Shelby Rogers had what was her best and most satisfying year in 2017 as a touring tennis professional.
She posted earnings of more than $700,000 and advanced to the third round of three of the year's four Grand Slam events, and the second round of the other Grand Slam. Yet, perhaps her best effort was making the quarterfinals of the hometown Volvo Car Open.
But thus far 2018 is a different story. A pronator muscle injury on her right arm has sidelined Rogers until at least the mega tournament at Indian Wells, Calif., which starts in less than two weeks.
Rogers said Friday she "tore the muscle" in her first-round three-set loss to Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in January in the Australian Open. That match has been Rogers' only match of 2018, and her only WTA Tour match since last October.
"I plan to play Indian Wells as my first event back," she said.
Rogers has been rehabilitating the injury while training in Florida, but planned to switch to Los Angeles this weekend.
After ending 2017 ranked 59th, she has seen her world ranking drop to No. 77. She has 230 WTA Tour points to defend by the completion of the April 2-8 Volvo Car Open. That fact puts some pressure on the 25-year-old Rogers, whose top 100 ranking could be threatened.
As it is, playing the 35-year-old Lucic-Baroni hasn't been a good luck charm for Rogers. She also suffered an abdominal muscle injury in a three-set loss to Lucic-Baroni in last April's VCO.
WILLIAMS ON RISE
Porter-Gaud eighth-grader Sophie Williams is off to a torrid start in 2018 that has lifted her girls 14 national ranking to No. 28.
Williams has won 30 straight matches in girls 14 singles and doubles while winning singles and doubles titles in two national level 2 and 3 tournaments as well as both titles in the Southern Winter Championships. The aggressive left-hander dropped only two sets along the way.
MWTennis Academy's Allie Gretkowski also is off to an impressive start and has climbed to No. 33 in the USTA national girls 14 rankings. Gretkowski won doubles titles in girls 16 in the Southern Winter Championships and a national level 2 event, was doubles runner-up in a national level 3 tournament, and was a singles semifinalist in the Southern Winter girls 16 as well as in a national level 3 event.
Gretkowski also won singles and doubles in the girls 18 division of the Family Circle Tennis Center's Southern level 3 tournament.
National No. 6 girls 16 player Emma Navarro won the girls 18 title in the Southern Winter Championships.
STEINGOLD TOPS SOUTH
Pine Forest Country Club pro Andy Steingold is celebrating his own success on the courts these days. Steingold finished the year ranked No. 1 in the final Southern men's 65 rankings.
He also was ranked 15th nationally in men's 65 late in 2017, but wasn't listed as an eligible player in the final rankings.
Pine Forest is preparing for its annual Azalea Clay Court Classic from March 23-25. Contact Steingold (firstname.lastname@example.org).
-- Due to publication date errors in USTA South Carolina's online rankings system, correct final state rankings for 2017 remained unavailable on Saturday. State officials have been working on the problem the last two weeks.
-- Charleston Tennis Center is getting ready for the rush of hundreds of kids who participate in the area's Elementary/Middle School spring tennis league. Play is scheduled to begin on March 5. But on Friday, staff members at the Farmfield Avenue city facility watched as most of the facility's bleachers (or an estimated 300 seats) were removed. "Where will parents, subs, supporters sit?" one observer questioned. According to staff members, no one knows when the bleachers will be replaced.
-- Monday is the deadline for entering next weekend's Mount Pleasant Rec Junior S.C. level 4 tournament. Contact the tennis center (843-856-2162) or tournament director Shelli Davis (email@example.com).
-- An early glimpse into the local boys high school tennis battle for supremacy is scheduled for Monday at the Porter-Gaud courts at Albemarle Point when always strong SCHSL member Bishop England visits the three-time defending SCISA Class AAA state champion Cyclones. The offering could showcase a No. 1 matchup between the Bishops' University of Wisconsin-bound U.S. top-ranked junior Jared Pratt and the Cyclones' Brant Fenno, who is headed to NCAA No. 1-ranked Wake Forest. Rain is in the forecast, but still be sure to bring your sunglasses since the bleachers directly face the afternoon sun.