Oudin’s fairytale runs into quarters

2009-09-08 00:00

NEW YORK — New American tennis darling Melanie Oudin stretched her fairytale U.S. Open run yesterday, starting the second week with a third straight knockout of a Russian opponent to move into a breakthrough quarterfinal spot.

The smiling 17-year-old from Georgia had her family on hand in the cavernous Ashe stadium during a 1-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 comeback over 13th seed Nadia Petrova.

Oudin, who announced her presence on the world stage with a Wimbledon fourth-round showing in July, calmly took down the number 13 after losing the opening set and going down a break in the second.

But for the third time in as many matches, the teenager rose to the occasion to carve out a fightback victory after losing the first set.

“I kept my belief even when I was down,” said the winner, the youngest American to reach an Open quarterfinal since Serena Williams a decade ago. “She was all over me, but I kept fighting.

Oudin accounted for fourth seed Elena Dementieva in a second-round surprise and stunned 2006 champion Maria Sharapova in the third, before completing her winning hat-trick with Petrova.

“I don’t think I started well,” said the number 70, who broke Petrova’s last three service games. “She was serving unbelievable [10 aces] but I stayed with her in the second.

“She gave me a couple of free points and I gained confidence as it went on. I believed I could do it — and I did.”

Oudin struck 19 winners and 32 unforced errors as she kept Petrova at bay, winning without a single ace and only one double-fault. She broke the experienced Russian seven times.

In men’s play, French Open finalist Robin Soderling advanced when Russian fifth seed Nikolay Davydenko retired with a groin injury to hand over a 7-5 3-6 6-2 victory to the Swede.

Results yesterday from the U.S. Open:

Singles Men, Fourth Round:

Robin Soderling (12), Sweden, def. Nikolay Davydenko (8), Russia, 7-5 3-6 6-2 retired.

Women, Fourth Round

Kateryna Bondarenko, Ukraine, def. Gisela Dulko, Argentina, 6-0 6-0.

Melanie Oudin, United States, def. Nadia Petrova (13), Russia, 1-6 7-6 (2) 6-3.

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