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Qualifier upsets Jankovic

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 23, 2013 at 12:32 AM
WIMBLEDON, England -

As a tyke growing up in Marietta, Ga., Melanie Oudin would watch Venus and Serena Williams on TV and tell anyone who would listen that she was going to play at Wimbledon, too, one day.

Who knew she'd be right? And do so well, so quickly?

Making her Wimbledon debut at age 17 after getting through qualifying, the 124th-ranked Oudin joined the Williams sisters in the fourth round at the All England Club by beating former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic 6-7 (8), 7-5, 6-2 Saturday in the most startling result of the tournament's opening week.

"Was just thinking that she was any other player, and this was any other match, and I was at any other tournament - you know, not, like, on the biggest stage, at Wimbledon, playing my first top-10 player," Oudin said. "I mean, I go into every match the exact same, you know, like, no matter who I play. It's not, like, 'Oh, my gosh, I'm playing the No. 1 player in the world.'"

Another U.S. qualifier, 133rd-ranked Jesse Levine of Boca Raton, couldn't extend his run in the men's tournament, losing to No. 19 Stanislas Wawrinka 5-7, 7-5, 6-3, 6-3. That leaves No. 6 Andy Roddick as the last American man in the tournament.

The only time Oudin really lost her way was when her match ended and it was time to leave Court 3, a patch of grass known as "The Graveyard of Champions," because of the long list of stars upset there. She wasn't quite sure where to go and asked someone to direct her toward the exit.

Not all that surprising, when you consider that a year ago, Oudin entered the junior event at Wimbledon - seeded No. 1 among the girls - and failed to make it out of the second round, losing 6-1, 6-3 to eventual champion Laura Robson of Britain.

Oudin will face No. 11 Agniesza Radwanska of Poland on Monday with a quarterfinal berth at stake, heady stuff for someone who was 0-2 at Grand Slam tournaments until this week.

While Oudin was working on her big win, five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams was enjoying a matter-of-fact contest on Centre Court, winning the first eight games en route to a 6-0, 6-4 victory against 34th-ranked Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain. The only other time they played, on a hard court at the Australian Open in January, Suarez Navarro knocked off Williams in the second round.

At Wimbledon, the elder Williams has won 17 consecutive matches and 29 straight sets, and is trying to become the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1991-93 to win three consecutive titles. Next up: 2008 French Open champion and former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic, who is seeded 13th and eliminated No. 18 Samantha Stosur 7-5, 6-2.

Oudin wasn't the only teen who turned in a significant win: 19-year-old Sabine Lisicki of Germany beat two-time major champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 7-5.

The 41st-ranked Lisicki now meets yet another teen, No. 9-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, and No. 1 Dinara Safina will play 2006 Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo.

No. 6 Roddick improved to 9-0 against No. 26 Jurgen Melzer after a 7-6 (2), 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-3 victory.

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