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Saturday, September 5, 2009

It's All About Oudin; Juniors Start Play Sunday; Top Seeds Get Dangerous Opponents

©Colette Lewis 2009--
Flushing Meadows, NY--

A year ago, Melanie Oudin lost in the first round of the U.S. Open main draw as a wild card, and playing the junior tournament, lost in the semifinals to Gabriela Paz. A year later, she's beaten Elena Dementieva and Maria Sharapova back-to-back, coming from a set down on the biggest stage in professional tennis to reach the fourth round of the U.S. Open, matching her performance at Wimbledon this year.

At the press conference after her win, the weapon question (framed as a reference to Jelena Jankovic's comments after losing to her at Wimbledon) was again voiced, and here was Oudin's response:

I think the biggest weapon can be mental toughness. It doesn't have to be a stroke or a shot or anything like that. If you're mentally tough out there, you can beat anyone. I think that's what I really did well today and I've done in my past matches. I'm so focused and I fight super hard. So it's not going to be easy to beat me or I'm not going to back down at all.

That attitude is, as you can imagine, attractive to New Yorkers, and there weren't a dozen people watching the Jumbotron outside Ashe today who were actively supporting the 2006 champion, and probably not many more inside Ashe. With each error or winner, the crowd outside groaned or cheered, erupting on match point, then quieting down immediately so they could hear the post match interview with Mary Joe Fernandez. There were tears of joy, and not just from Oudin. It was a tennis community taking a new star under its wing.

The junior draws have been released and it did no favors for the top seeds. Boys No. 1 Yuki Bhambri of India will take on fellow Bollettieri student and Wimbledon finalist Jordan Cox of the U.S. on Sunday, it what is certainly the marquee match on the boys side. Girls top seed Kristina Mladenovic of France will face wild card Asia Muhammad of the U.S. in the other must-see Sunday match.

Unseeded Laura Robson did not land in an awkward place; she plays unseeded Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, also on Sunday. In addition to Muhammad, other U.S. girls playing Sunday are wild cards Alexandra Cercone, Jacqueline Cako, Julia Boserup and Lauren Davis, as well as No. 4 seed Sloane Stephens. U.S. boys playing their first round matches are Tennys Sandgren who goes against No. 2 seed Daniel Berta, Mitchell Frank, Junior Ore, No. 16 seed Denis Kudla, and wild cards Chase Buchanan, Jack Sock, Bob van Overbeek, and Gonzales Austin.

The U.S. qualifiers today--Sekou Bangoura Jr., Courtney Dolehide and Noel Scott--are likely to play Monday, or even Tuesday, due to players still competing in the Repentigny, Canada Grade 1. Nicole Gibbs again finished runnerup, losing 7-6(1), 6-2 to Miyabi Inoue of Japan. Julien Obry of France won the boys title, over Agustin Velotti of Argentina. For complete results, see the ITF junior site.

For complete draws and order of play for Sunday, see usopen.org.


tennisfan said...

I'm a tennis player, but usually don't like to watch it on TV. But today, it all changed because of Oudin. What a competitor with a lot of heart. You go girl ! I believe you can go all the way ...

Sam said...

To many idiots posting on this site now, Jon King, Kim, J, Atlanta Amy, post without any info or facts at all. Provides good humour though

tennisforlife said...

OK- enough of the Jon King bashing - he has an opinion and this blog wouldn't be as interesting without people like him contributing - PLUS Jon is one of the few contributors with the guts to use his own name so credit to him for that if not for his views on Melanie Oudin_:)

PS. If nothing else Jon is clearly well informed and not an idiot!!

Austin said...

great effort by Jesse Witten, hopefully he can keep it going.

amazing win by Oudin.

INCREDIBLE match by Isner & Roddick.

James Blake demise continues, very sad to see. he has zero confidence, no direction and not much will right now. he needs a major change, my opinion...try to hire Darren Cahill.

Observer said...

I believe you missed Dennis Novikov, who plays Tiago Fernandes tomorrow.

Colette Lewis said...

What court is Novikov on? Not seeing him.

Murray said...

No chance Cahill would work w. Blake for any amount of money. Cahill doesn't need the money & can pick his coaching assignments. He only works w. players who have a big upside & good attitudes. Blake has a loser mentality (always has, always will) & cares more about being a celebrity than a tennis player.

The Dude said...

Sandgren just took out the #2 seed, Berta, 7-6(5) in the 3rd, congrats Tennys.

J said...

I'll still invest in a young player with big weapons before I invest in Oudin. I'm not saying I didn't enjoy watching the match yesterday but when someone wins on their opponent's double faults, it is hard for me to cheer. Serena and Venus made it through all these years with their big physical weapons not because of their mind. Henin is an good example of when your weapon is your mind and it goes, there goes your game. I hope her coach works on that 78 mph first serve, it would not last for long, neither will that backhand slice some girls are too good they will volley it out the air. And I know Petrova will take time away from her tomorrow, she plays 15 feet behind the baseline. So she has a long way to go let's not start dropping praises yet.Just my opinion!!

Jon King said...

Ms. Oudin is on a nice run. But I just see a nice player, not a long term tennis star. Just an opinion, the future will show who is right or wrong.

I also don't see her mental toughness. She has nothing to lose so is playing super relaxed. Sharapova was brutal yesterday yet Oudin still handed her back 3 breaks in the 3rd set. She nearly gave the match back to Sharapova, on Maria's worst day, many times. Not much mental toughness there at all.

Anyone who watched that match without bias saw a total pusher against a much better tennis player. The pusher won yesterday, on the much better player's horrible day.

In my OPINION, this will be Oudin's big run of her career. Players will get healthy and she will no longer surprise everyone hitting slice after slice after slice after slice. That stuff works the first go around the tour, but not for long.

The Dude said...

Henin's weapon was not only her mind but also her backhand, forehand, volleys, quickness, serve...she worked on every element of her game. The backhand slice is a great against everyone in the WTA as they are all typically strike zone baseline hitters. Oudin is only 17 so I expect her to work on all elements of her game. So far, so good. IMO, she has more weapons than Jankovic.

Eric Amend said...

The sun comes up... the sun goes down... the sun comes up... the sun goes down....

Jon King rationalizing Melanie Oudin's latest victory by using the same repetitive statement that her opponent played horribly and that's the only logical explanation for Melanie's success against everyone she has been "gifted" a win from.

These are things we've come to expect and take for granted and we know that they will continue to happen each and everyday for as long as we shall inherit this earth!!

Yes, I would agree that Sharapova has played better tennis in her career but how can you consistently call everyone of Melanie's victories lucky because her opponents played their worst tennis ever. You sound EXACTLY like Serena Williams does when she refuses to give her opponents credit for beating her.

It's entirely comical that you can say that people watching the match without any biased would conclude that Melanie was a pusher. You can't make that statement because YOU are one of the biased, just as I am, so you don't know how any of the non-biased people think or what conclusion they would make after watching her play.

I mean I can't make this stuff up, it's too funny.

Melanie is not a pusher and if you watched her in the final set yesterday, you would have seen her dictating and/or slugging with Maria when the opportunity arose but she didn't always have an opportunity so sometimes she would have to neutralize a shot with an effective slice or 3 or 4.

Also, let me remind you once again that she is only 17 years old and she is learning to handle pressure as she gains more experience and you would have absolutely no idea how much pressure a 17 year old female feels on the biggest stage in tennis of her country's Grand Slam while playing against professional players with huge pedigrees that Melanie must have watched on TV just a short few years ago. So, while the pressure of winning was on Maria, the pressure of having never been in these situations on center court of a Slam is on Melanie while Sharapova, Demetieva, and Jankovic have been in the spotlight many times over.

You not being able to see her mental toughness is akin to you not being able to see a tennis player if Roger Federer was standing right in front of you!!

I'm not projecting Melanie to be a Top 10 or even a Top 20 player, kudos to her if she does, and I highly doubt that she will win a Grand Slam but she is a much better player than you're willing to give her credit for and you don't know what "stuff works the first go around the tour" let anlone the second. Melanie does have room for improvement in her game, her serve being the obvious weakness, but she will get better. Elena Dementieva has been known to have had a less than average serve in the past and was the butt of many jokes yet she has improved it over the years. Don't be so quick to judge Melanie, she's an unfinished player with a HUGE heart that will continue to improve with her work ethic and determination.

Albert Einstein was attributed to having said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. In this case, it's Jon King saying the same thing over and over ignoring the result. Jon, a broken clock is right two more times a day than you are when it comes to tennis.

David said...

Jon, I believe you've already been proven wrong, have you not? You just keep shifting the goalposts in an attempt to create the appearance that you haven't.

UStennis said...

Jon King and J, ( mostly Jon king )

Do everyone a favor and stop posting on this page. We are all extremely happy for melanie and listening to your ignorant statements is honestly just annoying at this point. I completely agree with Eric's post and also would like to add that we are talking about women's tennis, where a good slice is one of, if not the most effective shot you can hit. Melanie works hard and deserves everything shes getting right now. Colette in my opinion I believe that constructive critism is ok, but when it comes to just saying " he or she WILL NOT make it " that should not be posted. Especially when someone is having the results Oudin is having.

tennisforlife said...

I think Eric and Jon should get together for a beer....-:)

Austin said...

Most, if not all of us are Americans that post on here. Unless you have facts to back up bashing them, please stop. I hate when I have to bash them, and only do so when the results prove it, but still root for them to win regardless. Enough already.

There are SEVERAL young American women who Melanie destroys even though they have big weapons. If weapons determined what you were ranked then Ernest Gulbis would be Top10 right now instead of around 100.

There was a kid growing up who had bigger weapons than anyone around, but he had no clue how to play tennis and was barely a sectional level player. Back in my day I played against several guys that are now(or were) on tour, but the biggest forehand I have ever faced in my life was this no name kid who didnt even play nationals.

vamosnadal said...


Great idea . Eric and Jon should get together for a drink to discuss more about Oudin . I have a feeling Eric will prevail especially now that Oudin's in the quarters . Suggestion maybe at the Trojans football game ? Ha ha ...