Americans Collins, Keys, Pegula, Townsend Win on Sunny Day 3

The sun returned to the Volvo Car Open Wednesday and the light shone bright on the players representing Team USA, with four Americans earning wins to join former champ Sloane Stephens in the third round.

It was career wins for both Taylor Townsend and Jessica Pegula, each beating top 20 foes. Townsend, pictured above, won in straight sets over 2018 finalist Julia Goerges, while Pegula took out the highest seed to go down in a 6-4 6-2 win over No. 4 Anastasija Sevastova.

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Pegula, who trained for her part of her career here in Charleston, said she felt at home Wednesday.

The home hope Shelby Rogers wasn’t as lucky. In her first event back after over a year away due to injury, the Charleston native Rogers led No. 10 seed Jelena Ostapenko by 5-1 in the deciding set in an afternoon match in Volvo Car Stadium.

She’d earn a match point at 5-4, but wasn’t able to convert, the 2017 French Open champ eventually prevailing 4-6 6-3 7-6(4).

“It sucks I couldn’t close it out, but (there are) so many positives to take from this week,” Rogers told reporters. “Coming in here there were a lot of uncertainties and I… erased that. So that’s very exciting.”

No. 11 seed Danielle Collins, a Florida native, took care of a tricky foe to move through in straight sets, beating Aliona Bolsova 6-3 7-6(2).

Madison Keys was booked for the evening shift and she had to dig deep, coming back from a break down late in the third set to beat Tatjana Maria 7-6(5) 4-6 6-4 in two hours, 27 minutes.

Keys had this to say when she turned the tide in the third set, down a break with Maria serving at 4-3 up. “You’re already down so you might as well go for it,” she said. “And it seemed to work.”

It was the busiest day of the tournament, with 17 matches in play, including three doubles matches. The most dramatic of those turned out to be the one featuring local wild cards Chloe Beck and Emma Navarro, who stormed back from a set and a break down to stun Darija Jurak and Ostapenko, 1-6 6-3 1-0 [13-11].

Other winners around the grounds Wednesday included No. 3 seed Aryna Sabalenka, No. 5 Caroline Wozniacki, No. 9 Belinda Bencic, Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig as well as Ajla Tomljanovic, Petra Martic, Mihaela Buzarnescu and Maria Sakkari.