Charleston’s Rogers Roars in Upset Over Top Seed Keys
By: Nick McCarvel
Shelby Rogers was at a loss for words. It was the first time on Wednesday she wasn’t sure what to do next.
The Mount Pleasant native had just shocked Volvo Car Open top seed and good friend Madison Keys 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 and she was on court for the post-match interview, thanking the boisterous crowd that had just cheered her to victory.
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“Honestly, this means so much,” Rogers managed to get out before tearing up.
It was an emotional finish to a hard-worked day for Rogers, 24, who moves into the third round here for the first time in five career appearances, having won only one match in Charleston previously.
A day after Rogers squeaked out a first-round win against a little-known Paraguayan player named Veronica Cepede Royg, she was at her ball-striking best on Wednesday, moving Keys side to side and matching one of the game’s biggest hitters with her own powerful shots.
Rogers would close out the match on serve, yelling a spirited “Come on!” as Volvo Car Stadium leapt to its feet. Next up: Japan’s Naomi Osaka, who Rogers has won two ITF Pro Circuit-level matches against.
While it was Rogers’ stunning triumph that stole the headlines for the day, it was a disappointing loss earlier that was the buzz of the grounds, as 2004 champion Venus Williams fell to German Laura Siegemund after holding two match points. Siegemund would win in just over three hours, in a dramatic, topsy-turvy match, prevailing 6-4, 6-7(3), 7-5 to earn herself a spot in the last 16.
“I tried, but I don’t know what more that I could do,” Venus, 36, told reporters. “I feel like I did the right things, but somehow inexplicably came up empty.”
Elsewhere on the day, No. 15 seed Lucie Safarova, a singles finalist here in 2012, beat good friend and doubles partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-3, 6-3 on Althea Gibson Club Court, while both Daria Kasatkina and Daria Gavrilova won, setting up an all-Dasha third round encounter.
No. 8 seed Anastasija Sevastova held off 2014 champ Andrea Petkovic in straight sets to start the day, and Fanny Stollar, an 18-year-old qualifier from Hungary, shocked No. 4 seed Elena Vesnina in two tiebreaks, 7-6(7), 7-6(3).
Other wins on Wednesday: Rogers’ coming foe Osaka, Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, Kiki Bertens, Jelena Ostapenko, Anastasia Rodionova, Ons Jabour and Irina-Camelia Begu were all victorious, as well, moving into the third round.
After Rogers’ early-evening win, 2011 champion Caroline Wozniacki took to the court for the first time since 2013, making a return to Charlreston after a four-year absence.
Wozniacki would not hit one match ball, however, as lightning was sighted in the area and a heavy storm followed. Her match against Annika Beck will be second on Billie Jean King Stadium Court Thursday afternoon, not before 12:30pm.