No. 1 seed Oudin loses in first round of Fifth Third Bank Tennis Championships

Planned confidence-builder for U.S.Open backfires

cclaybourn@herald-leader.comJuly 21, 2011 

Top seed Melanie Oudin slammed a backhand to Chanel Simmonds Wednesday in the Fifth Third Tennis Championships at the University of Kentucky. Oudin lost 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-3.

Top seed Melanie Oudin lost in the first round of the Fifth Third Bank Tennis Championships on Wednesday, 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-3 to Chanel Simmonds of South Africa.

It's been a rough road for Oudin since her loud splash in 2009, when she made it to the quarterfinals of both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, reaching the ranking of No. 31 in the world.

Wednesday's result at the University of Kentucky's Boone Tennis Complex won't make things easier.

"There are no excuses," Oudin said. "She played better than me. There's not really much I can say."

Oudin's run in 2009 included wins over some of the top players in the world, including Jelena Jankovic, Elena Dementieva, Maria Sharapova and Nadia Petrova.

But since then, she's watched her ranking fall just as quickly as it rose, all the way down to No. 100 before this week's tournament.

Oudin, 19, said she planned to use the Fifth Third — where she earned her first professional victory, in 2008 — to build confidence heading into the U.S. Open.

It was not to be. Not only did she lose in singles, she lost in the first round in doubles as well. She and Alison Riske lost 6-3, 7-5 to Hilary Barte and Allie Will on Tuesday.

Despite the singles match being played at night, she said the heat was a factor and said her conditioning needs to improve.

Oudin suffered a biceps injury this year, but she said that did not affect Wednesday's match.

Admitting that she was simply outplayed by Simmonds, ranked 241 in the world, Oudin said she needs to improve "all around."

"I'm not very happy, but I don't dwell on losses," she said. "Next tournament I go into, I'll be ready. This is a smaller tournament, and of course I wanted to win it. But what really matters are the Grand Slams."

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