Melanie Oudin staged a massive comeback in her opening round qualifying match at the French Open.
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By McCarton Ackerman, USTA.com
Melanie Oudin showed off her trademark fighting spirit on Thursday at the French Open, fending off three match points to advance through her opening round of qualifying. She was joined in the second round by fellow Americans Grace Min and Allie Kiick.
Trailing 4-0 and 5-2 in the final set of her match against Manon Arcangioli of France, Oudin continued to run down balls from the baseline and mentally wear down her less-experienced opponent. After Arcangioli failed to serve out the match for a second time at 5-4, Oudin soared through the next two games and prevailed, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5, after more than two hours of play.
Best known for reaching the US Open quarterfinals in 2009, Oudin is on the comeback trail after being diagnosed at the end of last year with rhabdomyolysis, which caused the muscles in both of her arms to become completely ruptured. She missed the first three months of 2014, but the 22-year-old is starting to regain the form that brought her as high as No. 31 in the world. She’ll play Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands in her next match.
Meanwhile, Kiick made a comeback of her own in her debut French Open match, defeating Polina Vinogradova of Russia, 1-6, 7-5, 6-0. The Russian served for the match at 5-4 in the second set, but Kiick found the range on her shots and Vinogradova faltered in the final set. The 18-year-old Kiick, currently ranked No. 176, has begun to break through at the WTA level this year. She won her first WTA main draw match last month in Monterrey, Mexico, and qualifying for the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Kiick will play Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine in the next round.
Min won her opening round match in far less dramatic fashion, easily defeating Eva Birnerova of Czech Republic, 6-2, 6-3. She’s currently ranked No. 132 after posting stellar results this clay season, including winning the $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Dothan, Ala., and the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Innisbrook, Fla. She also qualified for and won her opening round match at the WTA Premiere event in Charleston, S.C. Min will square off against Ayumi Morita of Japan on Friday.
Irina Falconi was the only other American woman to compete today, losing her opening-round qualifying match, 6-2, 6-4, against No. 2 seed Heather Watson of Great Britain.
On the men’s side, Tim Smyczek advanced to the final round of qualifying by defeating Tristan Lamasine of France, 6-2, 6-4. He’ll play Miloslav Mecir of Slovakia on Friday for a spot in the main draw. Ryan Harrison narrowly lost his second-round qualifying match to James Ward of Great Britain, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4).