MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -- Most tennis players, though not all, remember to apply the sunscreen when playing under the often scorching rays at the Australian Open.
Madison Brengle is fanatic about it. She's so pale, she says, "I have a tendency to glow in the dark."
"I like, bathed, in sunblock before I went out there," she added Thursday after her 6-1, 6-3 win over fellow American Irina Falconi in the second round at Melbourne Park.
The 24-year-old Brengle has more reason than most to be careful. Two days before last year's U.S. Open, she noticed a strange spot on her leg and went to the dermatologist to have it tested.
A few weeks later, while at a tournament in Quebec City, she received the diagnosis it was cancerous.
"They only call you if it's bad news," she said. "I had a missed call from my dermatologist in the middle of a practice and I knew."
Brengle had the spot on the inside of her knee removed and spent five weeks off her leg while it healed. Her doctors had also discovered a mass in her jaw, but tests concluded it was benign and she was finally proclaimed healthy enough to travel to Australia.
"I didn't get the all-clear until two weeks before I left for Brisbane," she said.
"I had worked really hard to get myself into the top 100 and this was my goal, I wanted to get into the main draw (of the Australian Open) on my own -- and the chance I was not going to be able to come here, I was upset."
Brengle has made the most of her time Down Under. First she qualified for the main draw at the Brisbane International and won a round. The next week, she qualified for the main draw at a tournament in Hobart and upset three higher-ranked players to reach the final, where she fell to Heather Watson.
Ranked a career-high No. 64, she's now having her best Grand Slam tournament by reaching the third round for the first time with an upset victory over the 13th seed, Andrea Petkovic of Germany, and the win over Falconi.
"Every time I go out there, I kind of appreciate it a little bit more than I used to because you're not aware of how lucky we are to be healthy until you have a scare like that," she said. "I'm very appreciative to have my health."