Shelby Rogers avoids another teenage exit to advance at Indian Wells
Shelby Rogers rallied to claim a steely 2-6 6-1 7-6 (4) victory over Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez on Tuesday to move into the quarter-finals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
Never before past the second round in five previous visits to Indian Wells, Rogers, who turns 29 on Wednesday, gave herself an early birthday present reaching the last eight where she will take on Latvian 24th seed Jelena Ostapenko.
“That was an incredible match,” said Rogers. “She (Fernandez) has had such an incredible season and she’s such a sweet girl, I’ve gotten to know her a little bit.
“It was really about who was dictating the points today, who could get control of the points first.
“When she gets a good look at a ball it’s very tough, her forehand was incredible today.”
After falling to 18-year-old U.S. Open winner Emma Raducanu in the round of 16 at Flushing Meadows, Rogers was determined not to be shown the Indian Wells exit by another teenager Fernandez, who had her own magical run in New York getting to her first grand slam final.
After a win over ninth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the third round Fernandez hinted at another fairytale run in the Southern California desert but it proved a mirage.
The 19-year-old Canadian had been poised for a romp breaking Rogers to go up 4-1 and then again to close out the opening set.
But Fernandez was unable to carry that momentum into the second as Rogers took charge breaking the 23rd seed three-times on way to a 5-0 lead and leveling the contest.
The third set began with the two players trading breaks but afterwards Fernandez and Rogers would not falter sending the contest to a tie-break won 7-4 by the American.
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