not driving my own car or staying in my own bed. It’s a lot different.”

Different was better for Young, who is starting to show the results of what he has called a “new mindset” of coming into tournaments believing he can win. Only his mother, Illona, and best friend, Skip, are here to watch him.

Less fatigued after time off, Young has already knocked off the fourth seed in Jurgen Melzer and has outperformed other young Americans, including Ryan Sweeting and Ryan Harrison. The past success of those players has served as something of an inspiration.

Looking forward, Young is trying to make the weekend seem pressure-free by lowering the expectations of himself.

“I don’t see any [challenges] for myself, obviously besides the opponent because I haven’t been here that often and not at this level of tournament,” he said. “Everybody I play from now on is probably going to be ranked higher, expected to win and so I can kind of go out there and play with nothing to lose.”

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