Struggling Rogers faces a tough draw in French

Shelby Rogers will play former Family Cup champion Andrea Petkovic in the French Open. Grace Beahm/Staff

Shelby Rogers has run into a difficult first-round draw in the French Open. Former Family Circle Cup champion Andrea Petkovic will be a tough obstacle to overcome on the red clay of Roland Garros.

This bit of possible bad luck couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time for Rogers. The 22-year-old touring pro from Charleston appears to be in a major victory drought, one that could impact her future on the WTA Tour. Her lone win over a player ranked above her in the last nine months came in the first round of last month’s Family Circle Cup when she defeated then No. 64 Silvia Soler-Espinosa.

Even after posting a first-round victory last weekend in the $250,000 event in Strasbourg, France, Rogers has managed just four victories in her last 19 matches. She lost to 63rd-ranked Ajla Tomljanovic in the second round.

Currently ranked 80th in the world, Rogers earned more than 600 of her current 717 WTA Tour ranking points during the less than four months period from this time (French Open) last year through early September.

That means Rogers needs another big summer to avoid descending into the high 100s or 200s in the world rankings — in other words, the land of playing ITF events or qualifiers for almost any tournament with a purse more than $50,000.

This is the sometimes cruel life of a touring tennis professional in a world that has thousands of women aspiring to strike it rich on the WTA Tour.

Former Charleston area junior star Connor Clements has been named an NAIA All-American after posting a 28-1 record in leading Georgia Gwinnett to a second straight NAIA national championship. Clements was the only Gwinnett player to register a win in singles in all four matches in the nationals.

“Connor just does not lose here,” Gwinnett coach Chase Hodges said. “When we come down to Mobile (Ala.), he is a beast. He played on another level this whole week. He’s brought his A-game every time we’ve played here, and I’m really proud of him. He’s a great player.”

Wando junior Scotty Cameron made a strong run at the Class AAAA-AAA state singles title by winning three straight matches to reach the semifinals. But Cameron defaulted in the semifinals. Chambers Easterling of Spartanburg won the state title.

In Class AA-A, Bishop England’s Jeff Jones earned third-place honors after losing to eventual champion Paul Hendrix of Waccamaw in the semifinals. Waccamaw left-hander Justin Dunn was state runner-up.

Bishop England freshman star Jared Pratt, who split a pair of matches with Hendrix during the season, did not participate in the competition.

Charleston’s Diane Barker is preparing to head for La Baule, France, to lead the United States’ three-time defending champion women’s 55 team in the ITF Seniors World Team Championships from June 8-13. The top players will stick around another week to compete for the individual title.

Two local teams earned state championships in the recent 40-plus state tournament at Aiken. A 3.0 Mount Pleasant Rec women’s team captained by Sarah Pitts and a 3.5 LTP Tennis women’s team captained by Maggie LaCoste took top state honors. State runners-up were Jennifer Rickell’s 4.0 Mount Pleasant Rec women, Christine Zavada’s 4.5 Mount Pleasant Rec women and Mark Mogul’s 4.5 I’On men.

The Lowcountry Tennis Association is currently holding team registrations for the summer combo season. Teams must have three eligible combo pairings by the May 31 team registration deadline to participate in the league.

Family Circle Tennis Center will hold a a Grand Slam Series of adult singles/doubles tournaments, beginning with a Wimbledon event June 11-14. Play will be held on Thursday and Friday nights, and weekends. Contact FCTC (849-5300).

Spartanburg defeated South Aiken for this year’s Class AAAA boys state crown, while A.C. Flora upended Hilton Head High in the Class AAA final. Bishop England downed Christ Church in the Class AA title match.

Summerville’s David Long was named the Region 8-AAAA coach of the year. The all-region team included Walker Long and Jack Hazel from Summerville, Tommy McManus and Austin Stahl from Fort Dorchester, Harrison Parvey and Zack Rabon from Ashley Ridge, and Kenny Johnson and Thomas Warren from Colleton County.

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