WATCH: Shelby Rogers chats with Steve Weissman and Jon Wertheim after her second-round win at Wimbledon.

Advertising

Shelby Rogers has never been ranked higher than 46th on the WTA tour, which is surprising considering she has 16 victories over Top 20 players. The latest came on Thursday at Wimbledon, where the 28-year-old American ousted 15th seed and Roland Garros semifinalist Maria Sakkari, 7-5, 6-4.

Whether Sakkari's complete lack of grass-court preparation rendered the ranking disparity meaningless is up for debate, but it's an upset all the same—even if, to Rogers' credit, she's been trending upward for nearly a year now. She reached the semifinals of the Top Seed Open last August, where she earned perhaps the most impressive of those Top 20 conquests, over Serena Williams in the quarterfinals (1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5), no less). Ranked 116th at the time, Rogers would nab two more Top 20 wins at the US Open, most notably over Petra Kvitova in the fourth round, to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal for the first time since the 2016 French Open.

Rogers' ability to raise her game when the opponent calls for it has been impressive, though she'd also be up for reversing roles.

"I like it for now," responded Rogers to her being characterized as a giant killer, "but the goal is to be the giant."

Shelby Rogers has proven to be a tough out at the majors.

Shelby Rogers has proven to be a tough out at the majors.

Resuming her match from Wednesday, Rogers was powerful and prompt, and she served out the second-rounder to great relief.

"It was super weird, being suspended last night with the darkness, trying to get some sleep with half a match finished," said Rogers, "so it was really nice to just get in and get out today."

Rogers will be back at it tomorrow—and will look to earn yet another Top 20 victory—as she faces Elena Rybakina. Like Sakkari, Rybakina fared well on the terre battue, reaching the quarterfinals in Paris. Unlike Sakkari, she played two grass-court tournaments since then. Rogers knows this, of course—she lost to Rybakina in Berlin. But the young Kazakh was also one of Rogers' many Top 20 wins, having defeated her at last year's US Open.

Regardless of who's on the opposite side of the net, though, Rogers will be taking every challenge as it comes, as she explained in the interview above, and in a lengthy tweet from May, below:

Advertising

Coco winneth, CoCo loseth

Playing on Centre Court for the first time since her Wimbledon breakthrough two summers ago, Coco Gauff impressed against the savvy Elena Vesnina, winning 6-4, 6-3.

A promising wild card then, the 17-year-old is a dangerous (No. 20) seed now.

"Now people are kind of expecting me to win, but I don't really expect anything of myself," Gauff told ESPN after the match. "I try not to use the words expectation and expect; I like the words believe and belief. I still believe that I can win; I don't expect anything from myself except for good behavior on the court, and carrying myself well on the court."

Earlier in the day, Gauff's participation in the Olympics—in singles and doubles—was confirmed.

On the other show court, No. 1, another CoCo was competing: Coco Vandeweghe, the former world No. 9 who is trying to mount a comeback after a series of injuries and slumps.

After winning her first match at a major since the 2019 French Open, on Wednesday against Olga Govortsova, Vandeweghe's singles stay at Wimbledon ended at the hands of Katerina Siniakova, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Vandeweghe will compete in doubles alongside Sam Stosur, capping an extended return to grass courts that included singles and doubles entries into Nottingham and Birimingham, along with a doubles-only week in Eastbourne. She won six matches (two in qualifying) to reach the singles semis in Birmingham.

Advertising

United Stats of America

  • Fourth seed Alexander Zverev defeated Tennys Sandgren, 7-5, 6-2, 6-3
  • James Duckworth ousted Sam Querrey—who upset No. 11 seed Pablo Carreno Busta in the first round—7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-2
  • Marcos Giron, who will also be heading to Tokyo for the Olympics, fell to Hubert Hurkacz, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4
  • In an all-American second-rounder, Taylor Fritz defeated Steve Johnson, 6-4, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4. Fritz led the fourth-set tiebreaker 4-0 before dropping the next seven points. (More on this match to come from Steve Tignor.)