Shelby Rogers arrived in Montreal last weekend to compete in qualifying for the WTA Tour's Premier 5 Rogers Cup tournament with two noteworthy wins over top 20 players.
The 21-year-old touring tennis professional from Charleston now has a top-10 win, and she's projected to take a spot among the world's top 90 women's players when the next rankings come out.
That's compliments of Rogers' shocking, but dominant, 6-0, 2-6, 6-0 televised victory over world's No. 8 Eugenie Bouchard of Canada on Tuesday night in the second round of the $2.44 million Montreal event.
Not only did the currently 113th-ranked Rogers come up with the biggest win of her four-year pro career, she accomplished the feat with what must have seemed like all of Canada rooting for her 20-year-old opponent, the Wimbledon runner-up a month ago.
"This is my first experience in an atmosphere like this," Rogers said after blasting three straight service winners to wrap up her second love set of the match.
"You know the whole stadium was kind of cheering for the other person. It was awesome for her. I really respect them staying with her the whole time. It is incredible to see the amount of support she has."
Rogers totally dominated the love first set as Bouchard's game appeared to be filled with jitters. Bouchard connected on only 37 percent of her first serves in the opening set.
But then the fifth-seeded Bouchard found her game in the second set as Rogers failed to win the big points that could have made the set close.
"I was trying to stay in my little zone. I knew she was going to raise the level of her game. She has so many weapons. She was going to come out swinging in the second set," Rogers said.
But the third set belonged to Rogers. She duplicated her first-set formula of breaking Bouchard's service in the first game and used her powerful serve to finish the job in one hour and 34 minutes. The win was Rogers' 11th in her last 13 matches.
"I just reset in the third, stuck to my game, and played one point at a time," Rogers said.
Perhaps, it was the fact Rogers knew from the start she could defeat Bouchard. In the only other meeting between the two players, Rogers also won a three-setter (2011 in a small hard-court tournament in Troy, Ala.).
The latest victory assured Rogers of a $26,090 payday in Montreal.
Rogers now advances to the round of 16 where her opponent could be Caroline Wozniacki.
Reach James Beck at email@example.com. See his latest columns on Wimbledon and Grand Slam Tennis at www.ubitennis.com/english/tag/james-beck.
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