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Rogers upsets Halep to headline strong U.S. Day 1 at the Australian Open

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 16: Shelby Rogers of the United States celebrates winning her first round match against Simona Halep of Romania on day one of the 2017 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 16, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
January 16, 2017 08:04 AM

By E.J. Crawford, USTA.com

Shelby Rogers wasted no time making her mark on the 2017 Australian Open, leading a standout Day 1 for Americans in Melbourne.

In the first match on opening day in Rod Laver Arena, the main stadium at Melbourne Park, the 24-year-old South Carolinian dispatched No. 4 seed Simona Halep, 6-3, 6-1, sending one of the pre-tournament favorites to a stunningly early exit.

Rogers faced only one break point in the match, which she saved, and broke the Romanian four times en route to the victory. The American dictated play throughout, finishing with 26 winners and 22 unforced errors.

Rogers entered the Australian Open ranked No. 52 in the world, just shy of her career-high rank of No. 49. That was achieved last year following her surprise run to the quarterfinals of the French Open, where she upset Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova before falling to eventual champion Garbiñe Muguruza.

Rogers wasn't the only U.S. woman to register a Day 1 upset, however, as CoCo Vandewghe topped No. 15 Roberta Vinci, 6-1, 7-6, and Varvara Lepchenko defeated No. 19 seed Kiki Bertens, 7-5, 7-6.

The U.S. boasted 34 total players in the singles main draws in Melbourne, the most of any country, and 20 of those were in action on opening day – with 13 advancing to the second round.

Among them was No. 13 seed Venus Williams, who fought off a spirited challenge from Kateryna Kozlova, 7-6, 7-5, and a trio of seeded American men: No. 19 John Isner, who beat Konstantin Kravchuk, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7, 6-1; No. 23 Jack Sock, who defeated Pierre-Hugues Herbert, 6-4, 7-6, 6-3; and No. 31 Sam Querrey, who got past Quentin Halys, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 6-4.

The large contingent of Americans in action inevitably resulted in a few all-U.S. affairs. In those encounters, Samantha Crawford defeated recently crowned Auckland champion Lauren Davis in three sets and Shenzen finalist Alison Riske ousted Madison Brengle in a tough two-setter, 7-5, 6-3, in women’s play. In men’s action, 20-year-old Noah Rubin outlasted 23-year-old Bjorn Fratangelo, 6-7, 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Also advancing on Day 1 were Julia Boserup, who defeated former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone in straight sets; Steve Johnson, who took out Argentine Davis Cup hero Frederico Delbonis in a surprisingly routine three-setter; and Ryan Harrison, who posted a straight-sets victory over Frenchman Nicolas Mahut.

 

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