Victoria Duval stunned the crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium after defeating the 2011 champ, Samantha Stosur, in the opening round of the U.S. Open.

At just 17, Duval entered the match ranked 296th in the world (Stosur was ranked 11th). But it didn’t matter; Duval fought her way to victory, defeating Stosur 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.

Duval, who was born in Miami, but spent most of her childhood in Haiti, has a harrowing story. Her family returned to the U.S. after she and her cousins were kidnapped and held hostage when she was just seven.

The New York Daily News reports:

That Duval is a resilient and emotionally sturdy player should perhaps not be a surprise, given her life’s journey. At 7 years old in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, she and several cousins were held hostage by armed robbers in her aunt’s house before being freed.

“It was traumatizing, (but) worse things have happened to people,” Duval said. “I’m lucky I got out of it. I’ve kind of erased that all from my mind.”

Victoria’s parents, Jean-Maurice and Nadine Duval, both of whom are physicians, decided to move the family to Florida almost immediately, though her father kept up with his obstetrics/gynecology practice at a Port-au-Prince clinic and would shuttle back and forth. Then, on Jan. 12, 2010, the earthquake hit, and Jean-Maurice Duval was buried alive beneath the rubble of the family home. His legs broken and left arm shattered and seven busted ribs puncturing his lung, Jean-Maurice Duval somehow dug himself out, and ultimately was airlifted to a Fort Lauderdale hospital, thanks to the generosity of a family in the tennis club Victoria was competing with at the time.

Duval’s gutsy victory signals her entry to the world’s stage, but it’s not going to her head.

“There’s a lot to be thankful for, I don’t take anything for granted,” she told ESPN. “I thank God everyday for everything that has happened. Life is short.”

Check out Duval’s post-game interview with ESPN:

  • nononsense57

    I am so happy for her!!!!!

  • naan

    lovely.

    very nice to see some kids coming into this game, likely inspired by the Williams sisters. It would be nice if Black faces stayed in this sport even after the Williams sisters

  • Marketing Gimmicks

    Yes! Yes! Yes!

  • vintage3000

    Ms. Duval won her match at the Arthur Ashe Stadium, while sporting gear designed by Venus Williams.

    THIS is why they hate us so much. GO VICTORIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • TheRealDonDiva

    How cute is she!?!?! She’s an amazing and talented athlete. She will have a great career.

  • The Other Jess

    Great job! I hope she can keep the momentum going throughout the entire U.S Open – Black women like her rock!

  • Belle

    YYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Go girl!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Starla

    Venus and Serena have really insipred a whole generation of Black girls to pursue tennis. Victory for Victoria, I hope she continues to be victorious in all her pursuits.

  • Dalili

    Well alright then! Congratulations to her, so well deserved!!!

  • Anthony

    This is a great time for black women in tennis. Not only did Victoria Duval win, Sloane Stevens has been advancing as of the last time I checked the results. Even Venus Williams is back in action for the first time in a long time. Of course, Serena is still spanking booties!

  • omfg

    i’m so upset i didn’t watch this match.

    she also wears venus’s 11 line.

  • omfg

    i think the usta has been working to bring more tennis to black kids.

    this has been their thing for the past 10 years or so. they just haven’t always been successful.

  • BeanBean

    Wow, I missed this match!!!! WHYYYYY. I’m so happy for her. She won and did it while wearing clothing designed by Venus!!! This is really great. Has there ever been this many black women in tennis before?? It’s encouraging to many black girls who are interested in tennis.

  • http://gravatar.com/geenababe geenababe

    Good for her

  • Jjean

    Love seeing Haitians doing big things! Aysien a fin bat blan nan jwet li lol

  • Melz

    LOL!!!!

    We on the map! Nou la!!

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