American Shelby Rogers is one match away from earning a wild card into the U.S. Open after taking down the No. 2 seed and last year's defending champion, Julia Glushko of Israel, in the semifinals of the Fifth Third Bank Tennis Championships on Saturday.
Rogers won in straight sets 6-4, 6-3. Deep ground strokes and several crosscourt forehand winners gave the 22-year-old the edge in the first set.
"Glushko is a tough opponent who hits really hard, so I knew I had to stay focused and move my feet to execute the shots I wanted," said Rogers, a native of South Carolina, who is ranked 143th to Glushko's 110th.
Taking advantage of Rogers' second serve, Glushko had three opportunities to break her at 0-30, but each time Rogers fought back to hold serve. Rogers jumped out to a 4-1 lead with two early breaks, going on to take the second set.
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The USTA wild card goes to the player who earns the most points in three specific Challenger events, of which the Fifth Third is the last stop. Points are calculated from each player's best two. A win would put Rogers ahead of leader Nicole Gibbs.
Rogers will face 30-year-old Julie Coin. France's Coin handily defeated 2010 Fifth Third singles champion Kurumi Nara 6-2, 6-2.
Duckworth, Ward advance to finals
Australian James Duckworth came out of the gate a little flat-footed and nervous, getting quickly broken by American Bradley Klahn. He shook it off and picked up his momentum to break back the second game.
From there, the two battled back and forth, with Duckworth often taking the offensive and sending the left-handed Klahn wide on the forehand before finishing down the line. The Australian broke Klahn at 5-4 to win the first set. The second set followed a similar script, with Duckworth taking it 7-5 to win the match.
"He didn't give me very many opportunities," said Klahn, 22, who is ranked 154 in singles. "And, I did not capitalize on the opportunities he did give me. I thought my forehand was good; I just misfired on too many."
Duckworth, 21 is ranked 167th. He will play Great Britain's James Ward in the finals. The Brit's match against 19-year-old Filip Peliwo of Canada stood in stark contrast to the Duckworth-Klahn showdown.
Ward had wrapped up the entire match 6-0, 6-1 in 42 minutes.
When: 1 p.m.
Where: University of Kentucky's Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex