Another night at the US Open another upset. Just 24 hours after the tournament lost defending champion Naomi Osaka, tournament favorite and World No. 1 Ash Barty was bounced by American veteran Shelby Rogers 6-2, 1-6, 7-6(5).
“I am stunned,” Rogers said after her first win over Barty in seven tries.
“I think tonight going on the court I told myself I didn’t want to lose the same way I lost the last five times against her. I just tried to do things a little bit differently.
“In the first set I mixed in some high balls, I was super patient with her slice because she’s not going to miss one very often. I know that very well.
“In the second and third, she definitely raised her level, as she does. I mean, she’s the No. 1 player in the world for a reason. But I started wanting to hit the ball a little bit harder, find some winners if I could. That’s the tennis I like to play. That’s what she wants me to do. She wants to redirect and finesse me around the court, wait for me to miss.
“I was just happy and really proud of myself tonight for problem-solving, if you will, maybe doing some things I’m not super comfortable with, like hitting some high balls like I’m back in the 12s, playing defense honestly.”
Barty was in complete control after dropping the opening set. The Australian kept the slow-footed Rogers on the move taking set two 6-1 then going up 5-2 in the third. But once again Barty had trouble closing, and this time it bit her.
With the match all but over, Rogers just kept getting balls back and Barty began to miss. Helped by the crowd, Rogers, the last American women left, grabbed a lightning bolt to run off four straight games to go up 6-5.
Barty settled down for to push a breaker but Rogers and the crowd were too much. Barty’s dream of a US Open title will have to wait as the top failed to served it out twice.
“Tough one,” Barty said after. “It’s never nice when you have a couple opportunities to serve out a match and can’t get it done. Look, a 6 in the third is brutal, it’s a tough one to swallow. But it is what it is tonight. I found a way back into my match. I found a way to really turn it in my favor and just wasn’t able to just quite finish off. It’s disappointing but we’ll move on.
“In the end I think that game put some oxygen into her lungs. At the 5-4 game, we played some long points. I mean, I didn’t play too many bad points. Shelby came up with some really good stuff when it mattered most. A forehand lob, 30-All, you tip your hat and say, Too good. I think there are a few things tonight I’m happy to accept. There are some things I’m disappointed in, without a doubt.
“In the end I just didn’t quite have enough in the tank. I’ve left everything out on the court this year. It was no different tonight. I just didn’t quite have enough to get over the line, which is disappointing but we move on. I sleep well tonight knowing I gave everything I could; it just wasn’t quite enough.”
Rogers, who made the quarterfinals last year losing to Naomi Osaka, will now meet the red-hot 18-year-old qualifier Emma Raducanu. The British teen crushed Spanish World No. 41 Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-0, 6-1 to reach her second straight Slam fourth round.
“I think that my level of tennis here, I have to say from my own perspective, I think I’m playing better tennis here than at Wimbledon,” Raducanu said. “Of course being on the hard courts, they’re less forgiving than grass.
“But honestly, I think with the amount of matches I have played and the experience that I have accumulated in the last four, five weeks, my game is just getting better with each match.
“The crowd has just been absolutely amazing still. I think they are both completely different experiences, so you can’t really compare, but both, I mean, I love both of them. Excited to keep going here for as long as possible.”
Gold medalist Belinda Bencic stayed on track for a return to the US Open semifinals getting through Jessica Pegula 6-2, 6-4. She’ll now face French Open winner Iga Swiatek who outlasted Anett Kontaveit 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
Swiatek has been in the fourth round at all four Slams this year. That’s quite the opposite for 2-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova who will reach none. The Czech fell in the Ashe opener to Maria Sakkari 6-4, 6-3.
Up next for the Greek will be the suddenly-hot Bianca Andreescu. The Canadian stayed perfect at the US Open improving to 10-0 with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over lucky loser Greet Minnen.
“It’s incredible, especially like the last two matches they weren’t easy, especially the first round, getting it done in those, like, conditions, you know, and Arthur Ashe and being able to get it done in two almost, I’d say, probably one of my best matches,” Andreescu said.
Former finalist Karolina Pliskova continued to overwhelm with her serve easing past Wimbledon semifinalist Alja Tomljanovic 6-3, 6-2. She’ll meet French finalist Anastasija Pavlyuchenkova.
Tomorrow, former champion Angelique Kerber battles fellow lefty Leylah Fernandez. Simona Halep takes on Elina Svitolina.
Elise Mertens meets Aryna Sabelenka and in a battle of French winners, Barbora Krejcikova collides with Garbine Muguruza.
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