Shelby Rogers neutralised a 5-2 deficit in the third set and prevailed in a dramatic tiebreak to stun top-ranked Ashleigh Barty in the third round of the 2021 US Open, 6-2 1-6 7-6(5).
The pair had met as many as four times earlier this season and all those matches were won by Barty. But on Saturday night, the world No.43 Rogers was helped by the passionate crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadium and put her hands over her mouth in disbelief as she edged the third set.
At the start of the tournament, there were 22 American players in the women’s singles draw. Now the US Open host country was close to having no representatives in the fourth round for the first time in the Open Era. Rogers, who had graduated from Indiana University East less than three years ago, prevented that from happening.
Last year, Rogers made the US Open quarterfinals for the first time — she lost to eventual champion Naomi Osaka, but upset No.17 Elena Rybakina and No.12 Petra Kvitova en route. This year, Rogers’ opponent in the round of 16 will be 18-year-old British sensation Emma Raducanu, who needed just 70 minutes to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-0 6-1.