Serena Williams lost Friday to an opponent outside the top 100 ranks, for the first time in eight years Friday, and fell to Shelby Rogers 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5) in the Top Seed Open quarterfinals .
Rogers picked up six of the final eight points after kicking off 3-1 in the tiebreaker. She is No. 116 and picked up only her third career victory over an opponent of the top-10.
Rogers also reached its first WTA semi-final since 2016. Had to go even further back in the record books to find this kind of tournament exit for former No 1 Williams: The owner of 23 grand slam singles titles had not been up against one buck so low on the ranking since No. 111 Virginie Razzano surprised her at the French Open in 2012.
Shortly thereafter, Williams teamed up with coach Patrick Mouratoglou, who is still working with her and on Friday was one of the few people in the stands – fans are not allowed on the first U.S. tennis tournament since the start of the season. coronavirus-pandemic.
This was the third consecutive three-setter for Williams on the hard court Top Seed Open. She dropped the opening set from each of the others before returning to defeat Bernarda Pera in the first round, then older sister Venus in the second.
On Friday, starting after a rain delay of more than two hours, Williams looks set for a much simpler route to victory. She grabbed the opening set and never faced as much as a single break point until she served while going 5-4 in the second kick.
But that’s when things got different.
Rogers, who is from South Carolina, earned three break points – each a set point – and converted the third when Williams dumped a forehand into the net.
There were no breaks in the third set, and after Williams took the early lead in the tiebreaker, she had her own undo with miss after miss, including a long backhand back to end it.
With measures of distancing rules, the players were not allowed to comply with the usual handshake after the match. As they sat to their sidelines, Williams smiled. Rogers just sat down and quickly shook a fist.
Now Rogers will face Jil Teichmann in the semifinals on Saturday. Teichmann needed seven match points to reach the first semifinal semifinal of her career with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over CiCi Bellis.
Teichmann served for the 5-3 victory in the second set and was one point away from winning half a thousand times in that game, but could not convert, and Bellis eventually broke on her fourth chance.
In the next game, however, Teichmann got a seventh chance to end things and Bellis put an advantage in the net.
That, Teichmann said, was mentally difficult.
The semi-final on the other side of the postseason will be Jennifer Brady against 16-year-old Coco Gauff as No. 8 seed Ons Jabeur. Brady went on to defeat Marie Bouzkova 6-1, 6-2.