NEW YORK, NY, USA -- Shelby Rogers moved into the fourth round of her home Grand Slam event for the very first time, as she eased past fellow American Madison Brengle, 6-2, 6-4, at the US Open on Friday.
World No.93 Rogers, whose career-best Grand Slam result is a quarterfinal run at the 2016 French Open, used her power game to perfection as she swept to victory over 84th-ranked Brengle in 68 minutes, leveling their head-to-head at two wins apiece.
"It feels great," Rogers told the press, after her victory. "I’m super happy, and healthy, which is amazing for me. It feels awesome to be back in the second week of a Slam. It’s been a lot of hard work, and a long road, so I’m glad to see that it’s all paying off."
The stellar result is Rogers’s best at a major since her knee surgery in 2018, which kept her completely out of action for a full year before she made a return at her hometown event in Charleston last season. Rogers has yet to drop a set at the US Open this week.
Rogers notched a big upset in the second round, ousting No.11 seed Elena Rybakina to queue up a meeting with her compatriot Brengle. On Friday, Rogers slammed five aces and broke Brengle five times to power her way to the win.
"I just kept telling myself to try to be aggressive, try to take control of the points, but [Brengle] makes that very difficult sometimes," said Rogers. "It’s tough because there’s no surprises out there, we both know each other’s games inside and out."
"She didn’t make it easy on me for sure in the second set," Rogers added. "I’m just happy I could rely on my serve in a couple of tough moments tonight."
Rogers will face No.6 seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic in the round of 16, after Kvitova defeated Rogers's doubles partner Jessica Pegula in straight sets on Friday night. Rogers won her only prior meeting with Kvitova, a 6-0, 6-7(3), 6-0 third-round stunner at the aforementioned 2016 French Open.
Brengle started the match strongly, redirecting the ball into prime positions as she earned an early break and a 2-0 lead. But immediately thereafter, the dominant power-hitting of Rogers reared its head, as she blasted to a love hold to get right back on serve.
That cracked open a run of games for Rogers, who earned a second break for 3-2 after a long backhand miscue by Brengle. After saving two break points en route to a hold for 4-2, Rogers crushed back-to-back forehand winners to close out another close game and take a commanding 5-2 lead.
Serving for the set, a forehand winner down the line led Rogers to set point, which she converted after Brengle found the net with a forehand. Overall, Rogers had 12 winners as she reeled off six straight games in the opening frame, while Brengle could only muster up a single winner in the set.
Rogers kept cruising in the second set, clinching a quick break lead at 2-1. But Brengle refused to yield so soon, and picked off high balls with beautiful backhands as she swiftly earned the break back for 2-2, then consolidated to clinch a 3-2 lead.
As the match wore on, though, the superlative defense and court craft of Brengle was overwhelmed more frequently by the fiery play of Rogers, and the former French Open quarterfinalist reclaimed her break lead to go up 4-3.
At 5-3, Brengle had to stare down three match points on her serve, but she played marvelous all-court points with her back against the wall to wriggle out of that position and hold for 5-4. Rogers nearly stumbled serving for the match, but moved from 0-30 to 40-30 with a series of strong serves to reach her fourth match point, which at last was converted for the win.