Winning tennis matches wasn't new to Melanie Oudin.
Winning them over highly-ranked opponents on some of the biggest stages in professional tennis was, though.
Oudin, who recently turned 18, became the youngest American to reach the U.S. Open quarterfinals since Serena Williams in 1999.
Ranked 44th in the world, she highlights a group that will compete in the Champions for Charity fundraiser at Hartman Arena on Dec. 6, benefiting the Genesis Foundation for Fitness and Tennis.
"I'm very excited," Oudin said. "I love doing charity events. It gives me a chance to do what I love and raise money for people who don't have the chance to play."
Other players scheduled to appear in the event are Bob and Mike Bryan, the world's top-ranked doubles team, and 6-foot-9 John Isner, who knocked out Andy Roddick in the third round of the U.S. Open.
Oudin turned pro in 2008. She started gaining notoriety this year after an impressive performance at Wimbledon, beating former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic and advancing to the fourth round.
Her run at the U.S. Open pushed her toward stardom. She defeated several highly-ranked players in the tournament, including No. 4 seed Elena Dementieva and Maria Sharapova, a former U.S. Open champion.
"After I beat Sharapova I think it really set everyone into the whole 'Who is this girl?' thing," Oudin said. "After Wimbledon I really wasn't afraid of playing against the top players."
Oudin fell in love with tennis a decade before she became the topic of conversation at the King National Tennis Center in New York.
Growing up in Marietta, Ga., she learned the game from her grandmother along with her twin sister, Katherine.
"It being an individual sport really made me love it," Oudin said. "I'm competitive, so anything that put me one-on-one against an opponent got my attention."
She clung to the sport, playing it every chance she had. At 13, just before entering the seventh grade, Oudin went to her parents with a request that changed her life. She wanted to be home-schooled so that she would have more time to practice tennis.
"It was hard. I knew I'd miss out on a lot of things, but the amount of improvement I made was tremendous," Oudin said.
She learned early that turning professional would mean more work and harder competition.
She ended 2008 by reaching her first WTA quarterfinal in the Bell Challenge. She started 2009 by qualifying for the main draw of the Australian Open but was defeated in the first round.
Now, even after her success at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, Oudin knows that things won't get any easier.
"People expect me to win everything now, but that's not how it works," Oudin said.
Dealing with her newfound fame is another step in her growth.
"I think of myself as mature for my age so that helps," Oudin said. "I've always focused on the tennis part. I never thought about this other stuff like doing interviews and signing autographs, but I'm starting to get used to it."
In 2006, the event featuring Andy Roddick drew nearly 2,000 spectators to the Genesis Health Club on Rock Road and helped raise more than $20,000.