Sunday, August 30, 2009

The start (again?) of something big

The start of the U.S. Open is mere hours away, but before I give my quarterfinal breakdowns for each draw, I just wanted to give a shout-out to the players that had to earn their way into the big dance by playing the qualifying tournaments.

There are two players, in particular, who I think deserve an extra mention, and that's Donald Young of the U.S. and Giovanni Lapentti of Ecuador. Great things were touted for these two, but they haven't come through yet.

Lapentti is the younger brother of ATP veteran Nicolas, who managed to crack the top 10 in the rankings. Their cousin is former Ecuadorean great Andres Gomez, who once referred to Giovanni as the more talented of the two. The younger Lapentti's ranking has topped out so far at 110, a far cry from the top, and it's hard to believe that he's getting as up there in age as he is, 26. Here's hoping the U.S. Open is a good tournament for him!

And the young Mr. Young: We all know the story on him, but I'm really hoping coming through the qualies here will help him at least get back to that top 100 territory he was in last year.

I've managed to catch both of them at the Open in years past: I saw Lapentti play a young Scotsman by the name of Andy Murray in the final round of qualifying, and I saw Young go up against none other than Novak Djokovic in the first round. Their accomplishments more than likely won't be as big as what their former opponents have achieved, but maybe this Open will offer a stepping-stone to some bigger things.

(Photo: Getty Images)