Last night the clock struck 12:00 on the Cinderella story that was Melanie Oudin. After her recent run at US Open she has become America’s tennis princess. Oudin, 17, has become a household name at the U.S. Open, upsetting Elena Dementieva, Maria Sharapova and Nadia Petrova. ‘’I can compete with these top girls," Oudin said after defeating Sharapova. "And if I believe in myself, and my game, then I can beat them.’’ Very poised for a young player.
The story was both on the court and off as her "unscheduled" winning streak made her stay in New York last a little longer then anyone would have thought...especially whom ever represents her and books her accommodations. For a short time on Sunday, she had no place to stay. The 17-year-old and her family were forced to leave the Marriott Times Square hotel this weekend after their reservation had ended. Since nobody expected Oudin to still be playing in the second week of the tournament no extension was ever requested. She was quickly found new accommodations but not a distraction that a 17 year old needs in the middle of an unexpected Major Championship run.
On the tennis side of things she didn’t have any of the same difficulties. Oudin is the youngest American woman in the U.S. Open quarterfinals since Serena Williams a decade ago. It is not like she has had a free pass by any means either knocking off some pretty big names in the process. Maybe being so young was a good thing as maybe she was able to just go out and play and not have to think about what was happening. You can play much looser and much more free when there isn’t any pressure on you...a luxury that she will likely no longer have. She has opened the eyes of many people and the expectations have increased substantially in a very short period of time.
Oudin run was halted by ninth seeded 19yr old Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in the quarterfinals 6–2, 6–2 Wednesday night. It was cool after the match during the interviews that they said basically - we don’t usually talk to the looser, but this is no looser- an interesting way to start an interview for sure. After talking with her the spoke with Wozniacki, who did just a great job playing to the interviewer and the crowd. She basically said I know that everyone here wasn’t rooting against me but rooting for Melanie, and she hoped that in the process that she won some people over and that they would root for her in her next match, which they probably will. It was a great interview and showed that she was not only a good player but a good person and a great winner.
It is great to have those stories along with some good tennis, especially on the woman's side. With Sharapova now gone and my little interest in either of the Williams sisters (Serena more so, she just bugs the crap out of me). Federer and Nadal may be on course to collide with each other on the men's so that is always great. It really makes for a more compelling tournament when you can have great action on the court and the coming out party of a young player, especially a young American at the US Open.