On Monday, Charleston's Shelby Rogers couldn't hold back tears after winning her first match after a year away from the WTA Tour due to a knee injury.
On Tuesday, Rogers found herself sprawled on the green clay on Daniel Island, clutching a sprained ankle and cursing the cold and the fates.
"The weather was terrible, I could have sworn it was snowing," she said. "I just went out to a forehand, stuck in the clay and heard it pop. I kind of laid on the ground for a second and was like, 'I'm freezing! This sucks! I can't believe this happened."
Rogers recovered well enough overnight to make a second comeback of sorts, taking 2017 French Open champ Jelena Ostapenko to three sets Wednesday in the second round of the Volvo Car Open.
Despite a 5-1 lead in the the third set — she served for the match twice, and held a match point — Rogers could not close the deal. The 10th-seeded Ostapenko rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) victory that alternately thrilled and disappointed a stadium court crowd over two hours and 29 minutes.
Cheer up, it’s only the beginning... I’m ready for a long, healthy season of improving!💪🏼 https://t.co/VcG2koWoMi— Shelby Rogers (@Shelby_Rogers_) April 3, 2019
"To even be in a position to close out that match is really cool for my first tournament back," said Rogers, who next takes her comeback effort to the Claro Open Colsanitas in Bogota, Colombia. "It wouldn't be a comeback without the best and the worst."
The loss could not take the shine off of Rogers' return to action, nor off of what's been a special week for Charleston tennis.
Now under the ownership of Charleston businessman Ben Navarro, the Volvo Car Open this week has seen Rogers' celebratory comeback; the pro debut of Ashley Hall junior Emma Navarro (Ben's daughter); and the biggest career victory yet for former Mount Pleasant resident Jessica Pegula, who trained here at the Family Circle Tennis Center on Daniel Island.
Pegula knocked off No. 4 seed Anastsija Sevastova by 6-4, 6-2, and fellow American Taylor Townsend upset No. 7 seed and 2018 VCO finalist Julia Goerges by 6-4, 7-6 (0).
"It's awesome to see," said Rogers, who herself served as a ball kid when the VCO was called the Family Circle Cup. "This tournament since it's been here has just brought out the best fans. It's such a tennis-oriented town, and I feel like the community has always supported it and always will.
"And to actually see the Americans and the locals stepping up and coming through, that makes it much more special."
No. 5 seed Caroline Wozniacki, a former world No. 1 who won the VCO in 2011 and the Australian Open in 2018, avoided the upset bug with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Laura Siegemund to advance to the third round.
No. 9 seed Madison Keys appeared to be in tears at a couple of junctures in her night match with slicing machine Tatjana Maria of Germany, but pulled through for a 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-4 victory that took two hours and 27 minutes.
No. 3 seed Aryna Sabalenka also survived, gutting out a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over qualifier Kateryna Kozlova. Former VCO champ Andrea Petkovic, the 2014 winner, fell to No. 15 seed Maria Sakkari by 6-3, 6-0.
For Rogers, who lost her WTA Tour rank (once as high as No. 48) during her year away from tennis, the particulars of the loss to Ostapenko paled in comparison to one fact:
"The knee is not hurting, guys!" she said. "That is the one positive thing. And I'm just so thrilled and pleased with these last two matches. And I'm going to continue to look at the positives and not fall into, oh, you know, I should have, could have, whatever, won."
Rogers grew up practicing and competing with Pegula, who used to train at the Family Circle Tennis Center with former coach Michael Joyce. Pegula, 25, has also battled injury and had only one previous victory over a top 20 opponent; Sevastova, from Latvia, is ranked No. 12.
"Super special, because I'm from the area," said Pegula, who is now ranked a career high No. 81. "I grew up kind of learning how to play tennis down here ... I had a good feeling this week, regardless of practicing and all that stuff. I kind of went in knowing that I feel comfortable here, I feel good. I was just trying to ride that momentum."
Pegula, making her seventh appearance in the VCO, lived in Mount Pleasant as a teenager. Her father, Terry, owns the Buffalo Bills of the NFL.
"Mount Pleasant is a great area," she said. "I actually regret now that every time I come back, I wish I explored more. When you are training, I was always tired and had long days. So I kind of regret that I didn't get to explore as much."
Pegula will face No. 16 seed Petra Martic in the third round. Martic dismissed American Sofia Kenin by 6-4, 6-4 on Wednesday.
Townsend, 22 years old and ranked No. 83, pulled off a huge upset by knocking out the 15th-ranked Goerges. It was her first victory over a top 20 player; Towsend she had been 0-13 previously.
"I just think I really stuck to my game plan and stuck to what I do best," Townsend said on the Tennis Channel after the match. "Even though there were some ups and downs, I stayed consistent with what I was trying to do. I didn't try to change too many things and get too flashy."
Townsend gets No. 9 seed Belinda Bencic, a 6-0, 6-3 winner over American Allie Kiick, in the third round.
Jessica Pegula def. Anastasija Sevastova, 6-4, 6-2
Aryna Sabalenka def. Kateryna Kozlova, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
Jelena Ostapenko def. Shelby Rogers, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4)
Taylor Townsend def. Julia Goerges, 6-4, 7-6 (0)
Belinda Bencic def. Allie Kiick, 6-0, 6-3
Kaia Kanepi def. Elise Mertens, 0-6, 6-0, 7-5
Mihaela Buzarnescu def. Lauren Davis, 6-3, 6-2
Maria Sakkari def. Andrea Petkovic, 6-3, 6-0
Petra Martic def. Mandy Minella, 6-3, 6-3.
Ajla Tomljanovic def. Tamara Zidansek, 7-5, 6-2
Caroline Wozniacki def. Laura Siegemund, 6-2, 6-2
Thursday on Stadium Court
Taylor Townsend vs. Belinda Bencic
Maria Sakkari vs. Kiki Bertens
Caroline Wozniacki vs. Mihaela Buzarnescu
Jelena Ostapenko vs. Tatjana Maria or Madison Keys
Sloane Stephens vs. Ajla Tomljanovic