Playing in his first junior event since he captured the ITF World Junior Championship last December, the top-seeded Young dominated the field at the ITF Grade B1 event in Palm Springs California, winning the singles title and teaming with Jamie Hunt to capture the doubles championship.
Palm Springs is known for its gusty winds, but Young, 16, did a fine job of negotiating the difficult conditions on the final weekend, taking his third Easter Bowl crown and his second in the 18s division. His 6-3, 6-1 win over sixth seed Dennis Lajola was particularly satisfying for him, as the sixteen-year-old Team Elite player from Atlanta was beaten by Lajola in their last meeting.
“He played amazing in that match,” Young said, remembering their contest in September of 2004. “Today I played consistent, solid, real strong. He played a good match too - the scores don’t indicate how close the match was.”
With his HEAD Flexpoint Instinct in hand, Young countered Lajola’s deep ground strokes with excellent defense, a skill he has perfected during his outstanding junior career.
“It puts pressure on them to hit a better shot than they would normally hit,” Young said.
Despite all his success in singles, Young had never won a doubles title at the Easter Bowl, but joining up with Hunt changed that. Hunt’s team had actually defeated Young’s in the 14s finals a few years ago, but all that was forgotten when they took the court together as the top seeds in 2006. Cruising through the draw without dropping a set, Young and Hunt were more than ready for their final opponents-- the second seeded team of Kellen Damico and Nate Schnugg, finalists at the Australian Junior Open—rolling to a 6-1, 6-3 victory.
Although Hunt collected his third Easter Bowl doubles title with the win, he gave his teammate all the credit.
“It helps to have a partner like Donald Young,” Hunt said of the 2005 US Junior Open doubles champion.
Young will begin preparing for the French Junior Open by playing the Florida clay court Pro Circuit events in May, and will be honored as ITF world junior champion at Roland Garros next month.
HEAD Team Elite member Chase Buchanan also collected a doubles championship, teaming with Devin Britton for take a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win over Ryan Noble and James Seal in the Boys 16s division. The HEAD Flexpoint Radical MP user from Ohio also had fine results in the singles, reaching the semifinals in the 16s, even though it is several months before he turns 15.