Oudin’s ‘Cinderella’ run ends at U.S. Open

Melanie Oudin of the United States returns a point to Danish player Caroline Wozniacki on Wednesday.
U.S. teenager Melanie Oudin’s fairy-tale run at the U.S. Open ended when ninth seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark defeated her 6-2, 6-2, to earn the semi-final spot against Belgian Yanina Wickmayer on Friday.

The 70th seed’s loss Wednesday night ended a blockbuster performance that included ousting among others fourth seed Elena Dementieva and No. 29-seed Maria Sharapova — the formerly ranked No. 1. Oudin, 17, of Marietta, Georgia, is the youngest American since Serena Williams in 1999 to reach the quarterfinals. In the other quarterfinal, Wickmayer beat Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine 7-5 6-4 after coming from 4-1 down in the second set. Wickmayer has joined countrywoman Kim Clijsters in the last four. Yesterday, American Serena Williams stayed on course for her third grand slam title of the year with a 6-4 6-3 win over Italy’s Flavia Pennetta in their quarterfinal. Williams, who is bidding to win the Flushing Meadows crown for the fourth time, will now meet former champion Clijsters in an eagerly awaited last four clash. Earlier, unseeded Clijsters beat China’s Li Na in straight sets to continue her incredible comeback to tennis after a two-year layoff.

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The 26-year-old Belgian beat Serena’s sister Venus in the fourth round and made no mistake in a 6-2 6-4 victory. “I’m just glad I got through this,” Clijsters told reporters. “I tried to stay focused on my own game, mix it up and stay aggressive and winning those important points.” Clijsters won her only grand slam title at Flushing Meadows in 2005 but injury ruled out her defense the following year and in May 2007 she surprisingly walked away from the sport, saying she was tired of the injuries and lifestyle. During her time off, she married and had a baby daughter, but 18 months after giving birth, she came blistering back to action at the start of August with a view to making her mark again at the U.S. Open. Clijsters is the first unseeded player to reach the semifinals at the hardcourt grand slam since Russian Elena Dementieva in 2000. She has also matched the best run by a wildcard at New York, matching Jimmy Connors, who reached the semis in 1991. But she will go into her match against Serena Williams with the statistics against her, having won just one of eight clashes against the world number two.

Williams is also in imperious form as she bids for a 12th grand slam title, brushing aside dangerous outsider Pennetta by breaking her service to love to take the opening set. A single break in the sixth game of the second set sealed victory for the defending champion to delight the night session crowd.