Re: Melanie Oudin
That match was interesting. Like you say, JJ's in pretty good form now, more of a high than a low, anyway. Mel's been slumping, well, since Birmingham. Still, it took "nine innings" for JJ to put Mel away, and that's with Mel giving her a lot help at the right moments.
On the high points, I haven't seen Mel play this kind of a match since 2010: good point construction, controlled aggression, mixing up spins, depth, power shots, and angles off both wings. And, her backhand and overhead shots are better now. JJ worked over Mel's backhand throughout the match, but it held up. I don't think it would have in 2010. So it seems we are starting to see the improvements she's been working on all this time. Had she been able to maintain focus and drive while she was ahead, she may well have won that match in 2 sets. She was in position to do so. But while she's a hell of a fighter from behind, she still gets lost as a front runner. Her coach pointed this out to her during one of the breaks, which is a good sign, means they're working on it. If she can build off this performance, things should be turning around for her pretty quick. I'm hopeful, actually.