It came down who could hold their emotions in check, and Melanie Oudin did a better job of staying under control than CoCo Vandeweghe in the finals of the $50,000 Party Rock Open on Sunday.
The unseeded 22-year-old from Marietta, Ga., rallied from a set down to beat fellow American Vandeweghe 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 and collect the first prize of $7,600 on a day when tempers were short under the hot Indian summer sun at Darling Tennis Center.
“I think we played up and down the whole match,” said Oudin, who won the seventh singles title of her six-year professional career and should move up from her ranking of No. 147 into the 120s with the victory.
“I don’t know if it was both of our best tennis. I don’t think we served that well. But I thought my defense was good, and I was ready for her passing shots, and I did a better job of handling her serve as the match went on.”
After being broken three times in the first set, Oudin battled back in the second. Trailing 2-0, she ran off five straight games as Vandeweghe, the tournament’s No. 6 seed, couldn’t consistently land her big serve, particularly on her first serve.
Oudin used the entire court to score winners, and after winning the second set, she carried that momentum into the third, quickly going up a service break for a 2-0 lead.
Her momentum stalled out temporarily when Vandeweghe had a prolonged conversation with chair umpire Alex Nieto over a serve that she thought he had originally overruled the linesman on and called good. But Nieto did not overrule the call, and that set off Vandeweghe.
Her argument morphed into a racket-throwing tantrum, and with the estimated 600 fans looking on in confusion and amazement, Oudin was seeking shelter in the shade waiting for play to resume.
“I knew she wasn’t doing it intentionally to me,” Oudin said of the five-minute delay. “Personally, I thought it was out. But that’s for the lines to call.”
Oudin won the game to go up 3-0, then Vandeweghe rallied to win the next two games. However, Oudin regrouped, got her game back on track and finished the match with — what else? — a net cord winner. Sunday’s match point wasn’t as dramatic as the one in Saturday’s semifinal against Mayo Hibi, which barely made it over the net. This one clipped the net and traveled toward the corner out of Vandeweghe’s reach.
“Luck must have been on my side in this tournament,” said Oudin, who won for the first time this year. “I’m hoping this gives me more confidence for the rest of the year.”
Sunday wasn’t a total loss for Vandeweghe. She and Tamira Pazsek of Austria won the doubles final, defeating Americans Denise Muresan and Caitlin Whoriskey 6-4, 6-2 to split first prize of $2,786.
Vandweghe came into the singles final having not dropped a set. But she struggled with the adversity as the match went on, and as much as she has been working on controlling her temper on the court and acting more professionally, the 21-year-old from Newport Beach, Calif., was unable to keep her emotions in check when it mattered most.
“Maybe I shouldn’t have had such a hard talk with the umpire,” she said kiddingly. “But she played a great match. She’s a great player and we hadn’t seen each other since we were in juniors, so it was fun to play her professionally.”
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter @stevecarprj.