Shelby Rogers’ storybook performance at the U.S. Open was slammed shut on Labor Day when Emma Raducanu, an 18 year old from Britain, vanquished Rogers with an easy 6-2, 6-1 victory in the Round of 16 at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City.
Up until Monday’s showdown of unsuspecting heroes, Rogers was the talk of Gotham thanks to a gutsy effort and incredible comeback that resulted in a 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (5) third-round victory over World No. 1 and top-seed Ashleigh Barty, a player who dominated Rogers in past matches up until the Saturday showdown that sent the nighttime crowd at Arthur Ashe into a frenzy.
It was just the opposite the year before when Rogers fell to Naomi Osaka in a quarterfinal that was played in an
empty stadium because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Against Barty, the crowd was rooting for the last American standing.
“The crowd has taken it to another level this year,” she told fans during a postgame interview on the court. “I’m thankful that I couldn’t hear myself breathing as heavily as I did last year in the empty stadium.”
After the monumental rally and victory, it was hard to tell who had more tears: Rogers or her mother Starley.
“Gosh, that was really something special,” Rogers told the crowd as she fought back tears. “I got chills out there on the court. I don’t know if that’s normal when you’re playing a tennis match, but it happened. I will never forget that moment.”
Rogers held court on the court after the big victory, and the first question Rogers was asked was to explain what had just transpired at Arthur Ashe.
“I’m not sure I can,” said Rogers, who collected $265,000 for her time in New York. “I just tried to fight through every point. That’s so cliché. You guys were awesome. I just didn’t want to leave yet.”
For most of the night, it looked like Barty, who won Wimbledon this summer and the French Open in 2019, would send Rogers, the last American standing in the event, to the sidelines.
Rogers broke Barty’s service two times in the first set to take the lead. But for most of the remainder of the match, it was all Barty, who was up 5-2 in the third set and had Rogers on the ropes.
But Rogers showed signs of life and that brought an energy to the crowd, which was 100% behind the 28-year-old Charleston area native, who put on a performance that will be remembered in the Grand Slam World for quite some time.
Rogers’ body language in the seventh game of the third set seemed to be one of resignation. But Barty became unglued with three unforced errors.
The crowd loved it. And the rest is history thanks to the Shelby Shockwave.
“The crowd was next-level,” Rogers said.
Rogers had an impressive Grand Slam season. She reached the fourth round of the Australian Open, and the third rounds of both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. She lost in the first round at Roland Garros.