Shelby Rogers Upsets No. 1 Seed Ash Barty in 3 Sets in 4th Round Of 2021 U.S. Open

Blake SchusterContributor ISeptember 5, 2021

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 04: Ashleigh Barty of Australia congratulates Shelby Rogers of the United States after Rogers defeated her in 3 sets during her Women’s Singles third round match on Day Six of the 2021 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 04, 2021 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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One night after defending U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka suffered a stunning defeat at the hands of 18-year-old Leylah Fernandez, No. 1 seed Ash Barty is following her to the exits, falling in three sets to 28-year-old Shelby Rogers. 

The American over-powered Barty in the first set, took a few lumps in the second set and pulled off the upset with a tiebreaker in the third set to win 6-2, 1-6, 7-6(5). 

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Ladies and Gentleman, the last American standing in the women's draw.<br><br>Congratulations <a href="https://twitter.com/Shelby_Rogers_?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Shelby_Rogers_</a> 🇺🇸<a href="https://t.co/WMC1lTi1n1">pic.twitter.com/WMC1lTi1n1</a>

The South Carolina native had never made it past the second round at the U.S. Open before 2021. Now she's into the Round of 16 where a quarterfinal matchup with Emma Raducanu awaits on Monday. 

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American Shelby Rogers knocked No. 1 seed Ashleigh Barty out of the US Open.<br><br>Rogers is the first American woman to beat a World No. 1 in the first week of a major since 1994, when Lori McNeil stunned Steffi Graf at Wimbledon. <a href="https://t.co/Vxis7i33m6">pic.twitter.com/Vxis7i33m6</a>

"It's disappointing," Barty said after the loss. "A tough one to swallow."

It's the first time the Australian hasn't advanced past the third round at the U.S. Open since 2017. In both 2018 and 2019, Barty's run ended in the round of 16. There's no question it's a bitter defeat after winning at Wimbledon earlier this summer. The 25-year-old still needs wins at the U.S. Open and Australian Open to complete a career grand slam after winning the French Open in 2019. 

Rogers won 65 percent of her first serves, 4-of-7 break points and 34 receiving points. Barty's eight double faults only made an upset more probable as the match went on. 

That didn't stop the shock of victory from getting to Rogers once she secured the win—especially after Barty defeated her four previous times this season. 

“I’m not sure I can [explain it],” Rogers said on the court after the win. “I just said make balls try to stay in this match, it can’t get any worse. You’ve lost to her every time. Try something different.”

The difference, she said, was a raucous crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium, which rallied behind Rogers early and helped her continue to push through after dropping the second set. 

“I feel like you guys have picked who you want to win,” Rogers said to the crowd. “So thank you for picking me tonight. You guys are in control of the tournament.”