Rogers claims spot in Party Rock final


Adriana Perez ran out of gas.

Seven straight days of competitive tennis will do that to a person, even a fit 19-year-old. Her guile and vast array of shots were not enough to keep her alive in the Party Rock Open on Saturday, as Shelby Rogers outlasted the Venezuelan 7-6 (5), 6-2 to reach today's 1 p.m. final.

Rogers will face fellow American Lauren Davis after the second seed defeated No. 4 Anastasia Rodionova in a three-hour, 15-minute battle, 6-4, 6-7 (6) 6-4, in the other semifinal at Darling Tennis Center.

Perez, ranked No. 308 in the world, had to qualify over three days to earn her spot in the main draw. She had put in a lot of court time last week, including a three-set quarterfinal win Friday against Jessica Pegula. Rogers made her work throughout, hitting pinpoint shots and forcing Perez to extend herself physically.

"I was really tired," Perez said. "I tried to fight through it, but she's a really, really good player. My first serve had been good for me all week. (Saturday), not so good."

Rogers, who won her first pro tournament in July when she prevailed in a $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Yakima, Wash., displayed the kind of mental toughness usually reserved for veterans. Her ability to overcome her youthful mistakes was a key to Saturday's win.

"I think I was able to get to one more ball at the critical moment," Rogers said. "She's a very smart player, and I was able to get to some of her shots by playing the angles, and it's a little easier to hit an angle off of an angle."

Rogers had gone up a break in the first set to eventually lead 4-2. But she lost her aggressiveness momentarily, and Perez broke back at 3-4 and eventually forced a tiebreaker.

Perez led 5-3 in the tiebreaker, but she made a bad decision to come to the net and try and chip the ball past Rogers. The ball sailed over the baseline, and it was the opening Rogers needed.

"If you start thinking about losing the tiebreak, you're almost certainly going to lose the match," Rogers said. "I've been working hard on keeping any negative thoughts from getting in my head, and I think I did a good job of blocking that out in the tiebreaker."

She won the next three points and the opening set.

In the second set, Rogers got a second service break at 3-2, and Perez had nothing left, physically or emotionally.

"It was in the back of my mind that she was tired, but it's been a long week for me as well," Rogers said. "But I'm feeling pretty good, and I'll be ready to play (today). The thing that winning in Yakima this summer taught me is that I know I can win. I know I can close matches out. I'm going to keep the same approach I've had all week - be relaxed, have fun and give it my best effort."

Davis had a couple of match-point opportunities in the second set, but she hung tough after Rodionova took the second-set tiebreaker, 7-5. The final set was on serve at 4-4 when Rodionova was unable to convert in a couple of long rallies, and Davis broke through.

Rodionova fought off two more match points before her return sailed over the baseline to end it.

"It was tough out there," Davis said. "It was so late, and I was getting sleepy. But I think my desire pulled me through.

"(Rodionova) is a very consistent player. She's really solid. So I had to dig down deep."

Though Rodionova did not make the singles final, she'll be in action today as she teams with her sister Arina in the doubles final, which will be played after the singles championship. The Rodionovas will face Elena Bovina and Edina Gallovits-Hall.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.

 

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