Soon after, Williams teamed up with coach Patrick Mouratoglou, who still works with her and was one of the few people in the stands on Friday – fans are not allowed at the first tennis tournament in the United States since the start. of the coronavirus pandemic.
It was Williams’ third consecutive treble at the Top Seed Open on hard ground. She dropped each other’s first set before coming back to beat Bernarda Pera in the first round, then her older sister Venus in the second.
Starting off after a rain delay of more than two hours on Friday, Williams looked on his way to a much easier path to victory. She grabbed the first set and never faced a single breaking point before serving while trailing 5-4 in the second.
But that’s when things changed.
Rogers, who is from South Carolina, got three break points – each a set point – and converted the third when Williams threw a forehand into the net.
There was no break in the third set, and after Williams took the early lead in the tiebreaker, she was her own loss with miss after miss, including a long backhand return to y end.
With the social distancing rules in place, the players didn’t meet at the net for the usual post-game handshake. As they made their way to their outboard seats, Williams smiled. Rogers just sat down and quickly clenched his fist.
Now Rogers will face Jil Teichmann in the semi-finals on Saturday. Teichmann needed seven match points to reach the first hard-court semi-final of his career with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over CiCi Bellis.
Teichmann served for the victory at 5-3 in the second set and was one point away from winning a half-dozen times in that game, but couldn’t convert, and Bellis ultimately smashed his fourth chance.
In the next game, however, Teichmann had a seventh chance to end things and Bellis put a forehand into the net.
This, says Teichmann, was mentally tough.
The semi-final on the other side of the draw will be Jennifer Brady vs. Coco Gauff, 16, or Ons Jabeur, No.8. Brady advanced by beating Marie Bouzkova 6-1, 6-2.