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 US 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 encouragement 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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