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A breather for Oudin

Vincent DAVOLI
Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 23:55
The tournament's youngest player had no trouble winning against Patty Schnyder (6-1, 6-3) despite weakened respiratory health.  

Between young Melanie Oudin (18 years old) and the experienced Patty Schnyder (31 years old), the crowd could expect a genuine clash of the styles. On one side of the net, the enthusiastic American, who builds her game on powerful shots and early control of the ball. On the opposing side, the Swiss miss plays willingly with zones and special effects. Unfortunately, the first part of the match doesn't really meet such expectations.

Schnyder, who is starting out her season here at the Open GDF SUEZ, is totally surpassed by her opponent's pace. Her backhand slice doesn't even tickle the American, who slaughtered the French last weekend in the Fed Cup. As a result, the Georgia peach uses the Basel native's many faults to lead 5-0 after 17 minutes of play. The scenario is irreversible: as soon as the players are in step, Schnyder ends up making a fault. The Swiss finally wins a first set to come back to but Oudin is unshakable and seals the first set 6-1 after 27 minutes of play.

Semi-finalist at the Open GDF SUEZ in 2006, Schnyder calls her coach and husband Rainer Hoffman to try and find a solution. A wasted effort. A lack of recent competitions by Roger Federer's compatriot, who hasn't played in a tournament since October 2009 due to a foot injury, becomes cruelly apparent. At 2-all in the second set, she gives her serve away. Then Oudin calls for her doctor because of respiratory problems. Her breathing trouble is obvious, and she enjoys a three-minute medical break.

Her return to the court relieves the crowd as does her attitude. Her spirit to conquer is alive and kicking, she saves her break point early and once again enjoys Schnyder's generous gifts and grabs three match points on the Swiss serve. The first one is the right one. With a winning forehand right down the line, the American concludes the meeting (6-1, 6-3) and ends up in the quarterfinals for her first time here at Coubertin. She now prepares to cross paths with Hungarian Agnes Szavay.

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