Shelby Rogers is achieving goals left and right. The 21-year-old Charleston touring tennis pro's latest achievement came on Tuesday when she notched her initial victory in the U.S. Open.
Rogers performed the feat in style, posting a solid 6-4, 6-3 first-round victory over previously red-hot Ukrainian Maryna Zanevska out on court No. 7 in front of Rogers' family at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York. Zanevska, also a 21-year-old, entered the match on a 13-match winning streak that included back-to-back $25,000 ITF championships and then three wins to advance through U.S. Open qualifying at Flushing Meadows.
"It was a good first round for me, working my way into the tournament. Everyone's a little nervous ... first round," Rogers said.
"She (Zanevska) had had a few good matches in qualies, and she was definitely feeling good on court. I knew it was going to be a battle out there."
Rogers has been on a tear most of the summer since leaving USTA training to return to Family Circle Tennis Center under former coach Bryan Minton. Rogers made the final of a $250,000 event in Austria by upsetting two top 20 players, then surprised eighth-ranked Eugenie Bouchard in Montreal earlier this month.
Currently at a career-high 86th in the world, Rogers could climb into the top 80 with Tuesday's victory.
The latest success came in Rogers' third U.S. Open appearance at the expense of a player ranked 130th in the world. This was a sweet one for Rogers, who also was on a two-match losing streak since upsetting Bouchard.
Rogers displayed some gritty play to make this one appear to be easy, taking 4-1 and 5-3 leads in the first set, then outlasting her opponent through five deuces to come up with a service break on her second set point.
In the second set, Rogers led 4-2, but was serving at 30-30 when she unleashed two of her four aces to go up 5-2. Rogers closed the door on Zanevska on her first opportunity in the eighth game with a 40-30 service hold.
Rogers now faces No. 11 seed Flavia Pennetta of Italy, who scored a 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 win over Julia Goerges of Germany. "She (Pennetta) has had a great year ... she's a very experienced player," Rogers said. "She's definitely going to know what she's doing. She's played here many times."
Reach James Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org. See his latest columns on Wimbledon and Grand Slam Tennis at www.ubitennis.com/english/tag/james-beck.