Entering the week ranked outside the Top 200, no one thought it would be American Melanie Oudin’s time to shine during the grasscourt season, but the 20-year-old won her first career WTA title on Monday in the rain-delayed final of the AEGON Classic in Birmingham, England.
Oudin, who rocketed to stardom a few years ago when she shot to the quarterfinals of the US Open, beating current world No. 1 Maria Sharapova en route, plummeted down the rankings just as fast when she experienced confidence issues and found it difficult to meet public expectations.
On Monday Oudin earned her first title by beating a former world No. 1, Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 6-2. Oudin is now 2-0 career vs. Jankovic after beating her at Wimbledon a couple years back.
Oudin had to qualify to the main draw of Birmingham, utilizing her flat groundstrokes on the slick grass, and was 1-4 in WTA main draws in 2012 entering the event.
Jankovic fell to 12-15 in career finals.
It was also announced on Monday that Oudin, whose ranking would not allow her entry to the Wimbledon qualifying, has received a main draw wildcard at Wimbledon.
Jankovic after their 2009 Wimbledon meeting famously said of Oudin, “She cannot hurt you with anything. She doesn’t have any weapons, from what I’ve seen…She doesn’t make so many mistakes. But she doesn’t do anything, either, so it’s like she’s depending kind of on you.”
After winning her quarterfinals and semifinals on Sunday in the rain-plagued Birmingham, Oudin said her confidence is back.
“The confidence is a huge thing,” she said. “As much as I didn’t think it was, it is much more. Even closing out a match. Like the first match point and you’re able to close that one, I feel like before I would completely doubt myself and worry, ‘Oh, no, I don’t know if I can even win this one.’ And now I feel really confident I really can.”
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