Seventeen-year-old American qualifier Melanie Oudin earned her first victory over a Top Ten player with a 6-7(8), 7-5, 6-2 decision over former world No. 1 and No. 6 seed Jelena Jankovic of Serbia in Saturday's third round at Wimbledon, and New York media has taken notice.
"American teen Melanie Oudin stuns Wimbledon with upset of Jankovic" says Filip Bondy of the New York Daily News, a publication not known for its tennis coverage. In addition to Chris Clarey, who first wrote about Oudin after her second round win and again today, the New York Times has sports columnist Harvey Araton digging into her background in his entry "Oudin’s Odyssey to Fourth Round Stirs American Optimism".
Greg Garber of espn.com, who has been following Oudin since two years ago at Wimbledon, has this story about her, which contains an interesting bit of history:
Oudin, from Marietta, Ga., is the youngest American to reach the round of 16 at Wimbledon since 17-year-old Jennifer Capriati made the quarterfinals here in 1993. Additionally, Oudin is the youngest American to reach the fourth round at any Grand Slam event since 17-year-old Serena Williams won the 1999 U.S. Open.
He also mentions, as does Araton, the rather ungracious remarks of Jankovic regarding Oudin, who described the woman ranked 118 places below her with the words:
"She cannot hurt you with anything," Jankovic said. "She doesn't have any weapons from what I've seen."
Apart from the irony of Jankovic saying this, as one about whom those same caveats are made, it doesn't particularly jibe with what I saw. Oudin had 38 winners compared to Jankovic's 13, and while I wouldn't deny that Jankovic played badly, Oudin made the most of the opportunity she was given.
The complete interview with Oudin is available here via wimbledon.org.
The other American qualifier in the third round, Jesse Levine, wasn't able to join Oudin in the second week. He lost to No. 19 seed Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland 5-7, 7-5, 6-3, 6-3. But Levine did do an interview, available on wimbledon.org, that gives some nice detail on his current work with Sgt. Keith Williams, who has been involved with many juniors the past two years also.
In today's opening round of junior play, only one of the six U.S. competitors managed to advance. No. 16 seed Evan King has now lost his last three first round matches in Europe, when he fell to Belgian Arthur De Greef 6-3, 6-2. No. 12 seed Denis Kudla twice served for his match with Hiroyasu Ehara of Japan, at 5-4 in the second and 5-4 in third, but he couldn't convert either time and lost 3-6, 7-5, 8-6. Mitchell Frank lost to Joze Kovalik of Slovakia 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, and No. 9 seed Christina McHale was eliminated by Yana Buchina of Russia 6-4, 6-3. Nicole Gibbs and No. 11 seed Silvia Njiric of Croatia battled for over two-and-a-half hours today, but it was Njiric who came out on top, by a score of 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.
Tennys Sandgren rescued the day from complete disaster with a routine 6-3, 6-2 win over Adrien Puget of France. The remaining eight U.S. juniors will play their first round matches on Monday. The schedule is available here and the draws, which include the doubles draws, here.
Roehampton champion Devin Britton is blogging for usta.com this week at Wimbledon. His first entry, detailing the rather Spartan conditions the Wimbledon junior players are subject to, can be found here.
Saturday, June 27, 2009