Shelby Rogers, the grande dame of tennis in the Lowcountry, came oh-so close to winning her first WTA title last weekend when she competed in the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, California.
Rogers reached her first WTA final in six years and took command of Sunday’s championship match against Russia’s Daria Kasatkina, winning the first set 7-6. But that’s when Rogers’ magical week on the hardcourts began to unravel.
The 25-year-old Kasatkina ended Rogers’ spectacular run by rallying to post a 6-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory to gain her fourth WTA title and move up to World No. 9.
Still, there was plenty to celebrate in a week in which Rogers defeated No. 1 seed and World No. 5 Maria Sakkari along with Bianca Andreescu, Amanda Anisimova and Veronika Kudermetova without losing a set until the championship.
Rogers was spectacular in San Jose. She also was eager to thank those who supported her.
“Thank you San Jose,” Rogers posted on Instagram. “I gave it my all. Some really special memories were made this week (at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic). I am beyond grateful for the support and appreciate everyone that made this incredible event a success. I wouldn’t be here without the long list of people who believe in me and push me every day. We’ll be back for the bigger trophy.”
Rogers defeated World No. 9 seed Kudermetova in last Saturday’s semifinal. Rogers trailed Kudermetova 4-3 in the second set before breaking serve two times and won three consecutive games to gain a berth in the finals.
It was Rogers’ first finals appearance since Rio de Janeiro in 2016. She also reached the finals of Bad Gastien in 2014.
The Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic was co-founded by Billie Jean King in 1971. It is the longest-running women-only professional tennis tournament in the world. It is the first women’s stop on the U.S. Open Series and featured a 28-player singles draw.
Rogers had a hefty payday and earned the World No. 30 ranking, her highest rung on the WTA rankings ladder in her 13-year professional career. More importantly, she gained momentum and confidence in the final stages of the summer hardcourts tour, which concludes with the U.S. Open, set to begin Aug. 29 with the championship on Sept. 11.
Rogers had one of her more memorable experiences at the 2020 U.S Open in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, New York. Just two years after undergoing knee surgery, Rogers won the hearts of the fans, if not the tourney.
Rogers pulled off one of the more stunning and most suspenseful victories of the U.S. Open in 2020, knocking off No. 6 seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-6(6), to reach the quarterfinals for the first time in her career.
Rogers, who turns 30 in October, owns a 16-16 record this year after her effort in San Jose and has won $631,782 on the tour. Career-wise, Rogers is 285-234 and has earned more than $4.7 million.