Move, over Dinara--there's another Thrill Ride in town. Ever since the U.S. Open, Melanie Oudin has performed in Safina-like fashion, coming back from being down a set and a break. She did it again today in Paris, against Agnes Szavay. Szavay took the first set 6-2 and went up 3-1 in the second. At that point, two things happened: Szavay's confidence started to collapse, and Oudin--sensing what was going on--moved in for the victory. Oudin won the second set 6-4, then went up 5-0 in the third before Szavay held. Szavay then broke Oudin when she served for the match, but Oudin broke her back to win.
A more interesting quarterfinal match was the one between top seed Elena Dementieva and Andrea Petkovic. Petkovic, who took out 5th seed Aravane Rezai yesterday, played such stunning tennis in the first set that it seemed inevitable that she would go down a level in the second. She did, but not by a whole lot. Experience took the day, however, and Dementieva was able to take the match with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 score.
Petkovic, like countrywoman Sabine Lisicki, descends--so to speak--from the likes of Fraulein Forehand, and the young German's forehand was on fire today. In women's pro tennis, we have become accustomed to seeing strong backhands, but perhaps this trend is changing. Ana Ivanovic, of course, has a splendid forehand, and so do Lisicki, Petkovic and Melanie Oudin. Petkovic's lively net play was also exciting to watch. One hopes that, with experience, she will be able to show off her considerable game to more and more fans.
The other two quarterfinal matches were brief affairs. 2nd seed (and wild card) Flavia Pennetta defeated Tathiana Garbin 6-1, 6-3, and Lucie Safarova upset 6th seed Shahar Peer, 6-3, 6-0.
In the semifinals, Dementieva will play Oudin, and Pennetta will play Safarova.