A 1st for Rogers: She reaches 3rd round at Australian Open

American Shelby Rogers’ long, slow climb up the rankings is gaining momentum, and she’s into the third round at the Australian Open for the first time

MELBOURNE, Australia — American Shelby Rogers’ long, slow climb up the rankings is gaining momentum, and she’s into the third round at the Australian Open for the first time.

The 28-year-old Rogers advanced Thursday by beating Olga Danilovic 6-2, 6-3. Rogers hit seven aces and lost only three points on her first serve.

She came into the tournament with a career record of 1-4 in Melbourne, but like her ranking, her fortunes have been on the rise of late. She reached the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open for the first time last September, and her year-end ranking was a career-best No. 58.

Rogers was sidelined for 14 months by a knee injury sustained in early 2018, and her ranking at the end of that year was 780th.

Rogers had little trouble with Danilovic, a qualifier from Serbia ranked 183rd. The small crowd on Court 3 included Novak Djokovic, who sat behind the baseline shouting encourage to his fellow Serb.

Former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova advanced by beating American Danielle Collins 7-5, 6-2. Pliskova, seeded sixth, lost serve twice in a seesaw first set but pulled it out and then pulled away to beat Collins, a 2019 semifinalist at Melbourne Park.

Pliskova has won 65 matches in Grand Slams but is still seeking her first major title. She was runner-up to Angelique Kerber at the 2016 U.S. Open.

No. 18-seeded Elise Mertens also reached the round of 32 by beating Zhu Lin 7-6 (8), 6-1. No. 25 Karolina Muchova eliminated Mona Barthel 6-4, 6-1.

Top-ranked Ash Barty and 2020 champion Sofia Kenin had matches scheduled later Thursday, as did 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal.

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