American Donald Young recovered from a one-set deficit before his opponent Robin Haase was forced to retire injured in their first round men’s singles match on Tuesday afternoon.
A former world No.1 junior, Young advanced to the second round of Australian Open 2014 with the 6-7(4) 7-6(2) 6-2 1-0 victory after failing to qualify for the event in 2013.
Haase put aside his struggles in tie-breaks – he came into the tournament with a 10-14 tie-break record last year and was just 37-64 in his career – to win the opening set tie-break 7-4.
The first set had been an arm-wrestle through the first 10 games, with the pair trading serve on Court 13 before an error at the net by Young opened the door for the world No.45.
Haase broke serve with the break point, but failed to capitalise as he relinquished his following service game to love despite Young losing his temper after falling behind 5-6.
The first set lasted 53 minutes in difficult conditions, the mercury hovering around 40 degrees despite the late afternoon timeslot.
The match turned into a slog, as the second set followed a similar pattern with both players repeatedly holding serve.
Once touted as the next big thing in American tennis, Young has struggled to live up to the hype in recent seasons. His frustration was often evident in his demeanour.
The 24-year-old American didn’t look entirely comfortable with himself, glancing wonderful winners, but regularly missing the un-missable.
His opponent wilted just as often, Haase making 56 unforced errors of his own. The Dutchman was able to compensate for his errors with a powerful serve, sending down 11 aces.
But after being evenly matched through the best part of two sets, Young powered past Haase in the second set tie-break after holding his nerve and serve to get to that point.
The American lost only two points, one on a Haase ace, as he wrestled control of the contest.
While Young could control what happened on the court, he couldn’t control what happened next as Haase called for a trainer at 1-2 down in the third set to receive treatment on his back, the Dutchman also beginning to struggle with cramping.
Haase was clearly hampered after the medical timeout, dropping the set 2-6 before eventually succumbing to injury.
It wasn't pretty, but Young will take confidence from the match after improving more the longer it went.
After reaching No.38 in the world in early 2012, the American left-hander will be looking to launch back to those heights in 2014 after falling to No.91.
Young will take on Italian Andreas Seppi in the second round on Thursday, Seppi blowing a two-sets-to-love lead but rallying to down Lleyton Hewitt in his first-round match.