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September 5, 2009

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Home » Sports » Tennis

Dementieva and Jankovic fall but Safina survives

MELANIE Oudin was hailed as the new sweetheart of American tennis as she dazzled Olympic champion Elena Dementieva at the US Open on Thursday in New York while an emotionally drained Jelena Jankovic also departed early.

On a day when top seed Dinara Safina was again lucky to survive, teenager Oudin buzzed around court in her bright pink and yellow shoes to defeat Dementieva 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.

Flushing Meadows was still reverberating with Oudin's spectacular feat when Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova provided the second shock of the day, saving two match points to squeeze past 2008 runner-up and fifth seed Jankovic 6-3, 6-7, 7-6.

Jankovic's mind and heart were not on tennis, however, as she later revealed her grandmother had passed away in Serbia.

"I was very close to her. I was very sad and emotionally I was really not on court. I really tried my best to be there... but it was really hard," the usually bubbly Jankovic said through a WTA representative.

As Oudin fired down an unreturnable serve to seal Dementieva's fate, 23,000 hollering fans rose to their feet on Arthur Ashe Stadium to salute the player many believe will spearhead the next generation of American tennis.

"I am so excited, you have no idea," gushed the 70th-ranked Oudin as she basked under the sun in a court-side interview.

Safina was anything but excited as she shrieked and screamed her way through another battle of wills to defeat 67th-ranked German Kristina Barrois 6-7, 6-2, 6-3.

Next up for Oudin will be 2006 champion Maria Sharapova, who defeated 17-year-old American Christina McHale 6-2, 6-1.

On the men's side, Novak Djokovic and Andy Roddick signaled the strength of their challenges for the US Open title by breezing into the third round.

Djokovic, a runner-up in 2007, beat Australia's Carsten Ball 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 while Roddick cruised past France's Marc Gicquel 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.

Roddick next faces John Isner, a big-serving American.

It was a good day for the seeded men, who all progressed, including No. 8 Nikolay Davyenko and No. 10 Fernando Verdasco, who both won in straight sets.

Verdasco has a difficult task in the third round against German Tommy Haas, who also was a straight-sets winner, while Davydenko will face Swiss Marco Chiudinelli.


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