“Right now, this is my U.S. Open,” said former top 40 ATP star Donald Young after his 6-2, 7-5 win over American teenager Jack Anthrop Wednesday night in the opening round of the $15,000 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships at The Boulevard Tennis Club.
The win was the first in singles for the 32-year-old Young since April in the first round of qualifying at the Tallahassee Challenger. Prior to beating Anthrop, Young had lost has last nine pro singles matches. Once ranked as high as No. 38 in the world in 2017, Young, the former U.S. Olympic and Davis Cup team member has seen his ranking drop to No. 451, making it necessary to play at the $15,000 level on the ITF World Tennis Tour.
“This is awesome,” said Young after his emotional win Wednesday night in front of an appreciative Vero Beach crowd. “It’s nice to play in front of fans. Last year and earlier this year, there weren’t a lot of people allowed to watch. It’s an amazing feeling and makes it feel more normal.”
Young got on top early of the 17-year-old Anthrop, who does not have an ATP ranking but is ranked No. 26 in the ITF world junior rankings. Young appeared ready to close a relatively easy victory leading by a service break 4-3 in the second set, but suddenly made some unforced errors and hit some double faults and allowed Anthrop back in the match. Young held tough and broke Anthrop again at 5-5 before closing out the match.
“It got tense there,” admitted Young in his post-match interview that you can see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWFMQjeKCP8 “I haven’t won many matches (lately) and I got a little nervous there up a break, but he started to be a lot more aggressive and go for his shots and was playing big-boy tennis. For me, to get through that and not get to a third set and live on to play another day and get matches and real reps is important.”
Young will next play not before 6 pm on Thursday night against American wild card Matthew Segura, who defeated 16-year-old qualifier Cooper Johnson of New York City and Boca Raton, Florida 1-6, 6-3, 6-1. With the win Segura, the great nephew of tennis Hall of Famer Pancho Segura, earned his first ATP singles ranking point. Segura is familiar to many tennis fans in Vero Beach as he has won the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships “wild card” tournament at the Sea Oaks Club in 2018, 2019 and 2020. The COVID pandemic began shortly after Segura’s “wild card” win at Sea Oaks in February of 2020 and since the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships was held only as an open UTR event later that year, and not an official ITF World Tennis Tour event, tournament directors Tom Fish and Randy Walker decided to still honor the wild card that Segura earned in 2020. Last October, in lieu of playing an official ITF World Tennis Tour event, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation held their tournament as a Universal Tennis event for prize money, but not ATP ranking points. Segura also played in that event and reached the singles final before losing to Diego Hidalgo of Ecuador and earned his first-ever professional prize money paycheck.
Three other players earned their first ATP points with first round wins Wednesday, first by Diogo Marques of Portugal and Stetson University with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over former Texas A&M star A.J. Catanzariti. American wild card entry Benjamin Kittay defeated Credit Chaiyarin of Thailand 7-6(4), 6-4 to earn an ATP singles point and Michael Zheng of Montville, N.J., also a wild card entry, earned his first ATP singles point defeating Reece Falck of New Zealand 7-5, 6-1.
World No. 1 junior Jerry Shang of China upset the event’s No. 2 seed Damien Wenger of Switzerland 6-1, 6-4 in the opening match on Stadium court, which you can read about here: https://www.heraldtribune.com/story/sports/2021/10/20/shang-wins-mardy-fish-childrens-foundation-tennis-championships/8536351002/
Thursday’s schedule can be found here: https://www.itftennis.com/en/tournament/m15-vero-beach-fl/usa/2021/m-itf-usa-17a-2021/order-of-play/
Full results can be found below from Wednesday.
Juncheng SHANG (CHN) def. Damien WENGER (SUI)  6-1 6-4
Ricardo RODRIGUEZ (VEN) def. Fletcher SCOTT (USA) 6-4 3-6 6-1
Diogo MARQUES (POR) A.J. CATANZARITI (USA) 2-6 6-3 6-3
Michael ZHENG (USA) def. Reece FALCK (NZL) 7-5 6-1
Ben SHELTON(USA) def.  Bruno KUZUHARA (USA) 7-5 7-6(9)
Liam DRAXL (CAN)  def. Alan KOHEN (ARG) 6-1 6-2
Loris POURROY (FRA) def. Federico BERTUCCIOLI (ITA) 6-4 6-0
Ezekiel CLARK (USA) def. JanMagnus JOHNSON (USA) 7-5 5-7 6-2
Duarte VALE (POR)  def. Toby MARTIN (GBR) 5-7 6-2 6-2
Juan Manuel BENITEZ (COL) def. Blu BAKER (GBR) 6-3 6-1
Blaise BICKNELL (JAM) def. Kiranpal PANNU (NZL) 7-5 6-1
Benjamin KITTAY (USA) def. Credit CHAIYARIN (THA) 7-6(4) 6-4
Donald YOUNG (USA)  def. Jack ANTHROP (USA) 6-2 7-5
Matthew SEGURA (USA) def. Cooper WILLIAMS (USA) 1-6 6-3 6-1
William BUSHAMUKA (USA) def. Tommaso CARNEVALE-MIINO (ITA) 6-3 7-5
Juan Ignacio GALARZA (ARG) def. Andres ANDRADE (ECU) 6-1 5-7 6-4