• Young takes on Falla in Auckland opener

    1/8/12 4:02 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Young takes on Falla in Auckland opener The last tune-ups for the Australian Open--including one in Auckland--get underway on Monday. Donald Young will kick off the proceedings against Alejandro Falla.

    Donald Young and Alejandro Falla will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers at the ATP main-draw level when they clash in round one of the Heineken Open on Monday afternoon.

    Young prevailed 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 in the Memphis second round back in 2008. However, they have also faced each other twice in qualifying and Falla got the best of both encounters; 7-6(6), 6-1 at the 2007 Miami event and 6-4, 6-4 at Wimbledon in 2009.

    Falla has never squared off against the new and improved Young, who surged to No. 39 in the world last season. Young was scorching hot throughout the second half of 2011, which included a semifinal in Washington, a fourth-round showing at the U.S. Open, a runner-up finish in Bangkok, and successful qualification in both Shanghai and Paris.

    Although Falla has never been able to break out on the ATP Tour, he continues to hang around in the 70s of the world rankings. The 28-year-old Colombian is coming off an inconsistent season that was highlighted by a run to the fourth round at Roland Garros and an upset of Viktor Troicki in round one of the U.S. Open. Falla earned one Challenger title last fall and also finished runner-up at another Challenger event.

    The underdog will be able to frustrate his opponent because he can track down lots of shots while keeping ball after ball in play. Young, though, appears to be much improved mentally and that should allow him to showcase his superior talent. The American in three sets is the pick.

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