| NEW YORK, Sept 9
NEW YORK, Sept 9 Melanie Oudin's magical run
through the U.S. Open ended in a heap of unforced errors in
Wednesday's quarter-final yet life will never be the same again
for the 17-year-old American who became the tournament darling.
"I've gone from being just a normal-like tennis player to
almost everyone in the United States knowing who I am now," she
told reporters after her 6-2 6-2 defeat by Caroline Wozniacki of
"It's definitely different but I enjoyed it."
The short, scrappy Oudin, who had the word "believe" stamped
along the heels of her pink and yellow tennis shoes, made
believers out of National Tennis Center throngs and television
audiences with a string of come from behind upsets.
She eliminated four higher-ranked Russians in a row, a run
that included coming back from a set down to beat Olympic
champion Elena Dementieva, the fourth seed, former champion
Maria Sharapova and 13th seed Nadia Petrova in succession.
Pumping her fist to psyche herself up, riding the wave of
cheers from the crowds and unabashedly letting tears of joy
flow, Oudin won a legion of fans and may have inspired other
"I've had a great run this tournament. For me, I'm a
perfectionist, so losing today was a disappointment. I wanted to
win. Losing isn't good enough for me.
"But the whole experience here that I've had is going to
take me a long way, I think. I'm going to remember this for a
long time. I've gained a lot of confidence through this
tournament and I think I can only get better."
A year ago, Oudin was a first-round loser at the Open as a
wildcard ranked 221 in the world. She ended the year at 177th.
After reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon, beating former
number one Jelena Jankovic along the way, Oudin arrived at
Flushing Meadows ranked 70th. She exits inside the top 45.
"Believing was my key thing going into these matches and
knowing that I could compete with these women and beat them,"
"Now I realise that I got to the quarter-finals of the U.S.
Open so I know that hopefully I can do it again and again."
Oudin said her peers have taken notice.
"I think it gives a lot of hope to the other Americans,
especially the American junior girls because I've gotten a lot
of support from them," she said. "I've heard they've all been
cheering for me in the junior indoor courts over there.
"Just the fact that I'm the same age as a lot of them
playing the juniors ... it's inspiring to them."
Oudin said she was not in danger of getting a big head.
"I'm basically a normal 17-year-old kid. I still go to
movies and go to the mall. I like to shop. Just different
things, like board games and cards with my grandma," she said.
Oudin singled out a couple of special Open memories.
"I never thought that I'd play Maria Sharapova on Arthur
Ashe Stadium at the U.S. Open this year. Definitely did not see
"Just getting to play her and beating her. I've never met
her before, so shaking her hand after the match was the first
time I met her. It was crazy, the whole thing, though I loved
She said she also got a kick out of meeting men's all-time
grand slam winner Roger Federer.
"It was really nice. He told me congratulations. I was going
to tell him congratulations, too, and I totally forgot about
that he just had, you know, twin girls and all that stuff. My
mind just kind of froze getting to meet him."
(Editing by Pritha Sarkar; To query or comment on this story