(January 16, 2017) In the first major upset of the Australian Open on day one, American Shelby Rogers, ranked 52 in the world, knocked out fourth seed Simona Halep of Romania 6-3, 6-1 in Rod Laver Arena on Monday.
For Halep, this was the second straight year and fourth time over the last six years that she’s been ousted in the first round of the Australian Open.
“I think I played great today, trying to be aggressive going out there,” Rogers said. “My game plan worked. Just move forward, hit your shots, be really aggressive. When I’m doing that, I am playing well. Very happy with how I did today.”
“Definitely she played well,” Halep said. “I think she played very high standard. I had pain at my knee.
“For me, in the second set, was difficult to move anymore, but she deserved to win. She was aggressive, and she hit very strong, the balls.”
“I’m never thinking to withdraw a tournament, because it’s not in my inside,” she continued.
“But I tried. I had some anti-inflammatory before the match, and the previous days. But when you have the tension of the match, official match, the pressure, it comes harder.
“So I had harder pain, and I couldn’t do what I wanted.”
Rogers, who made a big breakthrough at a major in 2014, when she reached the last eighth of the French Open, talked about what she took away from that run – “the biggest thing I took away from that was just that I can compete with the top players in the world and I’m good enough, you know. And little things here and there I need to work on, but I’m here. I need to believe in myself, and, yeah.
“So I have definitely carried that away from the French Open and just been enjoying it a little bit, I think. There has been a lot of positive feedback, which has been nice.
“Just trying to keep that going.”
Rogers hit 26 winners, breaking Halep’s serve four times.
“I have had a couple good weeks leading up to Melbourne,” she said. Rogers warmed up for Melbourne by reaching the quarterfinals of Hobart. “I started well in Brisbane and had a couple of good matches in Hobart, as well. It’s nice to feel like you have had some matches already, which is a really nice thing.
“I wasn’t here last year, actually, so it’s extra special for me.”
The 24-year-old Rogers from Charleston, South Carolina, will play the winner of the Ashleigh Barty and Annika Beck match in the second round.
— Shelby Rogers (@Shelby_Rogers_) January 16, 2017