Oudin has come out of nowhere.
Melanie Oudin has single handedly crushed Russia's hopefuls in the 2009 US Open women's singles tournament.
Nadia Petrova was the last victim of Oudin's surge through the US Open as Petrova fell to the American kid today 1-6, 7-6, 6-3. In previous rounds it was nothing but Russian losses to Oudin as well, as she ousted Maria Sharapova in the third round, Elena Dementieva in the second round, and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the first round. The former two players were both on the shortlist of favorites to win the 2009 US Open before they ran into this new tennis sensation.
Nobody knows what to do with Oudin because she always seems to have the answer. She's smashing at the net, hitting well paced groundstrokes from the baseline, and just when her opponents think that they have hit a winner, Oudin scampers to it to send it back over the net to keep the rally alive.....and she often wins the point after that.
Even if Oudin fails to win another match at this year's US Open she will still jump up about 30 spots on tour. Currently she is ranked 70th but with an avalanche of tour ranking points heading her way, even with a quarterfinal loss, she's about to leap frog over top of a bunch of Grand Slam early rounders. If Oudin can make the semis and do well enough in some smaller tournaments between now and season's end, she might actually have a low seed beside her name when the Aussie comes around early in 2010.
Oudin has now drawn Caroline Wozniacki, who won a sword-fight type match against Svetlana Kuznetsova, the winner of the 2004 US Open women's singles title and the 2007 runner-up, earlier today. Kuznetsova had not been playing noteably well in the last couple of months leading up to Flushing Meadows while Caroline Wozniacki has a recent hard court tour title.
Wozniacki (19 years old) and Oudin (17 years old) have never met one another in heads up play but as they are the two young assassins on tour you have to think that their quarterfinal match is just going to be round 1 of a possible career rivalry.
Wozniacki comes in as the more accomplished player as she has 6 career titles to her credit already. But based on how Oudin has played at the 2009 US Open, the match has to be considered to be up for grabs.
While many might favor Oudin due to all the hype surrounding her matches, her ability to defeat top opponents even while under the spotlight, and in consideration of the fact that she will have home court advantage it would be a mistake to think that Oudin will want to win more than Wozniacki: they are both equally hungry.
As a sort of sideplot, the winner of this match will likely beat the winner of the Wickmayer/Bondarenko quarterfinal match. That means that a lot more is on the line between Wozniacki and Oudin as an Oudin victory really creates the possibility of an all American final (Serena Williams, though hardly a lock, is favored against Flavia Pennetta and should be against expected semifinalist Kim Clijsters as well).
The odds should favor Wozniacki against Oudin. Wozniacki is undefeated in her last 9 matches and she is the one with the much higher ranking, currently sitting 8th on tour (she is seeded below her rank as the 9 seed because her title at New Haven prior to the US Open came too late to factor into the US Open seeding selections). With their quarterfinal match looking too tight to call, the smartest thing to do would be to make a conservative bet on whoever has the longest price and in this case, that should be Oudin.
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