For Melanie Oudin, success is tougher the second time around
If Melanie Oudin (pictured above) is to re-create the success she had at the 2009 U.S. Open, when she arrived unseeded and 17 years old and left as a quarterfinalist who had charmed tennis viewers around the world with her competitive, fist-pumping brand of tennis, Oudin is going to have to re-create magic.
While she bristles if it is suggested she is going through a sophomore slump, Oudin suffered another decisive loss Wednesday, dropping her second-round Mercury Insurance Open match to second-seeded Samantha Stosur, 6-4, 6-4. Oudin had pulled out a first-round win late Tuesday night, beating qualifier Jamie Hampton 6-3, 6-4. Last week at Stanford, Oudin was soundly beaten by eventual champion Victoria Azarenka, 6-3, 6-1 in the second round.
Other winners Wednesday were seventh-seeded Shahar Peer of Israel, who eliminated Yaroslava Shvedova, 7-5, 6-4, and fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, who trounced former world No. 1 Dinara Safina, 6-1, 6-3.
Oudin was relentlessly optimistic after Wednesday's loss, though. Her glass-is-half-full view is that she wants to peak at the U.S. Open, so maybe it's just as well she is not playing well now. "Maybe it's a good thing I'm not playing absolutely wonderful right now," she said.
Still to come Wednesday night is top-seeded Jelena Jankovic against Alisa Kleybanova, and Lindsay Davenport and Liezel Huber, who won the doubles last week at Stanford, against another pair of Americans, Jill Craybas and Shenay Perry.
-- Diane Pucin
Photo credit: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images