By Nicholas J. Walz, USOpen.org
THE BUZZ: A spunky wild card and effervescent teen, Melanie Oudin captured the attention of the nation by taking match after match in dramatic fashion at the 2009 US Open. Featuring victories over four straight Russian opponents, three of them ranked, with two of them being former US Open finalists (fourth-seeded Elena Dementieva and 2006 champion Maria Sharapova), Oudin’s was one of the finest Cinderella runs at a major in recent memory before it ended on the racquet of Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals.
THE IMPACT: Behind a series of comeback wins, the Marietta, Ga., native became the youngest woman to reach the Open quarters since another 17-year-old American, Serena Williams, achieved the feat in 1999. Against Dementieva (second round), Sharapova (third round) and Nadia Petrova (round of 16), Oudin rallied from a set down to take each match, drawing tremendous cheers on the stadium courts with every forehand and fist pump. "It's something I'll never forget," Oudin told the New York Daily News two years later. "I believed in myself so much and it didn't matter who I was playing."
The performance elevated Oudin into the Top 50 for the first time in her career, and she eventually climbed to No. 31 in the world in 2010. While she is still working toward an encore in singles Oudin is a US Open champion – she won a US Open mixed doubles title with partner Jack Sock in 2011.
THE QUESTION: How soon will we again see Melanie Oudin playing in the second week of a Grand Slam event?