Shelby Rogers falls to second-seeded Halep at U.S. Open

Shelby Rogers, of the United States, returns a shot to Simona Halep, of Romania, during the third round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Simona Halep demonstrated again Saturday night in Arthur Ashe Stadium why she is the second-ranked women’s tennis player in the world. The 5-6 Romanian was just too consistent, too athletic and too good a mover to allow a second-hundred player to seriously challenge her.

Charleston touring professional Shelby Rogers fought hard, but she managed her only service break as Halep served for the match. That wasn’t enough to prevent the quick-footed Halep from galloping into the round of 16 with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Rogers in 67 minutes.

“She played well tonight, very solid, moved well and didn’t give me much. She’s really aggressive and moved the ball around well,” said the 154th-ranked Rogers, who followed up her match with an ice bath.

“I think I had the right plan. I just have to cut down on the errors.”

Rogers leaves New York with a $68,600 paycheck. “I’m glad I got a break at the end,” she said.

“It (playing in the world’s largest tennis stadium on a Saturday night) was an incredible experience that I will never forget.”

Rogers started off well for a 2-2 deadlock, but then Halep won the next six games to take charge of the match. In seeing her five-match winning streak snapped, qualifier Rogers managed to hold service twice in each set as she went for her first serve hard.

It was her second serves and service returns that cost Rogers dearly. She won only six of 24 second-serve points and 10 of 40 receiving points. Rogers did best Halep in net points won (9-6) and aces (2-1).

Rogers went for her shots the entire match. “It worked really well at the beginning, but she defends well and moves the ball around. That’s a pretty good combination,” she said.

The 22-year-old Rogers plans to continue her year on Sept. 14 in the Quebec, Canada, event in which she was a semifinalist last year.

Rogers hopes to be back in the top 100 by the end of the year to qualify for direct entry into January’s Australian Open. “That’s my goal,” she said. “I plan to work really hard to get there.”

Reach James Beck at jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. See his latest columns on Grand Slam Tennis at www.ubitennis.com/english/tag/james-beck