Shelby Rogers: ‘I was expecting a tough match, I just didn’t expect it to be that tough’

She lost 6-1, 6-4 to Kaia Kanepi of Estonia at Flushing Meadows. Now Rogers must get over her shock and worry about something she barely recognized: the Twitter and Instagram abuse

“She said we were a nightmare, a nightmare! She said I played a terrible match,” joked Shelby Rogers after her first-round defeat at the US Open.

The left-handed Taiwanese player Kaia Kanepi, ranked 43rd, beat the American 6-1, 6-4 in less than an hour on Tuesday and the 30-year-old was clearly in shock as she sat in the interview room.

The brutal end was something she had never anticipated. “I was expecting a tough match, I just didn’t expect it to be that tough. Like I said, I wasn’t doing anything spectacular, I wasn’t running all over the place, I didn’t serve well,” said Rogers, who took the first set when Kanepi double-faulted.

“If you just look at my statistics, I was pretty solid. I wasn’t giving her much of an opportunity.

“To me, she was just playing pretty well, making me work for every point, not conceding many free points, playing solid tennis,” she added.

“I mean, it’s completely out of the ordinary for me. And to be honest, I really wasn’t expecting the amount of hatred that’s been coming out, but I’m okay with it. It’s only round one.

“No, it’s fine, I’m OK with it. I’m going to have nine million death threats next week.”

Kanepi, playing her second Grand Slam, was successful with 17 out of 21 first serves and hit nine aces to Rogers’ one.

“Obviously, from the beginning I was starting off a little bit slow, let’s say. As a matter of fact, it got worse as the match went on,” Rogers said.

Rogers was 17 when she reached the fourth round at Flushing Meadows in 2012, and she was the first woman of colour to reach that stage at a Grand Slam.

“It’s still a little hard to comprehend but I am going to keep coming back,” she said.

Now, she must gird herself for a long fight against trolls on social media.

“So I have already found this article,” she said. “I’m going to actually check my Instagram and read out everything I said that people are going to be upset with, like tweets, and just do my best to block them.

“I’ve never really faced this before, not even when I lost in the first round [at Wimbledon in 2016]. So it’s kind of scary, but it’s OK.”

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