Eighth-seeded Haas exits early at UCLA

Special to The Times

Already low on marquee names because of the Olympics, the Countrywide Classic lost another one Tuesday as eighth-seeded Tommy Haas was beat by 19-year-old Donald Young, 6-2, 6-4, in the first round at UCLA.

It was the earliest Haas has lost at UCLA since 2002. He won the tournament in 2004 and 2006, something Haas said may not have helped him.

“There’s always usually a feeling of coming back to a tournament you’ve won once or even more times like in this case,” he said. “You always feel pretty good about your game, so in one way it is surprising for myself but on the other hand maybe you don’t want it as bad as winning another title.”

Young was the youngest player to finish in the top 100 at the end of 2007 and he rose to as high as 73rd on the ATP tour this year. However, he is coming off consecutive first-round exits at Cincinnati, Toronto and Indianapolis.


“The summer by my standards hasn’t been going that well,” Young said. “I felt I had a lot more expectations for myself and I wasn’t doing that well. To get a win here [and] . . . to beat someone of his caliber is great.”

After breezing through the first set, Young broke Haas to open up the second set. Haas responded by breaking Young at love to get back on serve and the two then held serve to 4-4.

“Later in the match, obviously I got really nervous,” Young said. “A lot of double faults started to roll in. . . . I have been up on a player like that before, but I hadn’t closed it before. It was just different territory for me.”

At 4-4, Haas fell behind, 15-40, but rallied to deuce before Young hit a winner at the net to take the game and eventually the match.

Other matches Tuesday included fifth-seeded Marat Safin of Russia beating John Isner, 6-3, 6-4, and victories by Americans Vince Spadea over Frenchman Sebastien Grosjean, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, and Amer Delic over Dudi Sela of Israel, 6-4, 6-4.