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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Sebastian Korda reaches his second semifinal of the season in s’Hertogenbosh

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Sebastian Korda beat Tommy Paul 6-4 6-2 in 67 minutes to reach his second ATP Tour semifinal of the season at Libema Open in s’Hertogenbosh. 

Korda hit 18 winners and won 84% of his first serve points. Korda earned his first break in the third game of the first set to take a 2-1 lead. Paul broke straight back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Korda broke for the second time in the seventh game to win the first set 6-4. Korda broke twice in the third and seventh game to close out the second set 6-2. 

Korda has improved his head-to-head record against Paul to 4-1. 

Korda reached the semifinal on grass at Queen’s in 2023. The US player is is aiming to win his first ATP Tour title since 2021, when he won in Parma on clay. 

Korda set up a semifinal clash against defending champion Tallon Griekspoor, who ccame back from one set down to beat Alexandar Vukic 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7-3). Griekspoor has won his past eight matches at this tournament. 

Vukic broke in the ninth game to win the first set 6-4. Griekspoor earned his first break in the sixth game of the second set to win the second set 6-3. The third set went on serve with no breaks en route to the tie-break. Griekspoor earned two mini-breaks to open up a 4-1 lead in the tie-break. Vukic pulled one of the two mini-breaks, but Griekspoor held on his serve and sealed the tie-break on his first match point.

“I am very happy to be through. It was a very tough match once again. I think Alexandar played unbelievable grass court tennis, so it was not easy and I am very happy to find my way in the third set. I am enjoying the crowd, the atmosphere and the whole tournament”, said Korda. 

Alex De Minaur beat Milos Raonic7-5 6-2 in 1 hour and 26 minutes. De Minaur has improved to 3-0 in his head-to-head matches against Raonic, who was playing in just his fourth tournament of he year.

De Minaur earned his first break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Raonic broke straight back to draw level to 3-3. De Minaur broke for the second time in the 11th game and served out on his first set point after saving three break points in the 12th game. De Minaur broke twice in the fifth and seventh games to win the second set 6-2. 

De Minaur is aiming to win the second title of his career on career following his win in Eastbourne in 2021.  

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Emma Raducanu Confident Of Full Fitness Ahead Of Grass Swing

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Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has no regrets about her decision to skip the French Open and now believes she is in a ‘really fit place’ ahead of Wimbledon. 

The former US Open champion opted to end her clay season earlier than other players to focus on fitness and training with her coach. Raducanu stated earlier this year that her primary focus in 2024 is on her health after undergoing a series of wrist and ankle surgeries last year which sidelined her for months. 

Raducanu will return to action this week at the Nottingham Open, which is the event where she made her WTA main draw debut back in 2021. Despite her lack of match play in recent weeks, the Brit is feeling good and relishing her return to the grass.

“Body-wise, physical-wise, I feel really healthy,” she said on Monday.
“I’ve done amazing work with my trainer over the last few months, since surgery. I’m in a really fit place. I’m healthy and just looking forward to starting playing.”

Shedding more light on her health, Raducanu says she has full confidence in her wrists and believes they are in top condition. Making her feel more at ease when playing matches on the Tour. 

“I think my wrists are actually in a better position than they ever were. So there’s zero doubt or apprehension whether I’m hitting the ball or designing my schedule,” she explained.
“It’s more about being proactive and not wanting to put yourself in any unnecessary situations. I don’t need to rush and try to win the French Open, it wasn’t my goal this year.
“I had to prioritise where I wanted to target and it was just a good block for me to get some physical work done.”

Raducanu has played seven WTA events so far this season with her best run being to the quarter-finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, where she was beaten by world No.1 Iga Swiatek. The 21-year-old is currently ranked 209th in the world. 

At the Nottingham Open, she will play her first match on Tuesday against Japanese qualifier Ena Shibahara. 

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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