Melanie Oudin possesses an air of all business when she's one the court, even if she's just walking from one end to the other. Like the young Chris Evert, Oudin seems older than she actually is, because of her intensity. But whereas Evert's intensity was internal, Oudin's is on display most of the time. She looks wound--but not too tightly.
Oudin got a bit of a workout today in her first set against Christina McHale, who found herself in the third round when Victoria Azarenka retired against her. McHale gave Oudin all she could handle for a while, but then the 13th seed took control, and defeated McHale 6-4, 6-0. It was a good tournament for the qualifier, who drew quite a bit of crowd support while she was in Charleston.
Vera Zvonareva, seeded 7th, defeated 9th seed Alona Bondarenko 6-2, 6-1. Sam Sumyk, who used to be Zvonareva's coach and is now Azarenka's coach, was on hand to advise her. Zvonareva doesn't have a coach right now, and--since Azarenka retired with an injury--Sumyk stayed in town to help Zvonareva. The Russian star says that she is more interested in fitness right now, and wants to return to her former level before she thinks about getting a coach. She told me that she has a number of Russian hitting partners, and that she may wind up choosing one of them as her coach.
Marion Bartoli was spotted in the stands today, watching Daniela Hantuchova, who went at it for over two hours and 44 minutes against Angelique Kerber on the Althea Gibson Club Court. Hantuchova won 6-7, 7-5, 6-3, and was none too pleased to learn that she is scheduled to play first tomorrow.
2nd seed Jelena Jankovic and 6th seed Nadia Petrova had straight set wins over Evgeniya Rodina and 12th seed Aleksandra Wozniack, respectively. It wasn't quite as easy for 4th seed Sam Stosur, however. Stosur won her first set 6-1 against Vera Dushevina, but Dushevina, seeded 14th, took control of the second set and an error-prone Stosur, and won the second set 6-3. It didn't take long for Stosur to regain control, though, and she posted another 6-1 win in the third set.
10th seed Elena Vesnina was upset 7-6, 2-6, 6-2 by her Charleston doubles partner, Peng Shuai. Vesnina and Peng later withdrew from doubles competition because of the Russian's left adductor muscle strain. Vesnina had the same thigh wrapped last year in Charleston, and because of it, she and her partner retired after their first quarterfinal set in 2009.