Donald Young won his second consecutive 18s singles title in Kalamazoo Mich., when Jesse Levine was unable to play the championship match due to food poisoning.
As top seed and defending champion, the 17-year-old from Atlanta did not drop a set on his way to the finals, and was pleased with his overall performance.
“You’re really disappointed not to play, but he had no choice in the matter,” said Young. “And winning Kalamazoo doubles was really big for me here, because I usually don’t win too many big doubles titles.”
Playing with a Flexpoint Radical MP, Young again teamed with Alex Clayton, seeking the U.S. Open main draw men’s doubles wild card that goes to the 18s champions. As the reigning U.S. Open Boys doubles champions, they began their quest for the Kalamazoo title as the top seeds. Down a set and a break in their quarterfinal match, they drew on their international experience to take the final set 6-1, and breezed from then on, defeating second seeds Jamie Hunt and Nate Schnugg 6-1, 6-4 in the finals.
In addition to playing in the main draw of the U.S. Open in both singles and doubles, Young will also be competing in the Junior Championships at Flushing Meadows, hoping to improve upon his quarterfinal showing last year. He is currently ranked sixth in the ITF Junior rankings, having finished 2005 as the World Junior Champion, but has played only a few junior tournaments this year, concentrating instead on Pro Circuit Futures and Challengers.
“I just wanted to concentrate on the junior Slams, see how I could do, and now I’ve got one more left,” Young said. “Hopefully I can win that one.”
Unlike Young and Clayton, Adam El Mihdawy and Bradley Klahn had never played together before, and teamed in Kalamazoo only because Klahn’s partner withdrew with an injury a day before the tournament started.
But the two Team Elite players meshed perfectly and as the fifth seeds, took the 16s division doubles title, defeating Jarmere Jenkins and Austin Krajicek, the third seeds, in the final 7-6 (2), 6-2. El Mihdawy, who uses a LM Prestige MID, and Klahn, who wields a Flexpoint Prestige, finished third and fifth in singles, so their talents were on display all week.
“We’re both good singles players, so I expected us to do well,” said Klahn, from Poway, Calif. “But winning it is a little bit of a surprise.”
El Mihdawy, who lives 15 minutes from the National Tennis Center in New York, is counting on a wild card into the U.S. Open Juniors doubles draw.