Charleston’s Shelby Rogers can see red … as in the French Open’s red clay. The American player who earns the most combined WTA Tour ranking points in two of three select USTA Pro Circuit $50,000 clay-court events will receive a wild card into Paris’ main draw.
Why is Rogers even thinking about the French Open? Well, the 20-year-old Daniel Island product could be that American player. She has advanced to the final of the second of the three wild-card events after being a quarterfinalist last weekend in Dothan, Ala.
Today’s final in Charlottesville, Va., pits Rogers against 17-year-old Allie Kiick, the daughter of former Miami Dolphins running back Jim Kiick. Rogers posted a 7-6, 4-2, retired win over Patricia Mayr-Achleitner in Saturday’s semifinals.
A quarterfinal and at least a final should put Rogers in a challenging position to claim the French Open wild card. And she still will have another opportunity to better that position. The third wild-card tournament begins Monday in Indian Harbour, Fla.
Just as importantly, the currently 216th-ranked Rogers may already have landed her first spot among the world’s top 200 players. She should already have earned a minimum of 50 ranking points at Charlottesville where she earned a rotating-off 10 points last April. Adding 40 points to her current 269 WTA points total would put Rogers at 309 points, which currently is good for 199th in the world. A win today likely would thrust Rogers to around No. 190.
Rogers also teamed with Nicole Gibbs to advance to the doubles final.
Rogers earned 18 points at Dothan to tie her with Alexa Glatch and Jessica Pegula in the wild-card race going into Charlottesville. Rogers lost in the Dothan quarterfinals to eventual champ Ajla Tomljanovic, 7-6, 6-0 (the same score Tomljanovic defeated Kiick by a round earlier at Dothan). Alison Riske and Irina Falconi made the Dothan semifinals and led the race with 32 ranking points each, but like Glatch and Pegula, both lost in the first or second rounds in Charlottesville.
In Charlottesville, Rogers yielded just 12 games in her first three matches, including an upset of third-seeded Maria Sanchez in the first round and a 6-3, 6-2 win over former Junior Family Circle Cup champ Riske in the second round.
Summerville’s Flowertown Tennis Tournament is May 11-12 at Doty Park, with an entry deadline of May 7. The tournament will have singles (2.5-4.5), doubles and mixed doubles (5.0-9.0). Registration is available at www.summerville.sc.us. Call Nancy Sumersett at (843) 270-1017 or (843) 851-5211.
Former Wando star Corin Hallman was named Conference Carolinas player of the year while leading Erskine to its ninth straight conference tournament championship. Hallman, a junior, also earned all-conference as well as academic all-conference while posting a 10-0 conference record and going 16-2 at No. 1 singles (17-3 overall).
Mi’Kola Cooper, who led Porter-Gaud to the 2011 state title, also sparkled in her first year at Morgan State and won a spot on the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference all-conference first team. She won eight of her last nine singles matches for an 11-5 record at No. 2 singles, and was 11-3 record at No. 1 doubles as Morgan State won the MEAC North Division crown.
Porter-Gaud begins defense of its SCISA Class AAA state title at home on Monday against Heathwood Hall. The High School League state playoffs start Tuesday.
Reach James Beck at email@example.com. See his columns on pro tennis at ubitennis.com/english.