Former U.S. Open quarterfinalist Melanie Oudin won her first women’s tour title by beating ex-world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic in Birmingham, England.
The 208th-ranked American, who had come through qualifying, today defeated the Serb 6-4, 6-2 in the Aegon Classic final, which had been delayed by a day because of rain.
It’s the first time a player ranked outside the top 200 has won a tournament on the women’s tour since Belgium’s Kim Clijsters took the 2009 U.S. Open. Oudin’s ranking will climb to around No. 125, while her run in Birmingham has also earned her a wild card to play at Wimbledon, which starts next week in London.
Oudin, 20, was named Newcomer of the Year by the women’s WTA tour in 2009 after she reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open by beating three seeded Russian players, including current French Open champion Maria Sharapova. Although Oudin finished that year ranked inside the top 50, she struggled in 2010 and 2011 with injuries and form.
“I think I’m a lot more mature now and a lot smarter,” Oudin said in a statement e-mailed today by tournament organizers. “I’ve learned a lot about the game of tennis, about my game and how I want to play, what I’m capable of. I’ve learned to play within myself, not try to do more than I can.”