“It’s kind of storybook, isn’t it?”
Shelby Rogers let the emotions flow on Monday afternoon following her first match win on the WTA since October of 2017, the Charleston native having sat out over a year with a bad knee injury - and subsequent surgery - before making a triumphant hometown return at the Volvo Car Open.
Rogers, 26, won 6-4 6-2 over Russia’s Evgeniya Rodina on a packed day of action on Daniel Island. But no win was as storybook as Shelby’s, her dropped her racket to the ground and buried her head in her hands on court after the ‘W.’
“I didn’t know I could feel this many emotions at one time,” a beaming Rogers said in her post-match interview.
It was a fantastic finish to what was a busy Day 1 on Volvo Car Stadium, with wins from No. 9 seed Belinda Bencic, No. 10 Jelena Ostapenko and American Sonya Kenin, who stopped former champion Sabine Lisicki in the first match of the day.
On Althea Gibson Club Court, Monica Puig dropped just one game against Sara Errani in a 6-0 6-1 effort, while while Americans Jessica Pegula and Taylor Townsend registered comeback wins and No. 14 seed Ajla Tomljanovic survived in two sets.
Other winners on Monday: American Allie Kiick, Tatjana Maria, Sara Sorribes Tormo, Mandy Minella, Tamara Zidansek and Martina Trevisan.
Trevisan will turn around and play Tuesday evening against defending champion Kiki Bertens, while it’s Sorribes Tormo who has the No. 1 seed to contend with, 2016 champ Sloane Stephens.
Bencic and Ostapenko could both be dangerous in the draw later this week, the Swiss player having a resurgent 2019 with a title in Dubai and Ostapenko, the runner-up here in 2017, having won the French Open later that spring.
Ostapenko and Rogers will meet on Wednesday in the second round in what is set to be their first clash.
While Lisicki had a set point against Kenin in the morning match Monday, the German, now 29, couldn't convert. She's slowing climbing back from her own series of injuries. But the 20-year-old from Florida proved too strong as she continues to build on her first title, won earlier this year in Hobart, Australia.
Pegula, who at one point trained here in Charleston, was three points from defeat against Irina Khromacheva on the Club Court. She rallied to win 1-6 7-6(4) 6-1 and is trying to get back to the third round, the same effort she made here back in 2013.