Melanie Oudin and the Top 10 Next-Generation Sports Stars
Melanie Oudin's presence at the 2010 U.S. Open personifies what many hope may be the future of American women's tennis.
The 18-year-old player from Georgia advanced through her first round match at the U.S. Open and is poised to move on deeper in the final Grand Slam event of the year.
Her victory at Flushing Meadows got us thinking about a number of the other up and coming athletes, many of whom are teenagers who could shake up the sports landscape in the future.
10. Matteo Manassero
Manassero, 17, climbed atop the World Amateur Rankings in December 2009.
Manassero got a boost in the rankings after he finished tied for 13th at the 2009 British Open. He followed that up with a 36th place finish at the 2010 Masters. Manassero turned pro in May 2010 and appears set for a bright future.
9. Pedro Barros
Barros shook up the 2010 Summer X Games when he defeated 37-year-old Andy MacDonald in the Skateboard Park event.
What makes it such a special victory? Barros is all of 15 years old and won an event which has repeatedly been won by veteran X Gamers.
8. Alexandre Pato
Pato, 20, is one of the up and coming players in South America, not just Brazil.
Pato predictably didn't receive any starts at the 2010 World Cup, but he is one of the youngest players to start for AC Milan in recent years and was a member of Brazil's 2009 Confederations Cup-winning team.
7. Melanie Oudin
Oudin turned pro in early 2008 and quickly climbed to her career-best No. 31 ranking on the WTA Tour in April 2010. She was previously the second-ranked junior player in the world.
Oudin's best Grand Slam finish came at the 2009 U.S. Open when she reached the quarterfinals. Oudin, who features a power forehand, is expected to be a rising name over the next two to three years.
6. Ryo Ishikawa
Ishikawa is being looked at in some respects as Japanese Tiger Woods.
Ishikawa, now 19, was the youngest golfer to ever reach the Top 100 of the world rankings when he achieved the mark at the end of 2008 when he was 17 years old.
In 2009, he became the youngest golfer to reach the Top 50 of the world golf rankings.
Ishikawa has seven wins on the Japan Tour. Most notably, he shot a final round 58 to win the The Crowns (Japan Tour) in early May.
His best finish in a PGA major event came at the 2010 British Open with a T-27th finish.
5. Austin Rivers
Austin Rivers, son of Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, is ranked by Rivals.com as the top-ranked recruit for the 2011 class.
Rivers originally committed to Florida in 2008, but has since decommitted and is considering Duke, North Carolina, Florida and Kansas.
4. Caroline Wozniacki
Wozniacki, 20, enters the 2010 U.S. Open as the top-seeded draw in the women's bracket.
Now she got that seeding because Serena Williams is out with an injury, but nevertheless Wozniacki has 20 career victories (14 singles, 4 in 2010) and has reached at least the fourth round in all six of her Grand Slam event appearances (2009 U.S. Open finalist).
3. Tyler Seguin
Seguin is one member of the dynamic duo of Canadian up and coming stars in the NHL.
Seguin, an 18-year-old center, was the second overall pick of the Boston Bruins in the 2010 NHL Draft. Seguin scored 106 points in his final season in the Ontario Hockey League and is expected to be a franchise centerpiece center for the Bruins.
2. Taylor Hall
Hall, 18, was the other half of that duo who went as the number one overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft to the Edmonton Oilers.
Hall, like Seguin, scored 106 points in his final season in the OHL. He has won numerous gold medals playing for Canada's U-18 and U-17 international teams.
He and Seguin finished 1-2 in the very respected NHL Central Scouting Bureau rankings.
1. Bryce Harper
Harper is arguably the most sought after amateur baseball player in recent memory.
The 17-year-old outfielder was selected by the Washington Nationals with the top overall pick in the 2010 amateur draft.
In his one season of junior college ball, Harper hit .443 with 31 home runs and 98 RBI en route to winning the 2010 Golden Spikes Award as the nation's best amateur baseball player.
The Nationals signed Harper to a five-year, $9.9 million deal with the Nationals in mid-August.
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