Is Shelby Rogers Finally The 'Real Deal'? - UBITENNIS
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Is Shelby Rogers Finally The ‘Real Deal’?

Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier newspaper columnist James Beck takes a close look at the rise of Shlby Rogers at the this year’s Australian Open.

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Shelby Rogers (image via https://twitter.com/WTA)

Is now the time to buy into the possibility that the current Shelby Rogers is the “real deal” in women’s tennis?

 

I know, I sound like The Motley Fool stock market analyst or maybe one of your favorite insurance companies.

Of course, there is no real insurance that Rogers is headed for WTA Tour greatness just because the 28-year-old from Charleston, S.C., looks that way right now. More future stars such as Cori Gauff might be waiting right around the corner to block Rogers’ path, or even another injury can’t be ruled out.

But that’s the case with any potential star or bonafide superstar.

ROGERS’ DREAMS COULD BECOME REAL

Right now, Rogers might have to settle for a second round of 16 Grand Slam showing in the last six months (quarterfinals at the 2020 U.S. Open). That wouldn’t be too shabby considering the trip Down Under would be worth at least $320K and enough WTA Tour points to push Rogers inside the world’s top 50 women for a second time in her career.

That’s before Rogers takes on world’s No. 1 Ash Barty in the round of 16 at the Australian Open.

If Rogers happens to win this one, anything would be possible. A Grand Slam title? A check for $2.75 mllion?  A spot among the world’s top 15 women?

It’s worth a dream.

CHARLESTON GIRL HAS A CHANCE

Rogers knows she, at least, has a chance against Barty after taking the Aussie superstar to a match tiebreaker just a week ago during their long stay in Australia while trying to stay out of the way of Covid-19 or one of its variants.

“I will be excited not to play a third-set tiebreaker, because she (Barty) kicked my butt in that last time,” Rogers told the tennis world Saturday after “blowing kisses to no one” in Rod Laver.

“And we won’t have a Barty party in the stands, and that’s good for me, too.”

Rogers had just dispensed of 21st seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia by winning 11 of the last 14 games to claim a 6-4, 6-3 victory in the round of 32.

Barty also cruised to a 6-2, 6-4 win over 29th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia after a slow start.

ROGERS FEELS ‘INCREDIBLE’ GOING AGAINST BARTY

“She’s on fire. She’s playing free. She is such a talented girl,” Rogers said about Barty. “I’ll going to have to bring my best game, for sure.”

While several other players were coming down with injuries, Rogers pronounced, “I feel incredible. I’m missing the fans extra tonight. So excited to be playing well and moving on here.

“It’s so cool to be back here the last few weeks, and have all of the support and some sense of normalcy in tough situations.  I feel the support from home. All of my family and friends are watching . . . 

If they set their alarms. Some of them slept. I’ll forgive you guys.”

Of course, the Rogers-Kontaveit match was played in the middle of the night, Charleston time.

SHE HAD TO RALLY TO SET UP THE MEETING WITH BARTY

How did Rogers come back so far (down 4-1) against a player ranked as high as Kontaveit?

“I just brought in the margins a little bit. It’s a big court. You have a lot of space down here. I was this far (using her fingers to measure the difference) off in the first set going for my shots in the beginning. I thought that I was hitting clean and going for the right shots.

“Just adjusting my targets I set at the beginning and stay aggressive and move forward. And then I made a few more first serves, which helped.”

ROGERS WAS THE BIG HITTER AND SERVER

Rogers was hitting lights out in those last 14 games, much the same way she has been playing since her knee injury of three years ago that kept her off the tour for a full year. Just over four years ago, Rogers gained her career-best ranking of No. 49.

She served like the big hitter she is, hitting a solid percentage of her first serves after the slow start. She won nine of the 10 first serves she put into play in the second set.

Yes, Shelby Rogers looks capable of possibly beating the odds and soaring sky high.

James Beck has been the long-time tennis columnist for the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier newspaper. He can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. See his Post and Courier columns at postandcourier.com and search for James Beck.

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Aljaz Bedene rallies from one set down to beat Jannik Sinner in Montpellier

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Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene came back from one set down to beat 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner 3-6 6-2 7-6 (7-5) to reach the second round at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier. Sinner was hindered by a back injury in the final stages of the match. 

 

Bedene entered the match with a 2-1 lead in his head-to-head matches against Sinner, but the Italian 19-year-old player won their most recent clash at the Great Ocean Road Open in Melbourne en route to the second title of his career.  

Sinner earned his only break in the fourth game to take a 3-1 and held his next service games to close out the opening set 6-3 with a forehand down the line. 

Sinner went down 0-40 in the fourth game of the second set on serve, but he saved three consecutive break points. Bedene converted his fourth break point at deuce, as Sinner made an error at the net. Sinner forced the next game to deuce, but Bedene held his serve to open up a 4-1 lead. Bedene closed out the second set 6-2 with his double break at 15.

Sinner saved a break point and held serve after two deuces in the second game. The Italian player wasted two break points in the third and fifth games. 

Sinner earned an erly mini-break, but Bedene got back on serve immediately. Bedene opened up a 4-2 lead with two more mini-breaks in the tie-break before Sinner received a medical time-out to a lower back injury. Bedene earned two more mini-breaks to close out the match after 2 hours and 39 minutes. 

Bedene becomes the first player outside the top 10 to defeat Sinner indoors in a year. Sinner entered the match on a 10-match indoor winning streak against players outside the top 10, which dated back to the quarter final defeat against Pablo Carreno Busta in Rotterdam. 

“In the first set Sinner was the better player. Afterwards, I became more aggressive and was making less mistakes. I think that decided it. On the important points I was there. I didn’t lose my focus”, said Bedene. 

Bedene set up a second round match against Egor Gerasimov, who beat Andy Murray 7-6 (10-8) 6-1on Tuesday evening. 

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina converted six of his fifteen break points to overcome Bernabe Zapata Miralles 7-6 (7-3) 5-7 6-2 setting up a second round match against Hubert Hurkacz. 

French qualifier Gregoire Barrere broke twice in each set and won 65 % of his second service points to defeat Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4 6-4. 

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Marin Cilic beats Taro Daniel to reach the quarter final at the Singapore Open

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Former US Open champion and world number 3 Marin Cilic won 82% of his first-serve points and and fended off three of the four break points he faced to claim a 7-5 6-4 win over Taro Daniel after 1 hour and 40 minutes at the Singapore Tennis Open. 

 

Cilic converted his second break point at deuce in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Daniel broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Cilic earned his second break in the 11th game and served out the first set at love in the 10th game. Cilic earned the only break in the 10th game to seal the second set 6-4. 

Cilic set up a quarter final match against South Korea’s Soonwoo Kwon, who came back from one set down to beat Thai-Son Kwiatkowski 4-6 6-3 6-4. 

Fourth seed Alexander Bublik fired 10 aces to beat Turkish qualifier Altug Celikbilek 6-3 6-2. Bublik will take on Yoshihito Nishioka, who won 62 % of hsi second serve points to claim a 6-4 6-2 win over Maxime Cressy. 

Australia’s Alexei Popyrin overcame Adrian Andreev 6-1 5-7 6-3. Popyrin earned two breaks in the fourth and sixth games to win the first set 6-1. Andreev sealed the second set 7-5 with his only break in the 12th game. Poppyrin broke twice in the fifth and ninth games to close out the third set 6-3.  

Italy’s Roberto Marcora broke once in each set to upset former top 10 player Ernest Gulbis 7-5 6-4 setting up a second round match against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino. Matthew Ebden edged Yuki Bhambri 6-3 7-6 (7-3) to secure his spot in the second round where he will face second round match against second seed John Millman.

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Lorenzo Sonego beats Sebastian Korda to reach the quarter final in Montpellier

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Lorenzo Sonego cruised past US Next Gen player Sebastian Korda 6-3 6-2 after 1 hour and 15 minutes to reach the quarter final for the eighth time in his career on the ATP Tour. Sonego will face either David Goffin or Benjamin Bonzi. 

 

Sonego did not convert a break point at 2-1 in the opening set. Korda earned two break points in the fifth game, but Sonego saved them at deuce. The Italian player broke serve at 15 to open up a 4-2 lead and held his next service games to claim the first set 6-3.

The second set went on serve the first four games before Sonego earned a break with a forehand passing shot to take a 3-2 lead. The 2020 Vienna finalist came back from 0-30 down to hold his serve before breaking for the second time in the seventh game at 15 to race out a 5-2 lead. Sonego served out the win on his first match point in the eighth game to reach his first ATP Tour quarter finals this year.

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