Young Ousts Second Seed Isner In Memphis
Kukushkin, Basilashvili advance on Friday
Donald Young didn’t have a break point chance against John Isner on Friday at the Memphis Open, but still managed to record his first win over the second seed to reach the semi-finals, 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-6(6).
“He’s beaten me every time we’ve played, so I wanted to finally get one of these wins. I’m glad I stayed calm and played through some tightness to come out on top,” said Young in his on-court interview. “It always come down to a couple of points here and there with John, but luckily I was able to win those points today.”
There were no break points for either Young or Isner in the first or third sets, while Isner recorded the lone break of the match up 4-3 in the second set. Young raced to a 6/3 lead in the final-set tie-break, but double faulted on his third match point at 6/5. He managed to get another chance at 7/6 and took full advantage, forcing a volley error from Isner to pick up the victory in two hours and 26 minutes.
Young improves his FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Isner to 1-3. The Atlanta native is making his 10th consecutive appearance in Memphis and has excelled here in recent years, reaching the 2015 semi-finals and 2016 quarter-finals.
He will take the court on Saturday against the winner Ryan Harrison, a 6-3, 6-4 winner over Damir Dzumhur. The American has yet to drop a set this week and is now through to his first ATP World Tour semi-final since Acapulco in February 2015. Young and Harrison are even in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry at 1-1, but haven’t played each other in two years.
Mikhail Kukushkin continued his hot streak in Memphis, powering into the semi-finals with a convincing 6-0, 6-4 win over fourth seed Steve Johnson.
“It means a lot for me to be back on tour and playing good. It’s been a few years since my last semi-final, so I’m really happy with this week,” said Kukushkin. “I’ve played quite well here for two years in a row, so the conditions really suit my game.”
Kukushkin dropped just 10 points in shutting out Johnson to take the opening set. The American found his form in the second set and sprinted to a 4-1 lead, but Kukushkin responded brilliantly by winning five consecutive games to prevail in 70 minutes.
The unseeded player evens his FedEx ATP Head2Head record with Johnson at 2-2. Kukushkin has been in dominant form this week, dropping just 14 games in three matches. He is now into his first ATP World Tour semi-final since Sydney in January 2015.
Next up for Kukushkin is Nikoloz Basilashvili, a 7-6(3), 6-4 winner over qualifier Matthew Eden. The Georgian player showed impressive fighting spirit in rallying from 1-4 down in the opening set and from a break down at 2-3 in the second set. Basilashvili has also been in top form this week, having taken out top seed Ivo Karlovic in a second-round victory on Thursday.