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September 9, 2009

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Home » Sports » Tennis

Another Russian falls to Oudin

AMERICA'S newest heroine, Melanie Oudin, continued her dream-like run at the US Open with another shocking upset on Monday while steely top seed Roger Federer forged closer to his 16th grand slam crown.

"Mentally I'm staying in there with them the whole time, and I'm not giving up at all," the 17-year-old Oudin said after reaching her first major quarterfinal with a 1-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3 victory over Russian Nadia Petrova.

"So if they're going to beat me, they're going to beat me, because I'm not going to go anywhere."

After belting a forehand winner to close out the match, Oudin dropped her racket, raised her arms, and looked at the sky while nearly 24,000 at Arthur Ashe Stadium roared.

On an unseasonably cool day at Flushing Meadows, the Russians concluded their worst grand slam performance in nearly a decade, while the US men had their worst showing in New York since tennis turned professional in 1968.

Federer, however, was his usual brilliant self, blitzing 14th-seeded Spaniard Tommy Robredo, who was sent off bewildered after being on the receiving end of a 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 wallop.

"He was playing so good," Robredo said of the five-time Open winner. "When he plays like this, it's tough."

Fourth seed Novak Djokovic also had an easy time, bouncing 15th seed Czech Radek Stepanek 6-1, 6-3, 6-3.

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki managed the day's biggest upset when she toppled former champion and No. 6 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova 2-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) to reach her first grand slam quarterfinal. Also there for the first time are Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko and Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium, who advanced by beating Czech Petra Kvitova - the player who earlier knocked out No. 1-ranked Dinara Safina..

Wozniacki, the ninth seed, will face Oudin in the quarters and the 19-year-old has no illusions about who will receive the crowd's backing.

"It's going to be tough, especially also with the whole crowd supporting her," Wozniacki said.

Oudin has beaten four Russians so far, helping send the tennis power home early.

Having started with 15 women and eight men in the singles draws, all were beaten by day eight of the event - making it the first time since Wimbledon 2000 that no Russian reached the last eight of a grand slam singles event.

American John Isner's 6-4, 4-6, 4-6, 4-6 loss to 10th seed Fernando Verdasco of Spain marked the first time since 1968 that no American male advanced to the Open quarterfinals.

US hopes

"I didn't really care," the 24-year-old said Isner of his role carrying the US hopes. "I didn't really think too much of it. I wanted to keep it going."

The story of the Open so far is the diminutive Oudin, whose never-say-die style of play and bubbly demeanor has made her the darling of Flushing Meadows.

"It's really a great feeling," the 70th-ranked Oudin said.

Oudin opened her dizzying run by defeating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, then shocked fourth seed Elena Dementieva and former champion Maria Sharapova.

She insists there are no secrets on how to beat a Russian.

"I don't think they had weaknesses," she said. "Every single match has been so competitive and so close, and I've been able to pull it out in the end."

Oudin scampers around the court like her idol, Belgium's former world No. 1 Justine Henin. She chased down everything Petrova threw at her.

"When you do it for the first time you feel so excited and everything is so new and you have absolutely nothing to lose and you go and you do it," Petrova, the 13th seed, said of Oudin.


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