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Tennis: Rogers stuns Serena at Top Seed Open

August 15, 2020 10:17 IST
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Shelby Rogers plays a forehand during her match against Serena Williams during Top Seed Open at the Top Seed Tennis Club in Lexington on Friday

IMAGE: Shelby Rogers plays a forehand during her match against Serena Williams during Top Seed Open at the Top Seed Tennis Club in Lexington on Friday. Photograph: Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Shelby Rogers pulled off one of the biggest wins of her career when she toppled Serena Williams 1-6, 6-4, 7-6(5) in the quarter-finals of the Top Seed Open in Lexington on Friday.

It looked like the top seed would make quick work of Rogers in the rain-delayed encounter after romping through the first set in 26 minutes.

But world number 116 Rogers kept her composure and got the better of Williams as the first meeting between the two big hitting Americans turned into a slugfest.


Rogers sealed the win when Williams sent a backhand long on match point.

"It's every kid's dream when they are growing up watching her play and to be able to do something like that," said Rogers, who has yet to get used to the unfamiliar surroundings as the event is being played without any fans in attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Weird circumstances. Weird setting. But a win is a win. I know we're all just happy to be playing."

Next up for Rogers will be Switzerland's Jil Teichman.

Williams was hoping the tournament would help her to get into top form for the U.S. Open, which starts on Aug. 31.

But having been stretched to three sets in all three of her matches this week, the 38-year-old American knows she has plenty of work to do if she is to fulfil her dream of winning that elusive 24th Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows.

"I could play a lot better, I think that's the main thing I can take from this match," Williams said.

"I made it difficult on myself by making a plethora of unforced errors."

In the other quarter-final of the day, 16-year-old Coco Gauff battled back to defeat Tunisian Ons Jabeur 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 and will next face fellow American Jennifer Brady.

Halep finds groove to reach Prague semi-finals

Simona Halep said she was slowly returning to her best form following the COVID-19 hiatus as she cruised past Poland's Magdalena Frech 6-2, 6-0 on Friday to reach the Prague Open semi-finals.

World number two Halep made a rusty start to the claycourt tournament and needed three sets to win each of her first two matches against Polona Hercog and Barbora Krejcikova.

But the 28-year-old showed no signs of rust as she dominated the last seven games against 174th-ranked Frech to seal the victory in style.

"I felt better on court today. The fact that she was not hitting very strong meant that I had time to play my game, to be more aggressive," Halep told reporters.

"I did better than previous days. But those days helped me to find the rhythm and the energy on court. I recovered well... I moved better, was more aggressive... that helped me to finish the points, to get the confidence back.

"Even if I'm not yet at my highest level, I'm improving, which is good. I'm happy about it... I don't feel insecure on court. I feel that my game is going to be there soon. I just have to work a little bit more."

Two-times Grand Slam champion Halep next takes on compatriot Irina-Camelia Begu or Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo.

Begu had won the opening set of her match against Tormo when rain suspended play.

Earlier, third seed Elise Mertens reached the last-four by beating Canadian wildcard Eugenie Bouchard 6-4, 1-6, 6-4.

She next plays Kristyna Pliskova, who advanced after Ana Bogdan retired due to an injury while leading 5-2 in the first set of their quarter-final.

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IPL 2020

IPL 2020