FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – It was a tough night for Melanie Oudin, as she lost the nightcap of her doubleheader. The 17 year-old teamed with Japan’s Ayumi Morita and lost a straight set loss to the Spanish doubles team of Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual, 2-6, 1-6.
But you can forgive the Georgia native as she won the match of her life earlier in the day, defeating No. 4 seed Elena Dementieva in three sets, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.
“During the match I had confidence, and, I mean, I was right there with her the entire time, said Oudin, who is following up a fourth round performance at Wimbledon. “I didn’t think that she wasn’t blowing me off the court. She wasn’t hitting winners left and right on me. We had long points. I was right there with her.
“I knew if I could play well and keep being aggressive and staying in there that I could do it.”
Describing her play as fearless, the young American went right after her Russian counterpart. She held her own in the first set and then dominated the final two, putting Dementieva on her heels as she went right after her opponent.
And she was playing hurt. With her left thigh wrapped, nursing a strained muscle, which required attention from the trainers in the third. Yet, the young girl was able to play through the pain for her biggest win of her life.
“I strained my IT band a little bit, and it was getting better,” she said. “I think today though, kind of everything that was going on, the whole – first time playing on Arthur Ashe, I was beating No. 4 in the world, about to beat her. I think that it just kind of started cramping a little bit. I should have had the whole thing taped.
“Just a little bit of everything. A lot of things were going through my mind, so I think a lot of things went into it. But I think it will be fine for my next match.”
Everything has been going fine for Oudin this year. Although she never moved past the second round in any tounaments other than the two Grand Slams she played, she surprised a number of people in London by defeating Jelena Jankovic at Wimbledon before she set foot in Queens.
Now, though more is expected from her. She has been called the third best American woman behind the Williams sisters and is an up and coming star in the WTA circuit.
“I think that it’s really cool to be called the third best American behind the Williams sisters,” she said. “That’s just incredible since I’ve watched them since I was a little girl. They’ve been like my idols. I’m really proud of that to be the third best American.”
And Oudin really believes in herself. In fact, she wrote “Believe” on her sneakers during her match, representing her commitment to the sport.
“For me, it’s all about that,” Oudin said. “It’s believing that I can beat these girls and hang there with them. If I didn’t have that, then there’s no way I would have been able to win today.
“Because believing like in myself and my shots and playing within myself today, that’s how I won is knowing I believe that I could do it.”
Oudin will have her work cut out for her on Saturday as she plays Maria Sharapova who won in straight sets over 17 year-old New Jersey native Christina McHale, 6-2, 6-1.