'Taking it for granted': Rival lifts lid on 'insane' Ash Barty act

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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American player Shelby Rogers was quick to praise Ash Barty after recording her first win over the Australian at the US Open.
American player Shelby Rogers praised Ash Barty for her presence and success on the WTA tour this season, after defeating the Australian star at the US Open. Pictures: Getty Images

American tennis star Shelby Rogers has praised Ash Barty for her results over the course of a lengthy 2021 season largely spent on the road.

The 28-year-old Rogers delivered a heartfelt tribute to Barty following her impressive 6-2 1-6 7-6 win over the Australian world No.1 at the US Open on Sunday.

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It was the first time Rogers had defeated Barty, having fallen short the previous four times the pair had faced off.

Rogers advanced to the fourth round of the tournament, where she will face British sensation Emma Raducanu.

In Rogers' post-match press conference though, the American made a point of praising Barty's efforts this season.

The pair shared a warm embrace on the court after the match before meeting once again in the press room, prompting Rogers to open up about Barty's presence on tour and her efforts since hitting the road after the Australian Open back in February.

“She is one of the most professional people I’ve ever met in my life, as well as a good person, a funny individual,” Rogers said. 

“Just refreshing to see. She’s super down-to-earth. I mean, she is one of my favourite people.

“I was joking before, every time I lost to her, I can’t be mad because she’s such a nice person. It’s like ‘man, she just kicked my butt’. Then it’s like ‘oh, you’re going to find it one day’.

"She's always encouraging to everybody around her. She brings up the energy wherever she goes. I can’t say how much respect I have for her and what a great representative she is for women’s tennis.”

Of particular note to Rogers was the fact Barty has largely been unable to see friends and family back home, having been travelling since her home slam earlier in the year.

Rogers said Barty's victories this. year carried more weight because of that burden.

Shelby Rogers couldn't believe it after defeating world No.1 Ash Barty in a three-set thriller at the US Open. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Shelby Rogers couldn't believe it after defeating world No.1 Ash Barty in a three-set thriller at the US Open. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

“I want to speak to what she’s done this season. I think a lot of people are taking it for granted,” Rogers said. 

“She hasn’t been able to go home since February, you guys. That’s insane. 

"I mean, she’s resetting on the road. She's worked through some injuries on the road. She’s won five titles. She’s remained No. 1. I mean this girl is everything every player wants to be, you know.

“Honestly I could do this for another 20 minutes. But, I mean, yeah, she’s one of my favourite people. Anytime I get to give her a hug, I try to take the moment.”

Ash Barty disappointed after US Open loss to Shelby Rogers

Barty blew a 5-2 double-break lead in the deciding set of a dramatic 6-2 1-6 7-6 (7-5) loss to the 43rd-ranked Rogers at Flushing Meadows.

Barty had beaten the unseeded 28-year-old in their previous five encounters, including four times this season, leaving even Rogers open-mouthed in disbelief after her stunning comeback win.

Australia's vanquished world No.1 admitted "it's a tough one to swallow".

"It's never nice when you have a couple opportunities to serve out a match and can't get it done ... brutal," Barty said.

"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.

"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.

"It's disappointing but we move on. I sleep well tonight knowing I gave everything I could."

Unsure of her immediate plans, Barty said her earliest exit in New York since 2017 wouldn't take the gloss off another memorable season in which the 25-year-old captured her second grand-slam crown, at Wimbledon, among a tour-topping five titles.

With AAP

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