American teenager Melanie Oudin continued her giant-killing run at the US Open when she knocked out a third Russian seed in succession Nadia Petrova at Flushing Meadows.
The 17-year-old world number 70 from Marietta, Georgia, had already eliminated fourth seed Elena Dementieva and former champion Maria Sharapova, the No. 29 and she returned to Arthur Ashe Stadium to come from a set down to add 13th seed Petrova to her list of victims and reach the last eight.
Oudin had been in tears after beating Sharapova but she was all business in beating Petrova 1-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 in front of a wildly enthusiastic New York crowd enjoying an extra day off for Labour Day.
“It’s kind of hard to explain how I’ve done it,” Oudin said. “There are no tears because I believed I could do it and it’s like now that I know that I do belong here.
“This is what I want to do and I can compete with these girls no matter who I’m playing.
“I have a chance against anyone.”
Oudin will be able to put that to the test in an all-teenage quarter-final against the only remaining seed in her half of the draw, 19-year-old ninth seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark who came from a set down to defeat 2004 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova, the reigning French Open champion and sixth seed, in a third-set tie-break.
Kuznetsova, who committed 63 unforced errors in the match, had been a break up in the final set before surrendering two breaks to Wozniacki, only to break again when the Dane was serving for the match at 5-3.
Wozniacki got match point on the Russian’s serve before Kuznetsova held for 5-5 and saved another match point at 6-5 before forcing the tiebreak.
A weak backhand from the sixth seed at the net was the turning point in the breaker, handing a minibreak to Wozniacki and giving the Dane the serve at 5-3. This time there would be no more twists in the ploy and the ninth seed closed out the match to book a place in her first grand slam quarter-final.
“She just played unbelievable in the first set,” Wozniacki said, “I really didn’t know what to do but the crowd helped me through it.
“It feels amazing (to be in a first grand slam quarter-final), I’m so excited.
“(Oudin) is playing unbelievable, it’s going to be a tough match but I’m just going to go out there and enjoy it.
“Hopefully someone from the crowd will cheer for me.”
The day had begun in a decidedly lower key at Ashe when unseeded Ukrainian Kateryna Bondarenko whitewashed Argentina’s Gisela Dulko 6-0 6-0 in just 47 minutes.
“I don’t know what to tell you,” Bondarenko said. “I’m surprised that it’s six-love, six-love but I’m really happy it went that way.”
At least one semi-finalist in the women’s draw will be unseeded as Bondarenko’s quarter-final opponent will be Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer, a 4-6 6-4 7-5 winner over Dinara Safina’s US Open conqueror Petra Kvitova.
Wickmayer, 19, has been based in Florida since she was nine having left Belgium following the loss of her mother to cancer.
She persuaded her father to sell up and move to the States where she trained at the Saddlebrook tennis academy.
“I still don’t know how I did it when I was nine,” she said. “I guess I was older than I thought I was.
“He always believed in me and supported me.
“He didn’t leave everything because he expected me to be a champion. Actually he just left everything to make me happy. That’s a whole lot of difference.”