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Sports

Unheralded teen stuns Sharapova

The Associated Press
Published:   |   Updated: March 23, 2013 at 09:23 AM
NEW YORK -

She sat there in shock. Then, the tears started falling.

Believe it or not, 17-year-old Melanie Oudin is the toast of the town at the U.S. Open.

Gritting her way through a shaky third set, the 70th-ranked player from Marietta, Ga., pulled off her second upset of the Open on Saturday, defeating a more-seasoned, more-famous, more-moneyed opponent - 29th-seeded Maria Sharapova, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.

"I don't even know what to say right now," Oudin said, choking back tears in her postmatch interview in Arthur Ashe Stadium. "Thank you so much for cheering for me."

Sharapova, who has won this tournament once, usually gets those cheers. But on this cloudless day in Queens, the fans were rooting for a new potential queen - the one who stamped the word "Believe" on her shoes, but probably didn't see this coming so soon.

"My goal was to make the top 50," she said. "But if I keep playing like this, who knows? Hopefully, I can get as high as anything."

She added this upset to one over No. 4 Elena Dementieva in the second round and a win against former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic earlier this year at Wimbledon.

Oudin's fourth-round match is against No. 13 Nadia Petrova of Russia, though there's a sense she may already have knocked out the two toughest players on her side of the draw in Dementieva and Sharapova. No. 5 Jankovic is also gone, along with No. 11 Ana Ivanovic. No. 1 Dinara Safina is still there, but she has been playing poorly.

The Williams sisters are on the other side of the draw and it may not be too early to dream about the third-best American, Oudin, going against one of the two best for the U.S. title.

"I've always been so competitive," Oudin said. "I go out there and fight as hard as I can. I have 'Believe' on my shoes. That's what I did today."

Several hours later, on the same court, another unheralded American pulled off another upset of a past U.S. Open champion: 55th-ranked John Isner pounded 38 aces and eliminated No. 5 Andy Roddick 7-6 (3), 6-3, 3-6, 5-7, 7-6 (5) to reach the fourth round at a major tournament for the first time.

Earlier, No. 1 Roger Federer extended his winning streak to 37 at the U.S. Open, overcoming some shaky play for a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 victory against No. 31 Lleyton Hewitt.

It was Federer's 14th straight win against Hewitt, a former No. 1 who won the U.S. Open in 2001.

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