No.3 seed Caroline Wozniacki kept her dream of a title defense alive with a hard-fought win over Shelby Rogers in Tokyo, becoming the first woman to hit 50 match wins in 2017.
WTA Staff
September 21, 2017

TOKYO, Japan - Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki was down but never out of her opening match at the Toray Pan Pacific Open on Thursday, as the No.3 seed ran off six of the last seven games to defeat American Shelby Rogers, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, winning her 50th match of 2017.

Down 3-0 in the final set, Wozniacki won 30 of the final 37 points to deny Rogers the upset, reach the last eight in Tokyo for the sixth straight year, and record her 50th match win of the season.

"I know she has powerful strokes and a big serve, so it definitely wasn't easy," Wozniacki said after the match.

"It was a tough match -- she played aggressive, and I'm just happy I managed to win in the end."

The upset-minded Rogers took advantage of a patchy start from Wozniacki in the opening set, as she broke serve twice to build a one-set lead in the third career meeting between the two players.

The 10th game proved to be crucial in the American's bid to move ahead, as Wozniacki built a 0-40 lead as she looked to draw level, only to see the World No.59 win five points in succession to clinch the opener.

Though both women struck 12 unforced errors in the opening set, Rogers was firing from the ground, particularly off the forehand, to the tune of 13 winners. Wozniacki, conversely, only totaled five winners towards her cause in the first 10 games.

However, the Dane quickly righted the ship as Rogers' level wavered with a dominant showing the second set, in which she never faced a break point and dropped just five points on serve.

The 27-year-old's sparkling statistics on serve in the middle set were on full display in the seventh game, as she leveled the match with aplomb and recorded a hold to 15, with two consecutive aces.

Nonetheless, Rogers looked on course to score her second win over Wozniacki this season in the final set, having also taken a win via retirement on the red clay of Strasbourg prior to the French Open.

Rogers edged out two holds past deuce around a love break to take the first three games, but slowly ran out of steam as the decider progressed to fall in just over two hours of play.

The Dane will face the winner of Thursday's last match between Dominika Cibulkova and Katerina Siniakova for a spot in the semifinals.