Gambill denies teen's bid for first ATP victory

July 19, 2005 08:30 PM
© Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Veteran Jan-Michael Gambill defeated Donald Young in straight sets in the opening round of the RCA Championships on Tuesday, ending the 15-year-old's bid for his first professional victory.

Gambill advanced to a second round match against doubles partner Taylor Dent with a 7-6 (10), 6-2 victory over the teenager from Atlanta.

"When you're losing, it is not fun,'' said Young, who got into the tournament as a wild card entry and battled for more than an hour before losing the opening set.

The second set lasted only 30 minutes as Young, 0-6 in ATP play, began cramping and lost two of his four service games, including his last when he double-faulted twice.

The 28-year-old Gambill, meanwhile, lost only six points on his serve and had five aces in the second set when he recorded five aces and closed the match by winning the final five games.

"It's difficult,'' Gambill said of playing Young, who won the Australian Open Junior championship in January and is being touted as the next great American star.

"I was probably more nervous than I've ever been for a match,'' Gambill said. "He's going to be a good player. It was a well-played match.''

Young said he continues to play better.

"I assume by the time I get close to their (other pros) age I should be able to beat them,'' said Young, who will be 16 on Saturday.

Earlier, Jonas Bjorkman, once No. 4 on the ATP tour and out of the Top 100 this year, advanced to the second round.

The 33-year-old Swede, who won the RCA Championships in 1997, took a small step to moving up the rankings by defeating Lukas Dlouhy of the Czech Republic 7-6 (3), 6-1.

"To win was the main goal today,'' said Bjorkman, who broke Dlouhy's serve five times and needed just 1 hour, 11 minutes to beat his 22-year-old opponent.

The victory moved Bjorkman, currently No. 103 after finishing in the Top 75 the last 11 years, to 9-13 in singles matches this year.

"If I was going to play bad or good, it didn't really matter as long as I came out to win the match,'' he said.

Bjorkman said dropping out of the Top 100 for the first time since 1993 "definitely gave me a lot of motivation ... This is probably the first time in my career that I've gone through a bad couple of months.''

He said an injury during the Athens Olympics started his slide.

In other matches Tuesday, American players had a tough time. Giovanni Lapentti of Ecuador beat American qualifier Mashiska Washington 7-6 (3), 6-3; George Bastl of Switzerland defeated American Jeff Morrison 6-4, 6-4; Ryan Phau of Germany beat American Amer Delic 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-3; and Israel's Noam Okum eliminated American Brendan Evans, 6-3, 6-3.