Indian Wells 2023: Shelby Rogers breezes past compatriot Katie Volynets in first round

"Two Americans, she definitely has a very bright future, and unfortunately only one of us could win today," Rogers said on court after her win.

Shelby Rogers in a file photo. (Image: Twitter/Shelby Rogers)
By Nilavro Ghosh | Mar 9, 2023 | 2 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Shelby Rogers defeated fellow American Katie Volynets 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 on Wednesday in Indian Wells to become the first WTA champion on Stadium 1 at the 2023 BNP Paribas Open. Rising 21-year-old Volynets, who last weekend made her first WTA semifinal in Austin and is ranked at a career-high No. 74, took 2 hours and 20 minutes to defeat world No. 41 Rogers, who reached the Indian Wells quarterfinals two years ago. “Two Americans, she definitely has a very bright future, and unfortunately only one of us could win today,” Rogers said on court after her win. “She’s one of the nicest girls I’ve met on tour, and I look forward to seeing her more.”

The first WTA main-draw victory of Volynets’ career came at 2020 Acapulco, but Rogers avenged that defeat on Wednesday and now leads their head-to-head series 2-1. In the final game of the first set, Rogers broke Volynets to love after coming back from a 3-1 deficit to take the lead in the match. However, in the second set, Volynets broke Rogers with a strong forehand return for a 3-2 lead. From that point on, Volynets held on to tie the match at one set each.

Read More – Indian Wells 2023: Brandon Nakashima ousts John Isner, sets up Daniil Medvedev date

However, Rogers persevered through the final stretch of the third set to secure the victory after an early exchange of breaks. In the end, Rogers had 30 winners to Volynets’ 12, and she only committed two more unforced errors than her younger countrywoman. “I think in the third set, I served a little bit better, just tried to work the point a little bit more, not end it too soon, and stay in there as long as I could,” Rogers said.

Nakashima victorious against Isner

Brandon Nakashima defeated John Isner 7-6(7), 6-3 on Wednesday at the BNP Paribas Open first round. He now faces fifth seed Daniil Medvedev. The 21-year-old American, who won the opening round at Indian Wells in 2021 and 2022, saved one set point in the first-set tie-break before putting on a strong defensive performance to thwart his big-serving countryman’s attack in the second set. When returning the first serve, Nakashima took a position far behind the baseline. However, when Isner delivered his second serve, the Japanese-American player looked to attack and timed the ball well to win 56% of the points on Isner’s serves.

“You know you are going to get some opportunities out there,” Nakashima said. “You know he is going to hit some big bombs once in a while. But you always go into it knowning you will have some opportunities. You just got to see them when they come and capitalise on them. This tournament is one of the tournaments I used to always to come to as a kid. It is super nice to feel at home here and have all my family and friends come out in support.”

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