US Open 2021: Shelby Rogers stuns top-seeded Ashleigh Barty

Shelby Rogers toppled top-seeded Ashleigh Barty, 6-2, 1-6, 7-6, in Arthur Ashe Stadium to earn her first career victory over a reigning world No. 1.

American Shelby Rogers beat world No.1 Ashleigh Bart in the third round of US Open 2021; Credit: Twitter/@usopen

World No.1 Ashleigh Barty was defeated by American Shelby Rogers 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (7/5) in a US Open third-round match on Saturday. Barty was clearly off her game as she committed eight double faults and served only six aces. Rogers hit 18 winners and made only 20 unforced errors. Wimbledon champion Barty held a 5-2 lead in the final set and twice served for the match but Rogers battled her way back into contention. The home favourite then battled through the resulting tie-break to stun the top seed. She will next face British teenager Emma Raducanu in the round of 16.

“I am not sure I can explain it, I just tried to fight for every point. I didn’t want to leave, I just said make balls, try and stay in the match. I tweeted yesterday that the ground is next level this year. They pick a winner and go for it. Thank you for picking me. You guys are in control of the tournament. I am so excited to be moving on to the next round,” said Rogers.

Barty had done all the hard work fighting her way back after conceding the first set, but her form once again deserted her as she served for a place in the last 16. Despite having a double break cushion, the Australian looked nervous as she served for the match, and netted a forehand which handed Rogers the break.

The American fended off Barty in her own service game from 30-30, and then the home favourite quickly created another breakpoint opportunity in the next. Although a trademark forehand kept Barty in the game, Rogers out of nowhere lifted her game to the next level and clawed her way to 5-5.

Both players missed routine shots during the tie-break as they hurried things but Barty blinked first. The Australian couldn’t find her form, as she finished the match with 17 unforced errors compared to just seven winners.

Chance of a third Grand Slam title passes by

This defeat in New York is another disappointment as the chance of a third Grand Slam title passes by, but the 25-year-old was ok about it.

“I just didn’t quite have enough physically or mentally in the tank. But that’s OK. We’ve had a great year so far. We’re looking forward to celebrating the good stuff that we’ve done, learning from the hurt, learning from the experiences, and moving on,” said Barty.

“I mean, the last six months have been a roller coaster. Think back to the very first match that I played on this trip. I was 5-2 down in the third set in the first round of Miami. Tennis has a funny way of evening things out, doesn’t it? I’m proud of myself and my team for all the efforts we’ve put in in the last six months. It’s been pretty incredible. I don’t think we could have asked for much more honestly. I wouldn’t change a thing,” she added.

“With all of the tough moments that we have had, it’s created some of the most enjoyable experiences. I’ve learnt so much about myself, about them, the way that we work together. It’s been truly an incredible six months,” concluded Barty.

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