The dream has become a reality for 17-year-old Shelby Rogers of Daniel Island.

She's headed to New York in two weeks. Not as an observer but as a participant, as she qualified for the main draw in the U.S. Open.

Rogers earned a wild-card berth into the main draw of the U.S. Open by winning the USTA's girls 18 national tennis championship in San Diego on Sunday.

"I just want to get back home and rest," Rogers said after she got past 17-year-old Nicole Gibbs, 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (4). It was the third-seeded Rogers' seventh straight win in San Diego, coming on the heels of a tight quarterfinal loss 10 days ago to former world fourth-ranked Jelena Dokic in a $75,000 tournament in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Winning a national championship was sensational for Rogers, but nothing matched the wild card into the U.S. Open.

"The wild card is great ... I am so excited," Rogers said.

Rogers' mother, Starley, was just as happy on Daniel Island. "I went out on my porch and cried," her mother said.

Bryan Minton, Rogers' longtime coach at the former Players Club in Mount Pleasant, had to be the happiest observer in San Diego. "There's no bigger tournament that a junior can win in the U.S.," he said.

And now Minton gets to coach Rogers in a Grand Slam tournament.

"Nobody choked ... nobody gave up. It was one of the best matches I've ever seen," said Minton. "Almost every game went to deuce."

Rogers had one match point in the second set and another one in the third set at 5-4 before finally building up a 6-2 lead in the decisive tiebreaker.

A day earlier in a 2-6, 7-6 (9), 6-0 win over No. 5 Krista Hardebeck of Santa Ana, Calif., Rogers, ranked No. 348 in the world, fought off three match points in the second-set tiebreaker.

"Shelby had her chances but never got frustrated. When she needed it, she stepped up," Minton said.