Charleston’s Shelby Rogers has made it into quarter-finals of MUSC Health Open with a straight sets win over fellow American Claire Liu, while Clara Tauson upset Ajla Tomljanovic to also advance.
This event is obviously a little smaller. But no match is easy, and you have to take every match just as seriously. My preparation is the same, and I’m just trying to stay in that same routine. Shelby Rogers
It is the second quarter-final appearance in as many weeks for Rogers after she defeated qualifier Liu, 6-2 6-2 on Wednesday, following up her third-round appearance in the Volvo Car Open last week, also held on Daniel Island.
Rogers, ranked a career-best No 46 on the WTA Tour, will face red-hot Danka Kovinic in the quarters after the of Montenegrin took 3 sets to get past No 7 seed Lauren Davis from the US.
“I think I was due for a couple of tame matches,” said Rogers, who easily won in the first round over fellow American Catherine McNally. “I’ve had quite a few mental battles over the last couple of months, so it’s been nice to just take care of business in straight sets, get in and get out.
“Today it was a little tricky, a little windy out there,” added Rogers, who lost to World No 1 Ash Barty in the Volvo Car Open.
“But after playing last week, when I was playing the No 1 player in the world, I came into this week with a little bit of momentum.
“I think I had a good level last week, even though I didn’t get as far as I wanted.”
The other two seeded players who took the court on Wednesday were eliminated, with 6th seed Tomljanovic upset by 18-year Tauson from Denmark, 6-1 6-4, after 97 minutes in the first ever meeting between the two; and 7th seed Davis falling to Kovinic 6-1, 1-6, 6-3.
Tauson was the 2019 Australian Open junior champion and won her first WTA title in Lyon earlier this year.
The teenager saved 9 of 10 break points in the process and awaits the winner of the second-round match between American Christina McHale and Colombia’s Maria Osorio Serrano, who play on Thursday, while Kovinic faces Rogers in the quarters on Friday.
Kovinic, 26, rose from No 91 to No 65 in the rankings after making the finals of the Volvo Car Open last weekend.
“Every tournament, you have to beat the best players to win it,” Rogers said. “She’s definitely playing with a lot of confidence right now, and it’s great to see her back on tour and having a lot of success after being off for a while.
“It’s going to be a battle, and we both have a day off tomorrow and will be ready for battle.”
Elsewhere, Japan’s Nao Hibino beat American Francesco Di Lorenzo, 6-4 6-3, and will play either top seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia or Alycia Parks.
Action continues on Thursday on Daniel Island with Jabeur taking on the American qualifier, and Lowcountry native 19-year old Emma Navarro goes up against 15-year old Linda Fruhvirtova, a fellow wild card from the Czech Republic.
Fruhvirtova is the youngest player in the WTA Top 500.
Another young gun is Osorio Serrano, who at the age of 19 is ranked 135 after her title-winning week in Bogotá, only her fourth WTA main-draw appearance, defeating 2 Top 100 players in Tamara Zidansek and Tereza Martincova to leap 45 spots.
After getting into Charleston on a special exemption, she surprised No 2 seed Magda Linette, ranked 51, in the first round.
“It’s been really crazy for me,” Osorio Serrano said. “Was my first title [on Sunday] and I can’t describe the feeling.
“I was a little bit tired when I started hitting [in Charleston]. I just can’t believe that I’m doing this well.”
Osorio Serrano loves the versatile games of Barty and Bianca Andreescu.
“Barty, she has everything,” Osorio Serrano said. “Great shots, can hit slice, hit drops, high ball is amazing. I just love watching her play.
“Bianca, she has a lot of high spirit. She’s never going to give up. I hope I can also do that in matches.”
The MUSC Women’s Health Open is a late addition to the WTA Tour calendar after the Billie Jean King Cup Final set for this week was cancelled.
Volvo Car Open tournament director Bob Moran and owner Ben Navarro agreed to stage a second event, a WTA 250 event with a 32-player draw, in Charleston to fill the gap.
“This event is obviously a little smaller,” said Rogers, seeking her first WTA Tour singles title. “But no match is easy, and you have to take every match just as seriously.
“My preparation is the same, and I’m just trying to stay in that same routine.”