Shelby Rogers Beats Ashleigh Barty at US Open


Shelby Rogers made an unusual distinction when he took the field at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday. She was the last American woman standing in the US Open women’s singles draw, and this was only the third round.

Sofia Kenin, Serena Williams and Venus Williams skipped the tournament with their ailments, and stars like Coco Gauff, Sloane Stephens, Danielle Collins and Jessica Pegula have already been eliminated.

It looked almost equally bad for Rogers. Returning to top-seeded Ashleigh Barty after beating the third set 2-5, Rogers made an exciting comeback that delighted American fans to beat the Australian fans 6-2, 1-6, 7 to the biggest upset of the tournament. -6 (5).

Barty, the reigning Wimbledon champion and winner of the 2019 French Open, has been number 1 on the WTA women’s standings since January 24, 2019, and has won five tournaments, including the Cincinnati event that went to the US Open this year. . He entered Saturday’s game without losing a set in their first two games, giving Rogers a 5-0 advantage.

Barty was courteous after the loss, paying his respects to Rogers and saying he was ready to move forward knowing the year had been successful above all else.

“You can’t win every tennis game you play,” he said. “I am proud of myself and my team for all the efforts we have put in over the last six months. It was pretty incredible. I honestly don’t think we could ask for more. I wouldn’t change anything.”

Rogers was equally enthusiastic about Barty, noting that his rival had not been to Australia since February, partly to avoid complications and quarantines due to coronavirus travel restrictions.

“Resetting on the road, worked on some injuries on the road,” Rogers said. “He won five championships. It remained number 1. So, this girl is everything any actor wants to be.”

The 28-year-old Rogers easily won the first set, outpacing the audience. Maybe Barty needed to wake up. This seemed to be the case when Barty took an easy win in the second set and then took a 5-2 lead in the third set. Victory was only a few points away.

“I think this game gave his lungs some oxygen,” Barty said.

There were moments in game seven where Rogers’ body language indicated that defeat was imminent. He collapsed to the ground as the guns strayed from the road, walked from one end of the field to the other after losing a point without much faith, and at one point appeared under siege. But it was Barty who was unnerved. He made three non-essential mistakes in that game to allow Rogers to break his serve and hold on to hope.

Partly with renewed energy from the supportive fans, Rogers kept his serve and then broke Barty again. In general, he prefers to hit the balls firmly and close to the net, but Rogers realized that Barty was having more trouble with balls that bounced high and began to rely on this tactic to push his advantage.

“That’s not the way I like to play,” he said in an interview on the field after the match, “But that’s what I had to do against him.”

Barty was now under siege and lightly served 5-6 missions from the rear. But at 40-30 Rogers misjudged the header and kicked the ball into the net. They were going to a tiebreak and Rogers had momentum.

While he’ll stay close, Barty plays more desperately and struggles to keep up, while Rogers rises with a surge of adrenaline, now running into place and pumping his fist at the fans.

Most of Rogers’ points in the tiebreak came from Barty’s mistakes, as Rogers was content to keep pushing the ball back, usually with a loop spring and then waiting for Barty to crack.

The final point, however, came with a strong serve from Rogers that crushed Barty, and his backhand block went away. Rogers dropped his racket and put both hands on his face. He picked up the racket, went to the net to shake hands with Barty and the chair referee, and then tossed it to the side again and raised his arms into the crowd, half triumphant, half in disbelief.

Her next opponent is the exciting fourth-round British teenager Emma Raducanu.

A year ago, Rogers reached the quarterfinals here while still returning from knee surgery. Lost to eventual champion Naomi Osaka in an empty stadium due to coronavirus restrictions. But the fans rejoined at full capacity this year and Rogers took advantage of that.

“The crowd has gone to another level this year,” he told them in court.

“I am thankful that I can’t hear myself breathing as heavily as I did in the empty stadium last year,” he said. “But God, it was something really special. I felt cold on the court. I don’t know if it’s normal when playing tennis, but it happened. I’ll never forget that moment.”


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