I just watched Melanie Oudin hit a forehand winner past 13-seed Nadia Petrova to win her fourth round match 1-6, 7-6, 6-3 and earn a spot in the quarterfinals of the US Open. The 17 year old has beaten four straight Russians at this tournament and has won three consecutive three-setters after losing the first set.
The ‘ovas and ‘evas of the world don’t faze the feisty, 5’6″ American, but her own rising celebrity is becoming intimidating. Just think: Last Sunday I witnessed Melanie wandering the grounds unrecognized and undisturbed during US Open Practice Day. Just a week later the NY Daily News reports that Oudin needs a security detail and has photographers fighting over her at photo shoots. The scene at Oudin’s Times Square photo shoot on Sunday morning:
Tourists and passers-by began to gather on 43rd St. Photographers jostled to get a shot of the new teenaged sensation who had just knocked out a former U.S. Open champion (Maria Sharapova). Tourists and photographers jostled and yelled as everyone seemed to call her name from every direction. The 5-foot-6 Oudin smiled nervously until the photographers began to push and shove each other. She was whisked away to a waiting car.
“It wasn’t really scary. It was just really weird,” Oudin said. “They all seemed to know me. It was just weird.”
Oudin on her new practice ritual:
Sunday when she tried to walk out to her practice court she was overwhelmed by fans. She had to go back and ask for a security escort. She smiled and apologized to autograph-seekers as security kept them away. During her 45-minute practice, she answered most encouragements shouted on the court with a smile, a wave and a thank you.
“I’ve had people watch me practice before, but this was the first time I needed security,” Oudin said. “That was a little different.”
Cilck here for the full story from the New York Daily News. Melanie Oudin will next play the winner of this evening’s Wozniacki vs. Kuznetsova match. If she wins that one, she may need a helicopter to air lift her out of Arthur Ashe Stadium.