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US player Shelby Rogers celebrates her win over Australia's Ashleigh Barty during their 2021 US Open women's singles third round match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York. Image Credit: AFP

New York: Shelby Rogers keeps a journal that she fills with observations on her opponents and the lessons she has learned each time she loses to them. With an 0-5 career record against world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, Rogers had opportunities to compile a lot of detailed notes on the hard-hitting Australian.

“Half my book is on Ash at this point,” Rogers said. “It’s the same thing. She doesn’t miss a ball.”

Rogers can add a new and more pleasant chapter to her journal. Ranked No. 43 in the world and the last American woman standing in the U.S. Open draw as third-round play wrapped up, the 28-year-old from Charleston, S.C., surprised Barty and the tennis world by rallying from 2-5 in the third set for a 6-1, 1-6, 7-6 (5) victory last night before a raucous crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Off her game

“Gosh, that was really something special. I got chills out there on the court,” Rogers said. “I don’t know if that’s normal when you’re playing a tennis match, but it happened. I will never forget that moment.”

Barty, this year’s Wimbledon champion, clearly was off her game yesterday and was especially erratic on her serve, committing eight double faults and serving only six aces. She committed 39 unforced errors and hit 37 winners; Rogers hit 18 winners and made only 20 unforced errors.

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Wimbledon champion Barty held a 5-2 lead in the final set and twice served for the match but home favourite Rogers battled her way back into contention.

But Rogers put Barty off balance from the start on a court that plays slow at night, dialing back her usual aggression and showing patience against Barty’s trademark slice. The notes she had taken helped her realize she had to change her tactics from their previous five matchups or the result would be the same — another loss and more long entries in her journal.

“I think what I’ve learned most from her is that she’s No. 1 for a reason,” Rogers said. . “It was going to take everything I had tonight to beat her. I gave everything I had and got the win. That’s what it comes down to.”

Barty, ever gracious, praised Rogers’ clutch play in the third set.

Bad points

“At the 5-4 game, we played some long points. I mean, I didn’t play too many bad points. Shelby came up with some really good stuff when it mattered most,” Barty said.

“A forehand lob, 30-all, you tip your hat and say, ‘Too good.’ I think there are a few things tonight I’m happy to accept. There are some things I’m disappointed in, without a doubt.

“In the end I just didn’t quite have enough in the tank. I’ve left everything out on the court this year. It was no different tonight. I just didn’t quite have enough to get over the line, which is disappointing but we move on. I sleep well tonight knowing I gave everything I could; it just wasn’t quite enough.”

Rogers credited the crowd for carrying her over the finish line.

“I would go to say they’re probably the reason I won tonight, to be honest. I mean, my tactics, sure, were great, but they gave me something that I wouldn’t have probably been able to bring out of myself, so I’m super thankful for that,” she said.