Tuesday, September 8, 2009

US Open Week 1 Wrap - The Ladies - Watch out for 'Melanie the Russian Slayer'

So we’re into the second week at the US Open and so much has happened, it’s insanely hard to keep track.

So here’s a little bit of what you need to know in case you haven’t been following regularly, or in case you’re one of those tennis fans who only get sucked into the Slams when they’re well into their second week. Either way, here’s some of what you missed on the women's side:

Melanie Oudin reacts to a point against Nadia Petrova
Photo credit: AFP/Getty

* Well if you don’t know who Melanie Oudin is by now, then all I can say is ... shame on you!!! The 17-year-old is living her very own American version of the movie Braveheart, where she’s William Wallace and the Russians are the English.

Oudin, who entered the US Open ranked at number 70 in the world rankings, has eliminated 4 consecutive Russians, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (36 in the world), Elena Dementieva (4th seed and 2004 finalist), Maria Sharapova (2006 champion and 29th seed), and Nadia Petrova (13th seed), to reach the quarterfinals where, for a change, she will meet someone from a country other than Russia, all thanks to Caroline Wozniacki, who eliminated Russian 6th-seed, Svetlana Kutznetsova in the 4th round.

The girl has BELIEVE written on her shoes and certainly acts like it. Let’s see if she can keep the dream alive and go one step further in this minefield of a draw. Here’s her reaction to reaching the quarters on only her second appearance at the Open (she lost 1st round last year):

* Comeback Mommy, Kim Clijsters, is in the quarters and she eliminated third seed, Venus Williams in a weird 6-0, 0-6, 6-4, fourth round match.

The 2005 US Open champion, who is only playing her third event since her return to tennis following a 2-year retirement period, also beat 14th seed, Marion Bartoli, en route to the quarters. Next up for Kimmie is 18th-seed, Na Li of China.

Here's Clijsters' reaction to her victory over Venus:

* Second seed, Serena Williams, is the only remaining top 5 player in the draw after Dinara Safina, Venus Williams, Elena Dementieva and Jelena Jankovic all suffered early upsets.

Photo credit: DON EMMERT / AFP/Getty Images

* If you wanna know if anything controversial happened in the 1st week, well actually it did. World number 1, Dinara Safina, was really pissed that her 3rd round match against Petra Kvitova (which she lost after squandering 3 match points) was bumped at the very last second to Louis Armstrong stadium, so that James Blake can play on Arthur Ashe right away, instead of waiting for Safina's match, due to the fact that the day session matches ran longer than expected and crept into the night session.

So instead of keeping Safina's match (which was initially scheduled at 7pm on Ashe followed by Blake) and bumping the men, the organizers said they wanted the fans to enjoy a best of five match instead of three and decided to move the women.

"From my side, I can say, 'I’m No. 1 player in the world, why did they move me?'” complained the Russian. "They just told us, ’We’re switching you to Armstrong.’ And basically that’s it. And I think it’s very unfair.

Fellow tennis blogger, Rich, at Down the Line!, kindly followed up on the situation and reported that the USTA has apologized to Safina and Kvitova. You can read more about this here.

* The quarterfinal lineup for the ladies is as follows:

Yanina Wickmayer BEL vs Kateryna Bondarenko UKR
Melanie Oudin USA vs Caroline Wozniacki DEN (9)
Na Li CHN (18) vs Kim Clijsters BEL
Flavia Pennetta ITA (10) vs Serena Williams USA (2)

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