By Erin Bruehl, USTA.com
San Diego, Calif. - Before her match against Francesca Schiavone, Billie Jean King told Melanie Oudin to just go for it.
And the 19-year-old American did just that.
Oudin excecuted her game plan and played a solid all-around match to keep the U.S. alive in the 2010 Fed Cup Final with a dominating 6-3, 6-1 win over an error-prone Francesca Schiavone.
Italy now leads the U.S. 2-1 at the San Diego Sports Arena.
Oudin, ranked No. 67, was not even originally scheduled to play this match. U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez substituted Oudin into the match against Schiavone this morning for Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who has been suffering from a sinus infection and sore throat this week.
And it was the best tennis Oudin has played in recent memory, or perhaps even in 2010.
"I thought I played an unbelievable match. It is the best I have played in a long time. I felt confident out there," Oudin said.
Schiavone, the world No. 7 and 2010 French Open champion was a completely different player Sunday then she was in her decisive straight sets win over CoCo Vandeweghe Saturday in the opening match of the tie. In that match, Schiavone dominated her service games – facing only one break point the whole match – and she played great defense and was precise with her shots.
Against Oudin, however, Schiavone committed 33 unforced errors to just 10 winners and held serve just once in each of the sets as the American forced her to hit a lot of balls with her own great defense and speed.
In the first set, Oudin broke first to take a 2-1 lead but Schiavone immediately responded with a break of her own and the two traded breaks for the next three games to give Oudin a 4-3 lead. The American then held for a 5-3 advantage as Fernandez stood and applauded the crowd began chanting ‘USA!’
Needing to hold to stay in the set, Schiavone sprayed three straight errors to go down 0-40 and fought back to 30-40 before missing a forehand shot wide to give Oudin the set.
Oudin kept up her level of play throughout the match and did not give Schiavone any openings in the second set, including winning 11 straight points to start the set.
"I kept it going from start to finish and did not let her back in the match," Oudin said.
Vandeweghe now faces Flavia Pennetta in the fourth singles match.