Melanie Oudin upsets Francesca Schiavone to keep U.S. alive in Fed Cup
With an ace in the corner followed by a screeching successions of "Oh my Gods," Melanie Oudin upset Italian Francesca Schiavone, 6-3, 6-1, Sunday in San Diego to keep the U.S. alive in the Fed Cup finals. Schiavone, ranked seventh in the world, seemed a step behind the American, who has struggled this year to find wins against the best players.
Oudin, who was a U.S. Open quarterfinalist in 2009 but whose ranking dropped all year and who was passed over for Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Fed Cup rookie CoCo Vandeweghe by U.S. captain Mary Joe Fernandez in the first round of singles, kept pressuring Schiavone by not playing it safe and going for big shots.
Schiavone, who had little trouble in beating Vandeweghe on Saturday, seemed out of sorts with her game as well. She lost 11 straight points to start the second set and was prone to unforced errors throughout the match.
The U.S. still trails Italy, 2-1, in the best-of-five format. Vandeweghe, the 18-year-old niece of former NBA star Kiki Vandeweghe, plays Flavia Pennetta now and needs a win to force a decisive doubles match.
Italy is the defending champion. The U.S. hasn't won a Fed Cup title since 2000.
-- Diane Pucin in San Diego
Photo: Melanie Oudin signs autographs duing the U.S. Open last year. Credit: Amy Sancetta / Associated Press