A Haitian-American teenager stunned the crowd at the U.S. Open with a first-round upset, then disarmed everyone, including Lil Wayne and Amar’e Stoudamire, with her giggly charm.
Victoria Duval, a 17-year-old qualifer ranked 296th in the world, upended the 2011 Open champion, Sam Stosur, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 and afterward, she admitted she’d missed admiring tweets from Lil Wayne and Stoudamire. She doesn’t do Twitter “because I’m not famous.”
Nice win Victoria Duval! Keep it up
— Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) August 28, 2013
She is now and so is her story. She was born in Miami, but at 7 was held at gunpoint by armed robbers at her aunt’s Port-au-Prince home. After she was freed, she and her parents moved to Florida. Her father, a physician, was in Haiti when the 2010 earthquake struck and he was buried in rubble for 11 hours. He recovered from debilitating injuries and both parents were watching their daughter’s big moment Tuesday night.
“There’s a lot to be thankful for. I don’t take anything for granted,” Duval said on the court. “You never know what can happen any day. My dad is really fortunate to be here. … I thank God every day for everything that has happened.”
In the media room, she was a little more relaxed…and an adorable teenager emerged.
— Amar’e Stoudemire (@Amareisreal) August 28, 2013
“I heard that Lil Wayne tweeted me, so I need to go check that out,” she said, drawing laughs. “I don’t have Twitter, so I’m going to go hit that up. Maybe I have to create one and be at Weezy like ‘thank you.’ ”
Like any 17-year-old, Duval admitted that she is “very goofy off the court” and is struggling with being a killer on the court and a kid off it. “I think I’m very much a child at heart. 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: Have fun.”
Next up: a match Thursday against 48th-ranked Daniela Hantuchova.