Last year I called her an instant star. The CBS Evening News did a profile titled “The Future of American Tennis?” Good Morning America did a profile on her. As did NBC. Melanie Oudin, a pint-sized player who could barely crack 100 mph on her first serve, made a spirited run to the Quarterfinals last year that was one of the best storylines of the 2009 Open. In fact, the narrative arc of her run last year was so complete that it even included a sex scandal.
And then she prompty fell off the face of the earth. Describing her 2010 campaign as the sophomore jinx might even be an understatement. Her record is a losing one this year. She hasn’t won a match since June, and she’s won only one of her last 12 matches.
Oudin returns to Ashe for the first time since she was blown away by Caroline Wozniacki in the quarters last year this morning. We hope that she can reclaim some of the fire, but you should catch her in the early rounds: It’s possible she might be finished very quickly.