NEW YORK --
She is the youngest U.S. Open quarterfinalist since Serena in '99 and her matches have taken on the dimensions of a tired After School Special.
In Wednesday night's installment (episode five), she faces another teenager, Denmark's
You can expect long rallies and graceful movement and the kind of tactical tennis that, too often, is seldom in evidence in women's matches. Wozniacki will do well to feast on Oudin's fluttering serves. Oudin will do well to try to dictate play and use a partial crowd to her advantage.
And therein lies the real key to the match: It will be as much about handling emotions as it will be about ball striking and execution. Facing the Belle of the Ball, Wozniacki will be a huge underdog. The first question Wozniacki was asked after her sensational victory over Kuznetsova, the best win of her young career: "What are your thoughts about Melanie Oudin?" It can't be fun for anyone, not least a teenager unaccustomed to the Big Stage, to play in front of 20,000 fans with about 19,900 of them rooting for the opponent.
But adulation brings pressure with it and Oudin, too, will need to compartmentalize. In 10 days, she's gone from a promising, if undersized, prospect to a full-fledged celeb who's attracted the cameras of the morning shows, triggered fights among photographers angling for her image and had her hotel accommodations deconstructed on Web sites. She's handled it all with real aplomb so far, but every news cycle brings another layer of attention.
The winner? We'll say Oudin in three sets. Why mess with the script now?