For the third straight match, teen tennis phenom Melanie Oudin ceded the first set to a supposedly superior opponent, then went on to take two out of three, advancing to the U.S. Open quarterfinal. Monday's victim for the 17-year-old Georgian was Russian Nadia Petrova, who fell 6-1, 6-7, 3-6. Oudin has now established herself as the unofficial American Russian killer in this tournament, having previously defeated Maria Sharapova, Elena Dementieva, and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Oudin's striking, almost boyish, athleticism, her incredible court savvy and her uber-confident approach to the task at hand is surpassed only by her infectious enthusiasm and sincere charm, which is winning her fans in droves with every passing day.
Oudin now will face Caroline Wozniacki (left), who outlasted Svetlana Kuznetsova, winner of the 2004 U.S. Open women's singles title. Wozniacki, only 19 herself, and a bit of a "Maria wannabe" in the looks department, has never played Oudin. Wozniacki is undefeated in her last nine matches and is higher-ranked than Oudin, but Melanie looks hungry, talented, and more importantly, touched by magic.