Oudins magical US Open ends with quarter-final loss to Wozniacki

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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NEW YORK - Melanie Oudin's magical U.S. Open is over.
Even the comeback kid couldn't overturn this deficit.
Showing signs of shakiness in her first Grand Slam quarter-final, the 17-year-old Oudin got off to a slow start against No. 9-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark and never really recovered, losing 6-2, 6-2 Wednesday night.
Oudin, who is ranked 70th, upset four more established players - including three-time major champion Maria Sharapova and Beijing Olympic gold medallist Elena Dementieva - to become the youngest quarter-finalist at Flushing Meadows since Serena Williams in 1999.
Oudin's last three victories each came after dropping the first set. But Wednesday's start was quite inauspicious: She lost 14 of the first 18 points under the bright lights in the big city.
With "BELIEVE" stamped in all capital letters on the heels of her pink-and-yellow sneakers - and, up in the player guest box, her twin sister and coach wearing black T-shirts bearing that word, too - Oudin certainly never gave up. Her groundstrokes let her down, though.
Oudin made 43 unforced errors, 23 more than Wozniacki. A relative veteran by comparison, the 19-year-old Wozniacki leads the women's tour in match victories this season.
Now the Dane will play in her first Grand Slam semifinal against another teen, 19-year-old Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium. The 50th-ranked Wickmayer - never before past the second round at a Grand Slam tournament - reeled off the last five games to beat Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine 7-5, 6-4.
The other women's semifinal Friday features two far more familiar names: defending champion Serena Williams against 2005 champion Kim Clijsters.
To no one's surprise, Oudin did make bids to get back into her match against Wozniacki.
At 1-1 in the second set, Oudin held two break points - and pushed a forehand return of a 114 km/h second serve wide, then sailed a forehand long.
Then, at 2-all, Oudin again earned two break points - and sent a backhand wide on the first, then a forehand long on the second.
And that, essentially, was that. Wozniacki won that game and each of the next four, ignoring a partisan crowd that cheered when she double-faulted.
In men's action Wednesday, No. 4-seeded Novak Djokovic reached the U.S. Open semifinals for the third consecutive year, beating No. 10 Fernando Verdasco of Spain 7-6 (2), 1-6, 7-5, 6-2.
Djokovic, the 2008 Australian Open champion, lost to Roger Federer in the 2007 final and the 2008 semifinals at Flushing Meadows.
He could meet Federer again this year: After the Oudin-Wozniacki match, Federer was to face No. 12 Robin Soderling in the quarter-finals, with the winner facing Djokovic.

Organizations: U.S. Open

Geographic location: NEW YORK, Denmark, Belgium

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