NEW YORK - It's right there on her shoes: 'Believe.' Melanie Oudin always has, though even she had to admit this latest accomplishment felt a bit overwhelming.
Maybe that helped explain why her leg was cramping, why the tears were falling, why the match points were slipping away toward the end of her U.S. Open upset over fourth-seeded Elena Dementieva on Thursday.
'First time playing on Arthur Ashe, I was beating No. 4 in the world, about to beat her,' Oudin said. 'Just a little bit of everything. A lot of things were going through my mind.'
The 17-year-old from Marietta, ranked 70th in the world, won 5-7, 6-4, 6-3. She is now, by almost every account, the next great American hope in women's tennis.
She places this upset next to the one over No. 6 Jelena Jankovic at Wimbledon that catapulted her into the top 100. Or maybe a little above it.
That one was on Court 3 in front of hundreds an ocean away. This one was in Arthur Ashe Stadium in front of thousands in her home country.
'I think it means more to me, though, since this is the U.S. Open,' Oudin said. 'You know, I had the whole crowd cheering for me, so much support.'
She played much of the third set with a heavy wrap on her left thigh, a lingering injury she said shouldn't prevent her from returning for her third-round match against either 29th-seeded Maria Sharapova or Christina McHale, a 17-year-old American just like her.