Lexington, August 15
Serena Williams has performed 967 tour-level singles matches as an expert, with simply 4 losses in opposition to opponents ranked outdoors the highest 100 — and none in eight years.
Well, it is time to add to that listing: Williams was overwhelmed by No. 116 Shelby Rogers 1-6 6-Four 7-6 (5) within the Top Seed Open quarterfinals.
“It’s good to know,” Williams mentioned, “I can play a lot, lot, lot better.”
She’ll wish to accomplish that quickly: The US Open begins August 31.
Rogers, who’s from South Carolina, took six of the final eight factors on Friday after trailing 3-1 within the tiebreaker to gather solely her third profession victory over a top-10 opponent.
She additionally reached her first WTA semifinal since 2016.
Need to go even additional again within the report books to seek out this form of event exit for former No. 1 Williams: The proprietor of 23 Grand Slam singles titles hadn’t bowed out in opposition to somebody so low within the rankings since No. 111 Virginie Razzano surprised her on the 2012 French Open.
Shortly after that, Williams teamed up with coach Patrick Mouratoglou, who nonetheless works together with her and was among the many few individuals within the stands Friday – followers should not allowed on the first tennis event within the US because the outset of the coronavirus pandemic.
It had occurred solely three different occasions, together with in qualifying at Quebec City all the way in which again in 1995, when Williams was making her skilled debut at age 14. Now she’s 38; Rogers is 27.
“It’s every kid’s dream when they’re growing up, watching her play, to be able to do something like that,” Rogers mentioned. “Weird circumstances, weird setting, but a win is a win and I know we’re all just happy to be back playing.”
Later Friday, 16-year-old American Coco Gauff reached her second WTA semifinal with fairly a comeback. One level from trailing by a set and two breaks, Gauff received 10 of the final 11 video games to remove No. eight seed Ons Jabeur 4-6 6-Four 6-1.
Gauff was down 4-2 within the second set and dealing with a break level, however Jabeur sailed a backhand lengthy. That was sufficient to let Gauff again into the match and he or she quickly took full management.
In the semifinals, Gauff will meet Jennifer Brady, who superior by beating Marie Bouzkova 6-1 6-2.
Rogers faces Jil Teichmann of Switzerland on Saturday. Teichmann wanted seven match factors to succeed in the primary hard-court semifinal of her profession with a 6-2 6-Four victory over CiCi Bellis.
The loss to Rogers was the third consecutive three-setter for Williams on the hard-court Top Seed Open. She dropped the opening set of every of the others earlier than coming again to win, together with in opposition to older sister Venus within the second spherical.
On Friday, beginning after a rain delay of greater than two hours, Williams appeared on the way in which to a a lot easier victory. She by no means confronted a break level till serving whereas trailing 5-Four within the second set.
That’s when issues shifted.
Rogers earned three break factors – each a set level – and transformed the third when Williams dumped a forehand into the online.
There have been no breaks within the third set, and after Williams took the early lead within the tiebreaker, she was her personal undoing with miss after miss, together with an extended backhand return to finish it.
“I kind of made it difficult for myself by making a plethora of unforced errors,” Williams mentioned.
With social-distancing guidelines in place, the gamers did not meet on the web for the customary post-match handshake. As they headed to their sideline seats, Williams smiled. Rogers merely sat down and rapidly shook a fist. AP