Barty “didn't quite have enough in the tank” in US Open loss

  • Matt Trollope

Ash Barty’s gruelling travel schedule appeared to catch up with her on Saturday night in New York.

The world No.1’s US Open campaign ended with a 6-2 1-6 7-6(5) third-round loss to Shelby Rogers, just her eighth defeat in 50 matches this season.

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Barty had won the recent Cincinnati title and carried a seven-match winning streak into her meeting with Rogers, whom she had beaten in all five career meetings – including four in 2021.

And she led 5-2 in the final set, only for an inspired Rogers – buoyed by a vocal home crowd – to reel her in.

Barty admitted that she simply couldn’t summon her best tennis in the final set, during which she twice served for a place in the last 16.

“I played a pretty poor service game (at 5-2). Shelby had a lot of looks at second serves. In the end I think that game put some oxygen into her lungs,” Barty said.

“At the 5-4 game, we played some long points. I mean, I didn't play too many bad points. Shelby came up with some really good stuff when it mattered most. A forehand lob, 30-All, you tip your hat and say, too good.

“In the end I just didn't quite have enough in the tank. I've left everything out on the court this year. It was no different tonight. I sleep well tonight knowing I gave everything I could.

“It just wasn't quite enough.”

Since leaving Australia in March to compete at the Miami Open, Barty is still yet to return home at any stage in the six months that have followed.

In that span she has won four titles – including her second Grand Slam trophy at Wimbledon – and firmly established herself as the tour’s gold standard.

“In the end I just didn't quite have enough in the tank. I've left everything out on the court this year. It was no different tonight."
Ash Barty

“I think back to the very first match that I played on this trip. I was 5-2 down in the third set in the first round of Miami. Tennis has a funny way of evening things out, doesn't it?” Barty reflected.

Even in matches where she has not played her best tennis, the Australian, more often than not, has found a way to scrape through in 2021.

And there were bright moments throughout her battle with Rogers, such as the second set – which she dominated once she found her range – and stats like her 37 winners and 75 per cent success rate on first-serve points.

But overall, she struggled to feel truly comfortable in the night-time conditions that she described as “slow and dead” on Ashe, despite enjoying the electric atmosphere that came with taking on an American player in New York.

“It sucks in tennis that there's a winner and loser every single day, but sometimes you don't mind losing to certain people. I think Shelby in a sense of her personality and her character, she's certainly one of those for me,” Barty said.

“I played a pretty awful first set in the sense where I was erratic. I couldn't quite find the rhythm of how I wanted to play. I found a way to turn the match back in my favour … (got) within a couple of points, disappointing not to get it done.

“Millimetres could have changed things tonight. You accept that in tennis.

“We've had a great year so far. We're looking forward to celebrating the good stuff that we've done, learning from the hurt, learning from the experiences, and moving on.”