MELBOURNE – American Shelby Rogers provided the earliest shock of Australian Open 2017 on Monday after she upset No. 4 seed Simona Halep of Romania.
Rogers, who is ranked No. 52 in the world, picked up a 6-3 6-1 win over the fourth-seeded Halep, who was crashing out of the season-opening grand slam in the first round for the second consecutive year.
The Romanian two-time Australian Open quarterfinalist also lost in the first round last year, going out to Zhang Shuai, who was a Chinese qualifier.
Halep had won their only previous meeting with Rogers at the 2015 US Open, but the American reversed the result with almost the exact same scoreline.
After losing the first set, the Romanian star sought medical help from the trainer for her left knee but was cleared to continue.
However, it was evident the 25-year-old wasn’t comfortable enough to play at her best, as she was visibly noticed favouring her left knee throughout the rest of the contest.
She revealed afterwards: “I have tendinitis. The tendon (on the left knee).
“No, no, surgery. Not that bad. I need MRI again, and just maybe take some rest and physiotherapy from canadian physiotherapy office to get it well. “Can be, but I’m not sure now… But, yeah, probably need some time off to get it well, recovered, because it’s difficult to play with the pain, and the knees are dangerous.
“So I have to take care.”
Rogers was delighted with her victory, but wasn’t prepared to get too carried away as she still feels she needs to work on a few things to left her overall performance.
“I think I played great today, trying to be aggressive going out there,” she said.
“My game plan worked: Just move forward, hit your shots, be really aggressive. When I’m doing that, I’m playing well.”
At the same time, though, the 24-year-old American revealed that she’s convinced herself that she can play with the top tennis players in the world.
“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,” she added.
“Little things here and there I need to work on, but I’m here. I need to believe in myself.”
Rogers will face the winner of the clash between Ash Barty of Australia and German Annika Beck in the Australian Open 2017 second round.