By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Amid much moaning in U.S. media about the state of the nation's tennis prowess, veteran Andy Roddick and the emerging Donald Young kept up a strong showing by American men with wins at the U.S. Open Sunday.
Roddick, the main flagbearer for American men in recent years and the 2003 U.S. Open champion, beat France's Julien Benneteau in straight sets and 22-year-old Young followed with a one-sided win over 24th seed Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina to reach the round of 16.
"I think the players, we've heard it quite a bit," Young said about U.S. players stepping up to meet expectations.
"Yeah, it's great. I think that's the way it should be here, especially at the U.S. Open."
Roddick, 29, thinks Young, touted as a future star when at age 16 he became the youngest player ever to be ranked number one on the ITF junior circuit in 2005, has been egged on by the success of some other young Americans including Ryan Harrison.
"I think there's a healthy jealousy going on right now, which is good," said Roddick.
"If Donald Young sees Ryan Harrison play well in the summer, he's going to not want to fall behind.
"It's a great thing to see. You just feel there's a little bit of momentum. There is a bit of a snowball effect at times...seems like there's some of that right now."
Young cuts a dashing figure with his athleticism and style, complete with diamond earrings and a baseball cap tilted to the side.
"The crowd support really pull you through a lot of matches," said Young, who spun around and bounded across the court in glee after his victory. "I think it's coming on."
Young, who caused a stir this spring with an expletive-laced rant posted on Twitter criticizing his U.S. Tennis Association coaches, subsequently apologized and got back to serious work that is now paying dividends.
"I would say I worked harder and did a lot of different things in the off-season, tried to train a little different, just try different things, be a little more open minded," he said.
Young said battling through the frustrations of his early struggles as a professional should benefit him.
"It was a learning experience," he said. "I think those things I did helped me now. It's better late than never."
(Editing by Julian Linden)