Saturday, 5 September 2009

Flushing Meadows: Melanie Oudin - Bane of Russian Tennis

(Photo: AP)

I like pint-sized players that punch beyond their weight class. So I've no qualms about offering my props to Oudin, but this one was painful to watch.

I'd barely gotten over the angst of losing
Azarenka - a blow only softened by the fact that she couldn't have gone out to a nicer player.

But watching
Shaza flounder her way through to 21 double faults and around 60 UFEs was a different order of angst altogether.

I don't begrudge Melanie or the American crowd their moment in the sun, but did anyone else find the cheering
of every one of those double faults and UFEs in the closing stages of the match a little much? Especially considering the way Shaza was struggling with her arm.

That said, Melanie is exactly the kind of player the tour needs - she's versatile, moves well, and on the evidence of this week is not afraid to step it up - a craft she seems to be honing at the expense of Russian tennis. Beware Nadia.

On the evidence of this match though, we'd be right to consider the question of whether Shaza's shoulder's likely to be a recurring problem. She's not the first and won't be the last player to have their career affected by a shoulder injury. Let's hope it doesn't wreck it.

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