With America’s brightest tennis stars, Serena and Venus Williams, set to take Stadium Court today, the Family Circle Cup stage was left to U.S. hopefuls on Monday.
America’s up-and-comers were one-and-doners, as 11th-seeded Christina McHale, former teen sensation Melanie Oudin and wild-card entrant Irina Falconi all crashed out of the Family Circle Cup in the first round.
One young American did advance, at another’s expense, as wild-card entrant Jamie Hampton knocked off 19-year-old Sloane Stephens 7-5, 7-6. The reward for the 22-year-old Hampton, who is ranked No. 85? A date today with second-seeded Samantha Stosur, the 2010 Family Circle Cup champion.
McHale’s setback was the most disappointing, as the No. 32 player in the world lost in three sets to Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak, ranked No. 65. Wozniak’s 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 win marked the first time this year that the 19-year-old McHale has lost to a lower-ranked player.
“She played probably really good tennis,” said McHale, who beat Daniela Hantuchova en route to the Family Circle Cup quarterfinals last year. “She served really well, and it was hard to get into her service game.
“I definitely had my chances, but unfortunately I couldn’t capitalize on them today.”
Oudin will leave Daniel Island in a much better fame of mind, even though the 20-year-old from Marietta, Ga., lost her first-round match to 10th-seeded Spaniard Anabel Medina Garrigues, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0.
Tennis fans will recall that Oudin burst onto the scene as a 17-year-old phenom in 2009, knocking off Maria Sharapova to make the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open. She also went to the fourth round at Wimbledon that summer.
That dramatic debut created a cycle of expectation and disappointment from which Oudin is just now emerging. She split with her longtime coach late last year and has moved to New York, where she works out at the USTA National Training Center, home of the U.S. Open.
“I never expected that to happen when I was 17,” said Oudin, whose two qualifying wins to get into the Cup’s main draw were her first singles victories of the year. “And now I feel like I’m finally in a good place where I’m kind of starting over. That (U.S. Open) was so much, it took me a couple of years to get over it. After that, everyone expected me to win everything, and that just wasn’t going to happen.”
Just taking a clay-court set off the 27th-ranked Medina Garrigues was progress for Oudin. Medina Garrigues, 29, is a tested veteran with 11 WTA singles titles.
“This whole year is just about trying to play my game and not worry about wins and losses,” Oudin said. “If I work hard and play the right way, the wins should come.”
No. 15 seed Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa also was an upset victim, losing in three sets to Argentina’s Paula Ormaechea. And 2011 Cup finalist Elena Vesnina won her opener, setting up a Stadium Court showdown with — guess who? — Serena Williams.
Monday’s Results Singles First Round
Elena Vesnina, Russia, def. Stephanie Dubois, Canada, 7-6 (10), 7-5.
Galina Voskoboeva, Kazakhstan, def. Jelena Dokic, Australia, 4-3, retired.
Kateryna Bondarenko, Ukraine, def. Olga Govortsova, Belarus, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Lucie Hradecka, Czech Republic, def. Urszula Radwanska, Poland, 6-1, 6-4.
Paula Ormaechea, Argentina, def. Chanelle Scheepers (15), South Africa, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4.
Vera Dushevina, Russia, def. Chan Yung-jan, Taiwan, 6-4, 7-6 (5).
Eleni Daniilidou, Greece, def. Alla Kudryavtseva, Russia, 6-3, 6-4.
Polona Hercog (14), Slovenia, def. Kimiko Date-Krumm, Japan, 6-4, 6-3.
Anabel Medina Garrigues (10), Spain, def. Melanie Oudin, United States, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0.
Mirjana Lucic, Croatia, def. Mandy Minella, Luxembourg, 7-5, 7-5.
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, Czech Republic, def. Camila Giorgi, Italy, 6-1, 6-3.
Stefanie Voegele, Switzerland, def. Jarmila Gajdosova (16), Australia, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.
Anastasia Rodionova, Australia, def. Melinda Czink, Hungary, 6-2, 2-6, 6-1.
Aleksandra Wozniak, Canada, def. Christina McHale (11), United States, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4.
Andrea Hlavackova, Czech Republic, def. Irina Falconi, United States, 6-1, 7-5.
Jamie Hampton, United States, def. Sloane Stephens, United States, 7-5, 7-6 (1).
Order of play Today Stadium 10 a.m.
V. King vs. Wickmayer Not before noon
I. Benesova vs. V. Williams V. Zvonareva vs. K. Bondarenko
Not before 3 p.m. J. Hampton vs. S. Stosur
Not before 7 p.m. E. Vesnina vs. S. Williams
Kops-Jones/Spears vs. Hlavackova/Hradecka
Althea Gibson 10 a.m. A. Amanmuradova vs. J. Craybas
Not before noon N. Petrova vs. M. Duque-Marino
E. Daniilidou vs. A. Pavlyuchenkova
A. Rodionova vs. A. Medina Garrigues
Pavlyuchenkova/Safarova vs. Dushevina/Erakovic
Court 3 10 a.m. A. Tatishvili vs. A. Rus
M. Erakovic vs. K. Pliskova Grandin/Uhlirova vs. Klepa /Rosolska
Court 4 10 a.m. Y. Shvedova vs. A. Panova
A. Yakimova vs. V. Lepchenko E. Harman/Kalhorn vs. Jans-Ignacik/Kudryavtseva