Melanie Oudin joins Williams sister in US Open 2009 second round
Melanie Oudin defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 6-2 to reach the second round at the US Open.
Oudin is ranked just 70th in the world and is the third-ranked American after Serena and Venus.
“When I found that out I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “It was like Serena, Venus, and then me and, I mean, I’ve idolized them since I was little, and I still do.
“They’re the best players out there right now, so yes, it’s pretty crazy, but I know I’ve worked hard, and I’m really happy to be called the third-best American.”
Oudin was delighted with her win over the Russian today but still thinks that her defeat of sixth seed Jelena Jankovic to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon remains the highlight of her career so far.
Since then, she qualified for top tournaments in Stanford, Los Angeles and Cincinnati in the buildup to Flushing Meadows to underline her emergence as a possible top-20 player.
It was all down to sheer hard work over the last few months, Oudin said.
“After Wimbledon I wanted to work on my serve and some of my backhand, getting that more of a strength, and just getting fitter and quicker and stronger,” she said.
“A little bit of everything. I know I can improve everything in my game.
“So, the hardcourt season, I’ve just been working really hard. Past two weeks I’ve just been training and just getting my body healthy so I can be 100 percent for here.”
Oudin knows that the physical side is key for her future for at five feet six inches (1.65m) she is small by modern day standards, especially compared to the Williams sisters.
Oudin’s next opponent will be Elena Dementieva, who beat Camille Pin 61 62.
“I thought that I might have a little bit of an advantage with the crowd supporting me, which it did help a lot today. They were extremely supportive,” she said.