Unseeded American teen Melanie Oudin provided the big shocker at the US Open on Thursday, bouncing the player many pundits had on their short list of title contenders, No. 4-seeded Russian Elena Dementieva 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.
“During the match, I had confidence, and, I mean, I was right there with her the entire time,” said the 17-year-old Oudin, who repeatedly received treatment for a wrapped leg injury. “She wasn’t blowing me off the court. She wasn’t hitting winners left and right on me.”
Oudin will next face (29) Maria Sharapova, who was hitting winners left and right in overpowering American junior Christina McHale 6-2, 6-1.
“That’s the great thing about playing the Grand Slams, you have a day to recover in between,” said Sharapova on her still-recovering shoulder and time to rest before facing Oudin. “I definitely have to go out there and expect her to play some of her best tennis.”
World No. 1 Dinara Safina was involved in another three-set escape act, coming from a set down to defeat the unheralded Kristina Barrois 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3.
“Another tough day in the office,” said Safina, who overcame 15 doubles faults, three alone in losing the first-set tiebreak. “There is no problem in the technique or nothing. Just in my head.”
No. 5 seed Jelena Jankovic, still grieving from the death of her grandmother the day before, could not keep it together in a three-set loss to Yaroslava Shvedova.
“I was very sad and emotionally I was really not on court,” said Jankovic, who squandered match points before dropping a third-set tiebreak. “I really tried my best to be there and to try to play, but it was really hard. You could see I was not happy on the court. I was really suffering. I tried to think about my tennis, but I felt like I was so late and so slow.”
Other Top 10 seeds through were (6) Svetlana Kuznetsova straight-setting Anastasija Sevastova, and (9) Caroline Wozniacki bageling Petra Martic 6-1, 6-0.
In other upsets Sara Errani bounced (19) Patty Schnyder 7-5, 6-2, Anastasia Rodionova outlasted (23) Sabine Lisicki 6-3, 3-6, 7-5, and Gisela Dulko rolled over (30) Alona Bondarenko 6-4, 6-0.
Friday’s highlights on the schedule include American Vania King vs. (22) Daniela Hantuchova, Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez vs. (2) Serena Williams, Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova vs. (3) Venus Williams, the Canadian Mauresmo-killer Aleksandra Wozniak vs. (10) Flavia Pennetta, an all-Belgian in Kim Clijsters vs. Kirsten Flipkens, (8) Victoria Azarenka vs. (26) Francesca Schiavone, (18) Na Li vs. upset-maker Maria Kirilenko, and the all-Russian in (7) Vera Zvonareva vs. (31) Elena Vesnina.
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