Sunday September 6th, 2009

Grades for the 2009 U.S. Open after six days:

Melanie Oudin: That sound you heard was the star-making apparatus revving up. The 17-year-old from Marietta, Ga., upsets Elena Dementieva and then Maria Sharapova. The toast of Week 1.

Men's seeds: Rolling right along (save Andy Roddick). Top 16 seeds reach the third round.

Serena Williams: Though a title won't elevate her ranking, this is shaping up as her tournament to lose.

John Isner: Good week for Georgia. Former Bulldog takes out Roddick 7-6 in the fifth for the one notable upset on the men's side.

Taylor Dent: Long live serve-and-volley tennis (with an additional nod to Ivan Navarro). In his first Open since 2005, Dent reaches Round 3 -- and wins one of the most enthralling men's match so far. Just a standout site, highlighted by the streaming video from the outer courts. We have seen the future.

Belgian tennis: Kim Clijsters is a contender. Yanina Wickmayer keeps winning. And these Justine Henin return rumors continue to grow louder. Pretty good for a country of 10 million.

Flawless weather: Not only a boon to the fans, but it's been conducive to high-quality tennis. Few retirements, no arrhythmic rain delayed matches, no dehydration.

ESPN: Lots to like about the debut coverage, but the McEnroe-McEnroe team needs to be reconsidered. Strong as they are individually, when paired together it feels like they're both playing out of position.

Qualifiers and wild cards: Most of have been eliminated but some strong performances, notably Clijsters.

Marat Safin and Fabrice Santoro: Two of the sport's more entertaining players -- for very different reasons -- play their final Grand Slam event.

Sam Stosur: Her doubles play keeps her from C territory. But how does a player who reaches Week 2 of both the French and Wimbledon -- and beats Serena on hard courts this summer -- fall in straight sets to Vania King?

Elena Dementieva: Another underachieving Slam -- this on the heels of a title in the U.S. Open tune-up. Gracious in defeat, as ever. But it's still defeat.

Ana Ivanovic: Her game (and thus confidence) is in the breakdown lane. The world's No.1 player barely a year ago, she has no answer, falling in the first round.

LeGarrette Blount: What does he have to do with tennis? Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott, former CEO of the WTA Tour, is getting an early taste of D-I sports. Say what you will about tennis politics, but there was never any coldcocking!

Dinara Safina: After flirting with disaster he first two matches, the No. 1 loses to 72nd-ranked Petra Kvitova in the third round.

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