Re: Melanie Oudin
It's been an incredible year. Read some of the posts from the end of last year and the beginning of this year. Going from that hopelessness to three titles, and a solid position in the top 100 by season's end, is amazing. Next year should be fun.
The Australian run has been tough for Mel, but with the right training she'll hopefully be able to improve like she did on clay this year. She can play on the surface. Mel's 2010 Hobart match with Sara Errani was such a brilliant performance up to 5-0, Mel running everything down and hitting some great shots, power, precision, tactics, just unstoppable. Then, Sara managed to hold serve for 5-1, and Mel fell apart. From then, she hit the ball into the net or two feet wide on every important shot. Regardless of what had happened between 0-0 and 5-0, by 5-2 it was obvious that she was going to lose the match in three sets. That was, for me, the beginning of the style of tennis she became known for through 2010 to the beginning of 2012: terrified and tight. But, for five games she played as well as she had against Pavlyuchenkova in the 09 USO. So, I think she's quite capable of playing on Australia's slow, high bounce, "blue clay" hard courts. She just hasn't been in the right head-space to do it.
Also, over the break she must make amends with the Draw Gods. For Draw Gods' sake Mel, sort it out!