Rogers moves on to play 24th-seeded Jelena Ostapenko, who upset second seed Iga Swiatek of Poland in straight sets. — Reuters pic
INDIAN WELLS, Oct 13 — Unseeded Shelby Rogers upset US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez in a marathon three-setter at the WTA Indian Wells on Tuesday in what has been a bruising start of the week for the women seeds.
Rogers outlasted Canadian teenager Fernandez 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7/4) in two hours and 34 minutes to reach the quarter-finals of the combined women’s and men’s tournament in the California desert.
“It was a matter of who was able to dictate the points,” Rogers said. “Who could get control of the points first.
“She has a bright future. Luck was on my side today, and I look forward to the quarter-finals.”
Rogers moves on to play 24th-seeded Jelena Ostapenko, who upset second seed Iga Swiatek of Poland in straight sets.
After they split the first two sets, Rogers hit a backhand winner to break a 4-4 deadlock in the tiebreaker then won the next two points to clinch the match.
The 23rd-seeded Fernandez held serve in a lengthy 12th game of the third set to set up the tiebreaker. She saw off one match point and then got a lucky bounce off the net cord to get the advantage. Fernandez went on to win the game on the next point when Rogers hit a backhand into the net.
Swiatek became the latest top seed casualty, losing in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 to Latvia’s Ostapenko in a fourth round match.
Ostapenko won 65 percent of her first serve points and broke Swiatek’s serve four times in in the 93 minute match.
Swiatek’s ouster comes one day after No. 1 seed Karolina Pliskova and defending champion Bianca Andreescu were bundled out of the tournament in their third round matches.
Canadian Andreescu’s elimination means there will be no repeat champion in Indian Wells.
Swiatek’s exit, combined with fourth seeded Elina Svitolina’s crushing 6-1, 6-1 defeat to American Jessica Pegula, leaves just two women remaining who are seeded in the top 10, Barbora Krejcikova (No. 3) and Angelique Kerber (No. 10) of Germany.
Reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu was eliminated earlier in her first match of the tournament.
The combined WTA and ATP event is normally held in Indian Wells in March but returned this fall after a two-and-a -half-year hiatus due the global coronavirus pandemic. There was no tournament in 2020 and the 2021 event was delayed to this month. — AFP