Victoria Duval's first round meeting with Samantha Stosur on Louis Armstrong had all the ingredients for an upset: night session, full house and, most importantly, an underdog with a heartwarming back story.
Born in Miami to Haitian parents, Duval survived an armed robbery as a seven-year-old, and three years ago nearly lost her father when he was buried alive during Haiti's devastating earthquake.
But it is Duval's on-court charm and fearless ball-striking that captured hearts at Flushing Meadows, where she became an overnight sensation by dispatching 2011 champion Stosur, 57 64 64. A graduate of the famed Bollettieri Academy, Duval, ranked No.296, took the ball early and on the rise, and went for the corners with almost reckless abandon. She surprised Stosur with the angles she could create, and never allowed her the opportunity to dictate with her trusty forehand.
Only a few weeks before, Duval was losing in the quarterfinals of the national under-18 championships. How did she turn around her tennis in such a short time? "By just forgetting about what happened before, because I've been changing a couple things in my game. So I knew eventually it would come together, and it did today.
"That's all I can ask for. I definitely think that getting to the next level in tennis is being able to go after your shots. These girls hit really hard. I wouldn't have pulled it off today if I wasn't confident in my shots."
Stosur had her chances - none more so than in the last game when Duval wasted three match points, the last on a wild backhand that inspired a squeal of anguish. But each time the 17-year-old missed, she composed herself immediately, saving her best shot, a blazing crosscourt forehand winner, for last.
"I don't even remember match point," Duval confessed afterwards. "There were a lot of different emotions. Mostly happiness! I think I played amazing today. It was incredible. The whole match was just really an incredible match and I'm happy I pulled through.
"On the court, you have to be a warrior because that's just the sport we are in. Off the court, I think it's important to have fun and be a good role model for other people. My motto is just to have fun."