US Open: Barty exits in third round
World No.1 Ash Barty exits to Shelby Rogers in a marathon third round at the US Open.
All the numbers were on Ash Barty’s side as she entered the US Open third round against Shelby Rogers – the world No.1 had won 14 of her past 15 matches and held a 5-0 match-winning record against the American, four of those victories achieved this year.
But success is something the endlessly humble Barty never takes for granted and after a tremendous battle on Arthur Ashe Stadium, it was Rogers who emerged with a 6-2 1-6 7-6(5) win.
“It’s a tough one to swallow,” Barty admitted after leading 5-2 in the third set and twice serving for the match.
“But it is what it is tonight. I found a way back into my match. I found a way to really turn it in my favour and just wasn’t able to just quite finish off.
“It’s disappointing but we’ll move on.”
Serving a total 22 aces in her first two matches this year at Flushing Meadows, another service statistic was telling for Barty in the early stages against Rogers, who was a US Open quarterfinalist last year.
The world No.1 opened the match with a double fault and registered five in total in her first two service games. Combined with 17 unforced errors, compared to only three from the efficient Rogers, the world No.43 secured a double break of serve and after 32 minutes, the first set.
“It was my first experience kind of playing at night there. It does make a pretty dramatic difference,” Barty related.
“Credit to Shelby. She was able to adjust to those conditions a lot quicker than I did.
“I played a pretty awful first set in the sense where I was erratic. I couldn’t quite find the rhythm of how I wanted to play.”
At the first sign of a dip from Rogers, however, Barty pounced. The world No.1 seized her first break point with a stunning forehand winner in the fourth game of the second set.
An animated celebration signalled an energy shift for Barty, who quickly closed out the set. Recording just a single double fault in the 33-minute stanza, the Australian had also found her range with 13 winners and only seven unforced errors.
Momentum remained on Barty’s side as she claimed her third consecutive service break in the opening game of the third set. She secured another important break of serve in the seventh game.
But buoyed by a supportive Arthur Ashe audience, a determined Rogers rallied. Barty served for the match at 5-2 and 5-4 but was broken on each occasion.
The American won four straight games before Barty held serve to force a tiebreak, Rogers eventually triumphing after two hours and eight minutes on court.
While Barty recorded an impressive 37 winners, some of her 39 unforced errors came at the most important times.
“I’m not sure I can (explain it). I just tried to fight for every point,” said Rogers, who recorded her first victory over a reigning world No.1.
“I just said ‘make balls, try to stay in this match. It can’t get any worse, you’ve lost to her every time’.”
The last American remaining in the women’s singles draw at Flushing Meadows, Rogers credited her ability to stay in the point as a factor in the win.
After overcoming a familiar opponent in Barty, the American now faces a less familiar one in a Emma Raducanu.
The 18-year-old Brit lit up Wimbledon by progressing to the fourth round as a wildcard and has carried that impressive form into a first US Open appearance.
After qualifying, the 150th-ranked teenager won her first three main draw matches with the loss of just 12 games. She defeated Sara Torribes Tormo, ranked 109 places higher, 6-0 6-1 in the third round.
Barty was the last remaining Australian in the singles draw at Flushing Meadows, with Ajla Tomljanovic earlier exiting to Karolina Pliskova in straight sets.
Barty is yet to determine her exact schedule moving forward, but confirmed she will contest Indian Wells early next month.
The world No.1 will do so with perspective gained from a stellar 2021 season.
“You can’t win every single tennis match that you play,” said Barty, whose tour-leading five titles this season include her second Grand Slam at Wimbledon.
“I’m proud of myself and my team for all the efforts we’ve put in in the last six months. It’s been pretty incredible. I don’t think we could have asked for much more honestly. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Aussies in action – US Open
Women’s singles, third round
Shelby Rogers (USA) d  Ash Barty (AUS) 6-2 1-6 7-6(5)
 Karolina Pliskova (CZE) d Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-3 6-2
Women’s doubles, second round
 Storm Sanders (AUS)/Caroline Dolehide (USA) d Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU)/Andreea Mitu (ROU) 6-0 6-1
Mixed doubles, first round
[Alt] Ellen Perez (AUS)/Marcelo Demoliner (BRA) d [WC] Madison Keys (USA)/Bjorn Fratangelo (USA) 6-4 6-3
Mixed doubles, second round
[Alt] Dayana Yastremska (UKR)/Max Purcell (AUS) d Gabriela Dabrowski (CAN)/Marcus Daniell (NZL) 6-3 6-3
Women’s doubles, second round
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS)/Andrea Petkovic (GER) v  Nadiia Kichenok (UKR)/Raluca Olaru (ROU)