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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Why Newly Married Elina Svitolina Has No Plans To Change Her Surname

The Ukrainian explains why she isn’t using her husband’s surname of Monfils just yet as she books her place in the third round at Tokyo 2020.

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Just over a week ago Elina Svitolina tied the knot with her long-time partner Gael Monfils at a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

Shortly after the world No.6 took to social media and changed her name on Twitter to Elina Monfils as part of the tradition that the woman takes on the man’s name once they are married. As a consequence, various websites started to identify the Ukrainian under that name. Although she would rather that they don’t do such a thing.

“I don’t know why they changed my surname. Maybe they saw that I had changed it on my social networks,” Svitolina told BTU.
“I’m going to play as Svitolina till the very end of my professional career and will change it only after retirement.”

Svitolina explains she believes it is better if all of her achievements are made under the same name instead of two. So far in her career she has won 15 WTA titles, reached two Grand Slam semi-finals and has earned more than $20.5M in prize money.

I had numerous achievements and people know me as Svitolina. My father would be upset if I changed the surname and played as Monfils,” she joked.
“I am proud to be Svitolina and my tennis career will always be connected with this surname.”

Over the coming week the 26-year-old is hoping to add an Olympic medal to her resume. On Monday Svitolina survived a stern scare after coming back from a set down to defeat Ajla Tomljanović 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and move into the third round of the tournament. Her win came on the day where there were shocks galore in the women’s draw with seeds Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek and Petra Kvitova all crashing out.

Svitolina will play Greece’s Maria Sakkari in the next round whom she has lost to in two out of their three previous meetings.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas ‘Happy’ To Follow In Grandfather’s Footsteps At Olympics

The Greek speaks out about carrying his family’s legacy at the Games.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas never met his grandfather but the two of them do have something in common – they are both Olympians.

 

The world No.4 has already created history in Tokyo by winning his first round match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday to become the first male player from his country to win a singles match since 1924. Greece has won two medals at the Games but both of them were during its inaugural edition back in 1896.

Tsitsipas’ debut in Tokyo enables him to continue his family legacy of playing in the sporting extravaganza. His grandfather was Sergei Salnikov who played football for the Soviet Union during the 1950s. In 1956 Salnikov was part of the team who won Olympic gold in Melbourne. After retiring from the sport, he went on to manage the FC Spartak Moscow and the Afghanistan national team before passing away in 1984 aged 58.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to meet him. But my mom told me stories of his career and how he got it…. He kind of inspires me in a way,” said Tsitsipas. “I know what kind of athlete he was, with all the achievements and all the trophies. I’m proud of him.
“It’s something good, a legacy that is being carried on in the family. I’m happy to be the next in the family to be competing at the Olympics.”

It isn’t just a medal in the singles Tsitsipas has his eyes on, he will also be bidding for success in the mixed doubles alongside Maria Sakkari. The two previously paired up at the 2019 Hopman Cup where they finished second in their group.

“We have already played once (together), and we had great success,” Sakkari told reporters on Monday. “We know each other really well, and we are much better players two-and-a-half years later, and we are both really pumped to play together. Of course, I cannot predict that we will get a medal. We will try our best and I think we give ourselves the best chance we can.”

Tsitsipas will return to action tomorrow in the men’s singles where he will play Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

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Carlos Alcaraz becomes the youngest ever champion at ATP Tour level since Kei Nishikori in 2008

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Carlos Alcaraz beat Richard Gasquet 6-2 6-2 in the final of the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag becoming the youngest ever champion at ATP Tour level since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori in Delray Beach in 2008 and the youngest Spanish ATP Tour champion since RafaelNadal in Sopot 2004. 

 

Alcaraz earned his first break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead with an inside-in forehand winner and he never looked back by holding his next service games. The Spanish teenager broke serve in the third game as Gasquet made a double fault. Alcaraz converted his third break point in the fifth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Gasquet earned three break points but he was not able to convert them. 

“I had a lot of good moments in this tournament. I beat five great tennis players. I think that I grew up a lot in this tournament and  I keep a lot of experience from this tournament. It’s going to be useful for the future”, said Alcaraz. 

Gasquet was aiming to win his first ATP Tour title since s’Hertogenbosch in 2018. 

“It was tough for me to play with his full intensity. I had a tough match yesterday. It was tough, and especially with a guy like Carlos, who is playing really fast with a lot of energy and spin. He is playing unbeievable. He is only 18 and of course he had a great future and Ijust could not play at his level and his intensity”, said Gasquet. 

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