The city of love is falling for Melanie Oudin and the feeling is mutual. Oudin, who captured the hearts of tennis fans with her stirring play at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, has found her game on the Paris stage.
2010 has been a fairly rude wake-up call for the young American. After first round knockouts at Hobart and Melbourne, Melanie seems to have taken heart from her idol, Justine Henin’s, return to the game.
That’s a fitting role model for the 18-year old. Melanie’s ranking has fallen to 53rd place and not fitting for the caliber of tennis and heart she showed the world on the game’s biggest stages. Perhaps, the lights have dimmed a bit for the petite blonde.
In Paris, her tournament began against 39th ranked Sorana Cirstea, who has made some pretty flashy runs of her own. Oudin used an improved serve and her stinging ground game to take early command of the match. Showing last year’s blinding speed and endless determination, Melanie notched her first win of the new season with a 6-3, 6-0 triumph.
In round two, the task looked to be more difficult. Her opponent was Swiss upstart Patty Schnyder, who had ousted the 7th seed and 24th ranked Virginia Razzano, in the first round. Schnyder came into the match playing with confidence.
Oudin registered two quick breaks and took the wind from Patty’s sails en route to a 6-1, 6-3 spanking. This may have been just the win Oudin needs to build some momentum of her own.
In the quarters, Oudin will face experienced Hungarian Agnes Szavay, who marched through Wickmayer conqueror Petra Martic 6-2, 6-4. Since the media blitz following the U.S. Open, Oudin’s life has changed quite a bit. Here’s hoping Melanie will re-discover her passion in Paris. It has worked for others.
Top seeded Elena Dementieva, who has also fallen in the rankings continues to hone her game. The graceful Russian will face Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, who upset 6th seeded Arevane Rezai. If Dementieva and Oudin win, it would set up a semifinal repeat of last year’s Open match that launched Oudin to fame.
Number 2 seed, Italian Flavia Pennetta survived a first-set challenge from Alisa Kleybanova and moved on to face another upset winner Tathiana Garbin. The young Italian knocked off 8th seed, Elena Vesnina, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.
Ever dangerous Czech Lucie Safarova knocked off 4th seeded Francesca Schiavone in a baseline slugfest, 7-5, 6-2. Lucie will face tour veteran Shahar Peer, the sixth seed in the quarters.
Crowds have been robust at the $700,000 GDF Suez. The hard courts are speedy and play is fast. Dementieva appears very much at home on the surface and despite some service concerns, Elena is always in great form!
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