Serving up must-see clashes: Azarenka-Stephens, Rogers-Collins lead banner day
“Everything starts from Charleston.”
Those are the words of 2022 Credit One Charleston Open runner-up Ons Jabeur as she looks to jumpstart her 2023 season Tuesday night on the same court where she had a magical run a year ago.
But the phrase can be applied across the board on a busy tennis day in Daniel Island, including for former champions here Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens, local hopes Shelby Rogers and Emma Navarro two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka – who is back here for the first time in 13 years.
Azarenka and Stephens clash in Tuesday’s evening session in a must-see match-up before Jabeur is set to take on Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko.
The afternoon packs as much punch as the night, with two all-American battles due on Credit One Stadium, including Keys, the 2019 champ, taking on Navarro.
It’s a Charleston kind of day, with Rogers, the Mt. Pleasant native, meeting fellow American Danielle Collins in the match to follow.
Rogers, who announced her engagement over the weekend, has tasted victory and defeat in front of her home fans, last year falling at the opening hurdle. Collins, the 2022 Australian Open finalist, offers a stiff first test.
“Over the years I’ve learned… win, lose, draw, injured, fall, crying, whatever it is, my city will always support me and be proud of me,” said Rogers, 30. “That gives me the freedom to go out and just be myself and have fun with it.”
Keys, who is now 28, said she often forgets she’s crossed over into the next phase of her career. Navarro is still just 21 – and playing only her 11th WTA main draw.
“I’ve had a lot of experience being ‘the younger one’ playing the veteran,” said Keys, the 2017 US Open runner-up. “Using that experience now in my ‘new role’ I can actually use a lot of what I was feeling when I was the younger newcomer.”
“I can put myself in their shoes,” she added.
In stadium court’s opening match, Egyptian trailblazer Mayar Sherif will look to trip up Paula Badosa of Spain, Badosa looking to recapture some of the magic that brought her to world No. 2 a year ago.
Also to watch out for: Young Americans Alycia Parks and Caty McNally; 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez; and the No. 3 seeds in doubles – Storm Hunter and her American partner, Caroline Dolehide.
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