Serena Williams has performed 967 tour-level singles matches as knowledgeable, with simply 4 losses in opposition to opponents ranked outdoors the highest 100 — and none in eight years.
Effectively, it’s time so as to add to that listing: Williams was overwhelmed by No. 116 Shelby Rogers 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5) within the High Seed Open quarterfinals.
“It’s good to know,” Williams mentioned, “I can play rather a lot, lot, lot higher.” She’ll need to accomplish that quickly: The U.S. Open begins Aug. 31.
Rogers, who’s from South Carolina, took six of the final eight factors Friday after trailing 3-1 within the tiebreaker to gather solely her third profession victory over a top-10 opponent.
She additionally reached her first WTA semifinal since 2016. Have to go even additional again within the document books to seek out this form of match exit for former No. 1 Williams: The proprietor of 23 Grand Slam singles titles hadn’t bowed out in opposition to somebody so low within the rankings since No. 111 Virginie Razzano surprised her on the 2012 French Open.
Shortly after that, Williams teamed up with coach Patrick Mouratoglou, who nonetheless works along with her and was among the many few individuals within the stands Friday — followers should not allowed on the first tennis match within the U.S. because the outset of the coronavirus pandemic.
It had occurred solely three different occasions, together with in qualifying at Quebec Metropolis all the best way again in 1995, when Williams was making her skilled debut at age 14. Now she’s 38; Rogers is 27.
“It’s each child’s dream once they’re rising up, watching her play, to have the ability to do one thing like that,” Rogers mentioned. “Bizarre circumstances, bizarre setting, however a win is a win and I do know we’re all simply joyful to be again enjoying.”
Later Friday, 16-year-old American Coco Gauff reached her second WTA semifinal with fairly a comeback. One level from trailing by a set and two breaks, Gauff gained 10 of the final 11 video games to eradicate No. eight seed Ons Jabeur 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.
Gauff was down 4-2 within the second set and going through a break level, however Jabeur sailed a backhand lengthy. That was sufficient to let Gauff again into the match and he or she quickly took full management.
Within the semifinals, Gauff will meet Jennifer Brady, who superior by beating Marie Bouzkova 6-1, 6-2.
Rogers faces Jil Teichmann of Switzerland on Saturday. Teichmann wanted seven match factors to succeed in the primary hard-court semifinal of her profession with a 6-2, 6-Four victory over CiCi Bellis.
The loss to Rogers was the third consecutive three-setter for Williams on the hard-court High Seed Open. She dropped the opening set of every of the others earlier than coming again to win, together with in opposition to older sister Venus within the second spherical.
On Friday, beginning after a rain delay of greater than two hours, Williams appeared on the best way to a a lot easier victory. She by no means confronted a break level till serving whereas trailing 5-Four within the second set.
That’s when issues shifted.
Rogers earned three break factors — each a set level — and transformed the third when Williams dumped a forehand into the web.
There have been no breaks within the third set, and after Williams took the early lead within the tiebreaker, she was her personal undoing with miss after miss, together with a protracted backhand return to finish it.
“I type of made it troublesome for myself by making a plethora of unforced errors,” Williams mentioned.
With social-distancing guidelines in place, the gamers didn’t meet on the web for the customary post-match handshake. As they headed to their sideline seats, Williams smiled. Rogers merely sat down and shortly shook a fist.