Shelby Rogers wins, Keys beats Navarro at Charleston Open

Lowcountry native Shelby Rogers won her first round match at the Charleston Open on Tuesday...
Lowcountry native Shelby Rogers won her first round match at the Charleston Open on Tuesday beating Danielle Collins in 3 sets(Charleston Tennis LLC/Chris Smith)
Published: Apr. 4, 2023 at 9:09 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Madison Keys grabbed an early lead and breezed into the second round of the Charleston Open with a 6-4, 6-3 victory Tuesday over wild-card entry Emma Navarro, the 2021 NCAA singles champion whose father owns the green-clay tournament.

With the temperature around 80 degrees, 2017 U.S. Open runner-up Keys went up 4-0.

“Starting off on a good foot is really important normally,” said Keys, who won the Charleston title in 2019 and is seeded No. 9 this year, “but especially so when you’re playing someone young and someone in front of a home crowd.”

She finished the match with a 7-0 edge in aces, while converting 4 of 5 break points she generated — and saving 4 of 5 she faced.

“She came out playing really aggressively. I was knocked back a little bit at the beginning,” said the 21-year-old Navarro, who is ranked a career-best 118th this week and was playing in just the 16th tour-level contest of her career. “I think that, combined with some nerves, kind of set me back a little bit.”

Her father, Ben, is a local billionaire who bought the Charleston tournament in 2018 and whose company also owns the Western & Southern Open in Ohio.

“It’s cool to play someone who I’ve watched when they were at this level, and I wasn’t,” Navarro said. “So, yeah, to be able to play against her was cool for me. Definitely a learning experience.”

In other first-round action, Shelby Rogers came back from losing the first set to defeat 13th seed Danielle Collins in 3 sets, 6-7, 6-4, 6-1.

“I felt like once I stepped on court, I was able to embrace the arena, if you will, and kind of leave everything outside the gates.” The Lowcountry native said. “But it is nice to look over and see my friends and family and familiar faces in the crowd. That helps me feel the support and helps me keep perspective as well. And I thought I did a good job of staying focused and regrouping after that first set when it was so tight”

2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin was a 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-1 winner over Aliaksandra Sasnovich in a rain-interrupted match. Play was stopped because of a downpour Monday night while Kenin was ahead 3-0 in the third set.

“I wish we would have finished yesterday so I could have the day off,” said Kenin, who plays No. 15 seed Irina-Camelia Begu for a spot in the third round.

No. 12 seed Paula Badosa began the day’s schedule in the main stadium with a 6-3, 6-1 win against Mayar Sherif, while Bernarda Pera beat Claire Liu 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-3 in a matchup between a pair of Americans.

In a second-round match, No. 2 seed Ons Jabeur, runner-up at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last year, beat Lesia Tsurenko 6-3, 6-3.

And two-time Australian Open winner and No. 6 seed Victoria Azarenka beat Sloane Stephens 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the last 16 and a match against Anna Kalinskaya. Kalinskaya defeated Alize Cornet 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-2.