Rogers braces for social media abuse after ugly US Open loss

·4-min read

NEW YORK (AP) — Shelby Rogers had no shortage of people singing her praises after she upset No. 1 seed Ash Barty.

She knew how much the tone would change after the American followed that by getting routed by Emma Raducanu on Monday.

“Obviously we appreciate the spotlight in those moments. But then, you know, you have today and I’m going to have 9 million death threats and whatnot,” Rogers said. “It’s very much polarizing, one extreme to the other very quickly.”

Rogers jumped to a quick lead and had a break point to go up 3-0, then dropped 11 straight games in a 6-2, 6-1 loss to the 18-year-old from Britain. She said afterward she kind of wished social media didn't exist, because hers was going to be filled with negativity.

“It’s a big part of marketing now. We have contracts, we have to post certain things,” Rogers said. "I don’t know, you could probably go through my profile right now, I’m probably a fat pig and, you know, words that I can’t say right now.

“But, I mean, it is what it is. You try not to take it to heart, and it’s the unfortunate side of any sport and what we do.”

Sloane Stephens called attention to it by sharing abusive Instagram messages she received after the 2017 champion lost to Angelique Kerber in the third round. She posted that she had received more than 2,000 negative messages after that defeat.

Rogers said players try to ignore that, though it's difficult.

“You know, just focusing on the important things, not comments from people in their mom’s basement,” Rogers said. "It’s really unfortunate and some of it does get to your head sometimes. I mean, they write some true things sometimes for sure — you’re up a break and you have another break point. These are facts.

“But social media can’t control what I’m doing and the way my training is going to go moving forward, but I wish it didn’t exist. It’s really tough.”

OPELKA OUT

Reilly Opelka smacked a half-dozen aces in the opening game of his fourth-round U.S. Open match against Lloyd Harris, including one at 136 mph to take a 1-0 lead. Good sign, right? Not quite.

The problem for Opelka, an American seeded 22nd, is that it was a 22-point game that included six break points for Harris. And Opelka only put 60% of his first serves in, 13 of 22.

That was a hint of things to come on a day that Harris, an unseeded South African, and not Opelka, was the one who managed to reach his first Grand Slam quarterfinal by producing a 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 victory Monday.

Both men are top-notch servers, and Harris wound up with a 36-24 edge in aces and a 76-65 edge in first-serve percentage. He also accumulated 17 break points and converted six. Opelka went 1 for 2 in that category as a returner.

“I wasn’t hitting my spots. It was an uncharacteristic serving day for me. That changed the whole thing,” Opelka said. “I mean, even if it was a characteristic serving day, I wasn’t going to break him much. He was serving unbelievable.”

BIRTHDAY BOOK

Leylah Fernandez got some new reading material on her 19th birthday.

A day after reaching the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open, the Canadian was given a signed copy of Billie Jean King's autobiography “All In” as a gift.

Fernandez and partner Erin Routliffe fell 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 to Monica Niculescu and Elena-Gabriela Ruse of Romania in a third-round women's doubles match. As they returned from the court to the locker room area at Arthur Ashe Stadium, Fernandez was met by U.S. Open tournament director Stacey Allaster, who gave Fernandez birthday cupcakes and the book.

King wrote: “To Leylah — Happy 19th Birthday. Continue to Dream Big and cherish every moment!”

Fernandez faces No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina on Tuesday in the quarterfinals.

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AP Tennis Writer Howard Fendrich contributed to this report.

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More AP tennis coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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