— NEW YORK (AP) — From the earnest explanation of why Gary the Snail is her favorite "SpongeBob SquarePants" character to the name-check of rapper Lil Wayne, Victoria Duval made quite clear that she is very much a 17-year-old kid.
One who just so happened to stun 2011 champion Sam Stosur in the first round of the U.S. Open.
Overcoming the sort of nerves that derive from never before having played an opponent ranked this highly — let alone beaten one — and never before having won a match at a Grand Slam tournament, Duval hopped up and down with arms overhead after pulling off her big surprise at Flushing Meadows, a 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 victory over the 11th-seeded Stosur.
"I don't even remember match point," the 296th-ranked American said Tuesday night, less than two hours after closing out Stosur with a forehand winner. "I guess I was really happy. I mean, you could tell by all the jumping I did."
She wore a white towel around her neck, giggled at her own squeaky-voiced answers, and genuinely seemed to be enjoying the whole experience during a news conference that was a meandering affair, befitting Duval's bubbly personality — and the long, unique journey that brought her to this point.
Duval, currently based in Bradenton, Florida, was born in in the U.S. but grew up in her parents' home country of Haiti. She said that when she was 7, she and some cousins were taken hostage there by robbers.
"It's not a good memory, so I've tried to forget as much as I could about it," Duval said when the subject was raised. "I don't remember too much of it anymore, which is great."
Then, in 2010, when Haiti was rocked by an earthquake, her father was buried in rubble and badly injured, Duval said.