Shelby Rogers was the first WTA winner on Stadium 1 at the 2023 BNP Paribas Open, outlasting fellow American Katie Volynets 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 in Indian Wells on Wednesday.
The World No.41 Rogers reached the Indian Wells quarterfinals two years ago. She needed 2 hours and 20 minutes to halt the rising 21-year-old Volynets, who reached her first WTA semifinal last weekend in Austin and is ranked at a career-high No.74.
Volynets had beaten Rogers at 2020 Acapulco to score the first WTA main-draw win of her career, but Rogers avenged that loss on Wednesday and now leads their head-to-head 2-1.
"Two Americans, she definitely has a very bright future, and unfortunately only one of us could win today," Rogers said on court after her win. "She’s one of the nicest girls I’ve met on tour, and I look forward to seeing her more."
Finishing strong 💪@Shelby_Rogers_ hangs tough to prevail 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 in an all-🇺🇸 clash with Volynets.@BNPPARIBASOPEN | #TennisParadise pic.twitter.com/leo6bRXZ3e— wta (@WTA) March 9, 2023
Rogers battled back from 3-1 down to grab the one-set lead, breaking Volynets to love in the last game of the opener. But in the second set, Volynets used a sturdy forehand return to break Rogers for 3-2, and Volynets held on from there to level the match at one set apiece.
But after an early exchange of breaks in the third set, Rogers powered through the latter stages of the decider to collect the win. Rogers finished the match with 30 winners to Volynets’ 12, while Rogers also hit only two more unforced errors than her compatriot.
“I think in the third set, I served a little bit better, just tried to work the point a little bit more, not end it too soon, and stay in there as long as I could," Rogers said.
With the win, Rogers lines up a second-round matchup against No.7 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece, who made the Indian Wells final last season. Rogers has a commanding 3-0 lead in their rivalry, including two victories last year.
Czech teens prevail: Meanwhile, Wednesday went perfectly for the burgeoning group of Czech teenagers, with both Linda Fruhvirtova and Linda Noskova picking up first-round wins.
The 17-year-old Fruhvirtova, who made her first Grand Slam Round of 16 at this year’s Australian Open, came back from a first-set rout to defeat Egypt’s Mayar Sherif 0-6, 6-2, 6-3.
The World No.53 Fruhvirtova was also down a break at 3-2 in the third set, but she reeled off four games in succession from there to advance to the Indian Wells second round for the first time.
In the second round, Fruhvirtova will take on No.27 seed Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine for the first time. The winner of that match will face the winner of the Rogers-Sakkari match in the third round.
The 18-year-old Noskova, ranked one spot below her compatriot Fruhvirtova at World No.54, garnered a 7-6(7), 6-1 victory over Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania.
More Day 1 highlights: Noskova d. Begu | Rodina d. Cornet | Wang Xinyu d. Mertens | Bucsa d. Swan | Mandlik d. Riske-Amritraj | Peterson d. Kostyuk
Noskova, who made her first WTA singles final at Adelaide in January, needed over an hour to grind out the first set from 3-1 down, saving one set point in the tiebreak. Following that, she rolled to a quick 5-0 lead in the second set en route to her first match-win at Indian Wells.
Noskova will next face No.31 seed Amanda Anisimova of the United States in the second round. It will be their first meeting.