One may conclude, from a decade's worth of results, that occupancy by more than two American men in the U.S. Open's second week of play is unlawful. Only twice since 2005 have as many as three Yanks reached the tournament's fourth round (and all lost their subsequent matches).
Still true. Just two Americans remain among the final 16 title contenders. The last American male finalist was Andre Agassi in '05. The last American champ was Andy Roddick in '03.
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But it was a good day for the Home Team Saturday, especially when 26-year-old Donald Young, carrying a modest No. 68 ranking, pulled off his second ripping comeback from an 0-2 sets deficit in five days. Young eliminated 22-year-old Serb Viktor Troicki, the No. 22 seed, 4-6, 0-6, 7-6 (3), 6-2, 6-4, hours after 13th-seeded John Isner advanced over Jiri Vesely, a 22-year-old Czech ranked 48th, 6-3, 6-4 (ret.)U.S. OpenU.S. Open: Men's results
Vesely had awakened with a stiff neck, which troubled him on service tosses and backhands and had to quit after two sets. But enough about visitors from abroad.
By the time Young -- with a cocktail of speed, aggressiveness and persistence -- established at least some temporary American exceptionalism just before sundown, the SRO crowd at the Grandstand Court was on its feet, chanting "U!S!A! U!S!A!"
Of course, disappointment again could ensue quickly. Young's next match will be against Stan Wawrinka, the reigning French Open champ seeded fifth here. And Isner must play five-time Open title-winner Roger Federer. For now, though, Young and Isner potentially are on the lam from the Keep the Americans Down authorities.
And feeling the New York crowd's love. "It was 90 percent you guys and 10 percent me," Young told the howling spectators in a quick postmatch evaluation of his rally, which began to build immediately after he was shut out in the second set and needed a trainer to massage his stiffening back.
"Those two sets were over," he said. "I still had more to give."
Isner, meanwhile, was thoroughly comfortable in the short time -- 75 minutes -- he was on the Louis Armstrong court, bludgeoning 21 aces and recording 46 winners (compared to 14 for Vesely), with only 15 unforced errors.
Though the top-ranked American for most of the last six years, Isner has been as deep as only one Slam quarterfinal (at the 2011 Open) since he turned pro in 2007. But, he said, "I was never pegged to be the next great American tennis player by any means. I wasn't a prodigy. I'm a late-bloomer. Whatever happens, I'm proud of what I've done."
It happens that Isner, in his first pro tournament (the 2007 Open), played Federer (a four-set loss) and, in their three other meetings, Isner's one victory was in a 2012 Davis Cup match.
"As he gets older," Isner said of the 34-year-old Federer, "he seems to keep getting better. It's unbelievably impressive what he's continuing to do. At the same time, I feel like I can challenge him."
As for Young versus Wawrinka: They split their two previous meetings, with Young taking a fifth-set tiebreaker off Wawrinka in the 2011 Open's second round that was as crowd-pleasing as Saturday's Troicki duel.
Here he is, flying in constricted American air space again. "It's showing yourself," he said, "you can fight and come back. It's a good feeling."