ATP Washington: Former Prodigy Donald Young Beats Marcos Baghdatis, Breaks Through To First ATP Semifinal

WASHINGTON -- ATP No. 128 Donald Young pulled off the biggest win of his career Friday at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington, DC, defeating defending finalist and No. 7 seed Marcos Baghdatis 6-3, 7-6(4) to advance to the semifinals of an ATP tournament for the first time in his career.

Baghdatis, who had to play two matches Thursday because of Wednesday's rain, struggled throughout the match, especially on his serve, putting only 38% of his first serves in.  Young converted on all three break points he had in the match.

Despite his fatigue, Baghdatis looked to have taken the reins of the match several times in the second set. He raced out to a 3-0 lead, and then had three set points on Young's serve at 5-6. But Young played the big points better, coming through for a hold and eventually winning the ensuing tiebreak 7-4 with some strong play at the net.

Young's win over ATP No. 26 Baghdatis came three days after his win over fourth-seeded Jurgen Melzer, the ATP No. 18, in the second round.

Young, now 22, had struggled to put together victories ever since turning pro at the age of 16. He had only made it to one previous ATP quarterfinal, at Memphis in 2008. Young did not have to beat a single top-80 player on his way to that quarterfinal.

In a wonderfully awkward post-match interview on ESPN2 with Patrick McEnroe (Young and his Parents have had several disputes with McEnroe in his role as the USTA's General Manager of Player Development), Young's exuberance continued, though buoyed by his normal shyness with the media.

"It means the world to me," Young told McEnroe. "It's what I've lived for."

But it wasn't that great, apparently.

SBN: Is this one of the better weeks of your life, so far?

Donald Young: Yeah, on the pro-tour, for sure, it's one of my better weeks. But a lot of my better times are when I'm off the court, with family and friends. Like a couple weeks ago, I had my birthday, and everybody was there, and it was great.

But for this...yes.

That must've been one hell of a birthday. Take note, Gilbert Arenas.

Stay tuned to SB Nation's coverage of the 2011 US Open Series at SBNation.com as well as on Twitter, @DailyForehand .

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