Maria Sharapova crashed out of the U.S. Open to 17-year-old American sensation Melanie Oudin in a marathon three-setter on Saturday.
Oudin, who shocked Sharapova’s fourth-seeded Russian compatriot Elena Dementieva in the second round, put out the former world number one 3-6 6-4 7-5 to reach the last 16. She wept tears of joy after completing her battling victory over 2006 champion Sharapova on the Arthur Ashe Stadium Court. Oudin, who is racing up the rankings, put out Jelena Jankovic at Wimbledon earlier this year but was assisted by a string of errors by her illustrious opponent. The former world number one served a staggering 21 double faults and made 63 unforced errors to fatally undermine her challenge. Oudin will now play another Russian, 13th seed Nadia Petrova, for a place in the quarterfinals. Sharapova looked headed for a routine victory after she took the first set, courtesy of four breaks of service, but the mistakes crept into her play as Oudin leveled to the delight of the partisan crowd. The final set was a nervy, if gripping affair, with Oudin ending a run of no less than six dropped services in a row by holding in the final game to take the match after a shade under three hours. Sharapova, who only returned to the circuit after shoulder surgery earlier this summer, called the trainer during the deciding set, receiving massage treatment to her upper arms.
Teenager Oudin shocks Dementieva
Williams sisters cruise into last 16
Ivanovic crashes out of U.S. Open
Nadal and Federer talk up duel
“I think I got lucky,” Oudin told reporters. “She double faulted a couple of times. I was putting pressure on her second serves. I served a pretty good game in that last game. I knew I had to make some first serves.” Earlier Saturday there was another close shave for top seed Dinara Safina as she battled back to beat German Kristina Barrois 6-7 6-2 6-3. The Russian also had trouble with her service but as in first round escape against Australian Olivia Rogowska, Safina kept her nerve in the decider despite going down an early break. French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova continued her fine run with a 6-4 6-2 win over Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova as she bids for a second U.S. Open crown.