Battling Oudin uses the crowd and forehand to sink Sharapova

Surprise package Witten gives Djokovic a run for his money and Federer has to battle to see off Hewitt

Maria Sharapova knows all about the audacity of youth, having won Wimbledon when she was just 17, but the tables were turned on the Russian here yesterday. The former world No 1's attempt to recapture the title she won three years ago was ended by Melanie Oudin, a 17-year-old American who has captivated the crowds with her bubbly personality and bold game.

It is Labor Day weekend in the United States and Oudin, a bouncing bundle of energy with an engaging smile, captured the holiday spirit. Wearing shoes with the word "believe" imprinted on them, she was not short of confidence. She went for her shots, particularly on her forehand, and whipped up the crowd inside Arthur Ashe Stadium with her fist-pumping celebrations en route to a 6-3 4-6 7-5 victory.

This has been quite a year for the teenager from Atlanta, who lost to Laura Robson at junior Wimbledon last year. At No 70 in the world she is already the third highest-ranked American behind the Williams sisters. She knocked out Jelena Jankovic at Wimbledon and earned her chance against 22-year-old Sharapova by beating Elena Dementieva, the Olympic champion. Having played Anastasia Pavyluchenkova in the first round, she now meets a fourth Russian in succession, Nadia Petrova.

Although Oudin has had a problem with her left thigh, there has been nothing wrong with her footwork, which constantly got her into position to hit winning shots.

Sharapova, who said her opponent had "a great future ahead of her", was frequently made to look leaden-footed, though the Russian's greater physical problem was her right shoulder, on which she had surgery last year. The former world No 1, who has had to change her service action, took an injury time-out for treatment in the third set. She made 63 unforced errors and served 21 double faults.

Both players dropped their serve eight times and Oudin had a remarkable 26 break points. The match finished after nearly three hours when the American ended a run of six successive breaks of serve by cracking a forehand cross-court winner.

"I just kept fighting as hard as I could," Oudin said, fighting back tears of joy. "I tried as hard as I could. I just can't believe it."

Earlier in the day it seemed that New York might be acclaiming an even more unlikely hero. Jesse Witten looks like he should be serving pizzas rather than tennis balls, but the 26-year-old world No 276 kept Novak Djokovic on court for three and a half hours. The world No 4 looked relieved at the end of his 6-7 6-3 7-6 6-4 victory.

Witten, who arrived here having never won a match on the men's tour, played college tennis at the University of Kentucky and has had five of his student buddies sharing his Manhattan hotel room. He scratches out a living playing in Challenger and Futures tournaments and his efforts here will more than treble his earnings for the year so far, which stood at $21,266 (about £13,000). There are 27 Americans above him in the world rankings.

Although he moves well and has some nice touches, Witten is built more like a prop forward. Djokovic, apparently searching for a polite description, said: "He's different to the others, but he's so fast for his? you know, physically-wise. He's not tall, but I didn't expect such speed."

Witten won the first set tie-break 7-2 with a backhand down-the-line winner after correctly guessing where Djokovic would place what should have been an easy put-away. He served for the third set at 6-5 and had Djokovic serving at 4-4 and 0-30 in the fourth, but both times the Serb kept his nerve. Djokovic now plays Radek Stepanek.

Roger Federer also dropped a set before beating Lleyton Hewitt 4-6 6-3 7-5 6-4. Earkly on the world No 1 served poorly and looked out of touch, but Hewitt was unable to drive home his advantage. The Australian has made a spirited return to the top flight this summer but is not the player who won eight of his first 10 matches against Federer. He last beat the Swiss in 2003 and has now lost to him 14 times in a row.

Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Sport
Yaya Touré has defended his posturing over his future at Manchester City
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
News
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
news
Life and Style
beauty
Sport
There were mass celebrations across Argentina as the country's national team reached their first World Cup final for 24 years
transfersOne of the men to suffer cardiac arrest was 16 years old
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice