Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Halep bounced in opening round

Romania’s Simona Halep gets swept out of the Australian Open by Shelby Rogers 6-3, 6-1 during the first round. Halep has lost in the first round at Melbourne Park for two straight years.

Getty Images

Romania’s Simona Halep gets swept out of the Australian Open by Shelby Rogers 6-3, 6-1 during the first round. Halep has lost in the first round at Melbourne Park for two straight years.

MELBOURNE, Australia — American Shelby Rogers caused the first upset of the Australian Open, beating fourth-seeded Simona Halep 6-3, 6-1 in the opening match on the center court today.

Playing just her second match in the main draw at the season's first Grand Slam tournament, the No. 52-ranked Rogers broke the 2014 French Open finalist's serve four times on Rod Laver Arena. It was the second year in a row that Halep lost in the first round at Melbourne Park, and the fourth time overall.

Rogers made a surprising run to the French Open quarterfinals before losing to eventual champion Garbine Muguruza last year, when Rogers was ranked No. 108, but advanced to the second round at only one other tournament in 2016. Her only previous win against a top 10 player was in 2014, when she beat then No. 8-ranked Eugenie Bouchard in Montreal.

"There are no easy matches at this level … so I'm happy to get through and definitely take confidence from what I did today," Rogers said in her on-court interview.

Muguruza, seeded seventh, saved a set point in the first set and needed a medical timeout before advancing with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Marina Erakovic.

Monica Puig, last year's Olympic gold medalist, raced through her opening match, beating Patricia Tig 6-0, 6-1. Duan Yingying was among the early winners with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Rebecca Sramkova.

Australian teenager Destanee Aiava's milestone match ended in a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) loss to German qualifier Mona Barthel. The 16-year-old Melbourne high school student became the first player born in this millennium to play a main-draw match at a major.

Jeremy Chardy was the first winner on the men's side, and he played only four games. He was leading 4-0 when Nicolas Almagro retired with an injured right calf muscle.

Later, Andy Murray faced Illya Marchenko in his first Grand Slam match as the world's top-ranked player. Murray was chasing his first Australian title after finishing as the runnerup five times.

New women's No. 1 Angelique Kerber opened against Lesia Tsurenko as she pursued her third Grand Slam title and first at the Australian Open.

Before the matches began, Rafael Nadal asserted that isn't planning to give up tennis soon.

Nadal, a 14-time major winner, had two lengthy injury layoffs last year: 2½ months after pulling out of the French Open before the third round with left wrist injury and another rest at the end of the season.

"If I don't believe that I can be competitive, and when I mean competitive, is fighting for the things that I fought for during the last 10 years, I will be probably playing golf or fishing at home," said Nadal, who opens his tournament today against Florian Mayer.

"I am being honest … I am here because I believe … I can fight for the things that really motivate me."

Given his history with injuries, Nadal was asked if he was playing pain free.

"What do you mean 'pain free?' " he said. "I am not injured, no. Pain free is a long time ago."


Today's featured matches

Men: Novak Djokovic (2) vs. Fernando Verdasco; Milos Raonic (3) vs. Dustin Brown; Gael Monfils (6) vs. Jiri Vesely; Rafael Nadal (9) vs. Florian Mayer

Women: Serena Williams (2) vs. Belinda Bencic; Agnieszka Radwanska (3) vs. Tsvetana Pironkova; Karolina Pliskova (5) vs. Sara Sorribes Tormo

TV: 9 p.m., ESPN2

Halep bounced in opening round 01/15/17 [Last modified: Sunday, January 15, 2017 11:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa's Lance McCullers shows killer instinct in pitching Astros to World Series


    HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) throwing in the fifth inning of the game between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 12, 2015.
  2. Jones: Where are the difference-makers on the Bucs defense?


    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — They can't tackle. They can't cover. They can't pressure the quarterback, let alone sack him.

    Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) scrambles past Bucs defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (98) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Bucs-Bills journal: Breakout game for Bucs tight end O.J. Howard


    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — It's obscured by the final score and a disappointing loss, but Bucs rookie tight end O.J. Howard had a breakout game Sunday, exceeding his season totals for catches and touchdowns in one afternoon.

    Bucs tight end O.J. Howard (80) celebrates a touchdown catch with quarterback Jameis Winston (3) during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  4. Vladislav Namestnikov is Lightning's top-line 'secret'

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Nikita Kucherov is piling up the goals. Steven Stamkos is an assist machine. They make for an impressive pairing in a league that favors scoring pairs over the more traditional three-player scoring lines.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Vladislav Namestnikov (90) reacts after scoring during the third period of the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. on Friday, Oct. 6, 2017.
  5. Ex-Lightning forward Brian Boyle returns to practice after cancer diagnosis

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — Brian Boyle, diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia last month, was back on the ice with his Devils teammates Sunday after getting cleared to practice for the first time since his diagnosis.

    Brian Boyle has been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of bone-marrow cancer that the team's doctor says can be treated with medication, the Devils announced Tuesday. [AP photo]