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Teen Duval stuns ex-champ Stosur

By Associated Press in New York | China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-29 07:14

 Teen Duval stuns ex-champ Stosur

Victoria Duval celebrates defeating Samantha Stosur at the US Open in New York on Tuesday. Duval won 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. Mike Segar / Reuters

Young American steals the show with impressive first-round win

From the earnest explanation of why Gary the Snail is her favorite SpongeBob SquarePants' character to the name-check of rapper Lil Wayne, Victoria Duval made quite clear she is very much a 17-year-old kid.

One who just so happened to stun 2011 champion Sam Stosur in the first round of the US Open.

Overcoming the sort of nerves that derive from never before having played an opponent ranked this high - let alone beaten one - and never before having won a match at a Grand Slam tournament, Duval hopped up and down with her arms above her head after pulling off her big surprise at Flushing Meadows, a 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 victory over the 11th-seeded Stosur.

"I don't even remember match point," the 296th-ranked American said on Tuesday night. "I guess I was really happy. I mean, you could tell by all the jumping I did."

She wore a white towel around her neck, giggled at her own squeaky-voiced answers, and genuinely seemed to be enjoying the whole experience during her news conference.

Duval, now based in Bradenton, Florida, was born in the US but grew up in her parents' home country of Haiti. She said that when she was seven, she and some cousins were taken hostage there by robbers.

"It's not a good memory, so I've tried to forget as much as I could about it," Duval said when the subject was raised. "I don't remember too much of it anymore, which is great."

Then, in 2010, when Haiti was rocked by an earthquake, her father was buried in rubble and badly injured, Duval said.

"There's a lot to be thankful for. I don't take anything for granted ... my dad is really fortunate to be here," she told the Louis Armstrong Stadium crowd during an on-court interview.

Duval joined eight other American women in the second round of the main draw. Tuesday also was a good day for American men, who went 5-2, led by No.13 John Isner and No 26 Sam Querrey.

"We're obviously trying to make American tennis become what it used to be," Duval said.

Teen Duval stuns ex-champ Stosur

"We're all working toward the same goal. We're all a tight-knit group. Helping each other is important. I think we're on an amazing path."

Until Tuesday, Duval did not own a victory over anyone ranked higher than 69th. She had not faced a woman in the top 20. She only had played one match at a major tournament, a first-round loss to Kim Clijsters at last year's US Open.

Stosur was unhappy with the way she played on Tuesday, including 10 double-faults and a total of 56 unforced errors, 21 more than Duval.

"I'm not going to be a sore loser and say she didn't do anything," said Stosur, an Australian.

"But, you know, I think I certainly helped her out there."

Perhaps. But Duval's game also has benefited from time spent in heady company recently, including mentoring from Billie Jean King and tips from famed tennis coach Nick Bolletieri.

Seconding Stosur's assessment, Duval summed up their match this way: "Although she didn't play nearly her best, I played amazing, so I'll take it."

Next for Duval is a matchup against Daniela Hantuchova, who has been ranked as high as No. 5 and also been a Grand Slam quarterfinalist.

But for an evening, anyway, Duval wanted to relish the biggest win of her nascent career.

And the kid sure seemed to be having a grand old time speaking to reporters, describing herself as "very goofy off the court" and a "child at heart".

So it made sense that when the subject of the SpongeBob cartoon series came up during her media session, she pointed out that "Gary's cute; Gary doesn't get enough credit".

And she brought this up, too: "I heard that Lil Wayne tweeted me. I need to go check that out. I don't have Twitter. I'm going to go hit that up."

(China Daily 08/29/2013 page23)

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