Wimbledon: Angelique Kerber hangs on to number one ranking with tough win over Shelby Rogers

Angelique Kerber displayed the fighting spirit she owned in 2016 as she managed to come from a set and a break down to defeat Shelby Rogers in a three-set classic in the third round of the Wimbledon Championships, but she is still barely holding onto her top spot in the rankings as she needs to reach the final to do so.

Wimbledon: Angelique Kerber hangs on to number one ranking with tough win over Shelby Rogers
Angelique Kerber celebrates getting the confidence-boosting victory | Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images Europe
Angelique Kerber
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Shelby Rogers

Angelique Kerber moves on to the second week of the Wimbledon Championships for the second consecutive year as she eked out a tough victory over Shelby Rogers in the third round, coming from a set and a break down to triumph in three sets after more than two hours of play, showing some great mental strength to prevail.

Rogers takes the first set with some consistent play

As what everyone expected, Rogers came into the match dictating the play as she was the much stronger player as compared to Kerber, who had to try being aggressive in her play too. Coming from 15-30 down in the opening game, the German had to rely on unforced errors from Rogers to hold her serve and get off to a positive start. Being the obvious aggressor on the court, the American’s shots decided the outcome of the points in 11 of the first 12 points, being able to level the scores with a shaky service hold. Unexpectedly, Kerber’s typical slow start to a match came back to haunt her as she was broken in the third game after Rogers came up with some impressive offensive tennis to force errors out of the stubborn Kerber defense.

Shelby Rogers returns a serve | Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images Europe
Shelby Rogers returns a serve | Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images Europe

Rogers then saved a break point to narrowly consolidate the break of serve, opening up a 3-1 lead. Kerber prevented herself from lagging further on the scoreboard as she eked out the nervy service hold to keep the scores tight. From then on, both players became very solid on their serves, and neither were able to make any breakthroughs on the return in the set since then. Therefore, the remainder of the set went on serve and Rogers continued to produce great results on her serve, coming from 15-30 down and eliminating all the nerves to successfully serve out the first set 6-4 after 37 minutes of play.

Kerber comes from a break down to level the match

The start of the second set was much better for Kerber as she came up with some forehand winners of her own and managed to challenge Rogers at the baseline to hold serve in the opening game. However, the American managed to close out her first service game with an ace before making the first breakthrough of the set, breaking serve with the help of some sloppy play from the world number one as she took the formidable lead of a set and a break, looking to cause the huge upset and send Kerber packing from the tournament. Kerber had no answers to Rogers’ powerful serves as the underdog consolidated the break with a love service hold, closing the game out with an ace to open up a 3-1 lead. After an exchange of service holds, Kerber found herself on the brink of exiting the tournament as she served at 2-4 0-30, with Rogers being just six points away from the biggest victory of her career.

Shelby Rogers in action during today's match | Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images Europe
Shelby Rogers in action during today's match | Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images Europe

Nevertheless, the world number one fended off a break point along the way and narrowly held her serve to lessen the deficit to keep herself alive in the match. Her fightback gave her the confidence and also caused Rogers to lose some focus as the German fought from 30-0 down in the next game and won an exciting rally at 30-30, eventually breaking serve for the first time to level the scores all of a sudden. The second set was brought to a tiebreak to decide its winner with Rogers looking to close out the match and Kerber looking to send it into a decider. After earning the mini-break in the first point, Rogers was unable to make an impact in the tiebreak as Kerber rattled six consecutive points to earn five set points, and she finally closed out the set with a backhand winner, letting out a loud roar to celebrate winning the point.

Kerber fends off tough challenge prevails in three sets

Kerber had the best possible start to the deciding set, prevailing in a physically-demanding game where she finally got the break on her seventh break point in the game, taking the early lead as she looked to have the momentum running in her. The German then had her own troubles on her serve as Rogers came up with some powerful returns and threatened to make an immediate reply by earning a break point. However, the American hit three consecutive errors to allow Kerber to consolidate the break in the nervy game, opening a 2-0 lead in the final set.

Angelique Kerber in action during today's match | Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images Europe
Angelique Kerber in action during today's match | Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images Europe

Unexpectedly, Rogers played some amazing tennis and came out of nowhere to return level at 2-2, with the German getting herself in trouble once more after allowing Rogers to lead 3-2 and earning a couple of break points. With some inspired play, Kerber managed to regain the lead with some solid play as she broke straight back in the seventh game, and she consolidated the break to be just one game away from winning the match. The top-ranked player finally managed to close out the match despite not looking at her best, ousting the American after 136 minutes of play.

Stats Corner: Kerber was the less erratic of both

Rogers was the more proactive player on the court as she hit 48 winners throughout the encounter, but it also came with a heavy price of 47 unforced errors as her aggression often backfired on her. Kerber performed much better in this area despite hitting just 25 winners, which only came with just 14 unforced errors. The match was only decided by a couple of points as Kerber won 66 percent of first service points to go along with 51 percent off her second serves, which is similar to Rogers’ 69 percent and 49 percent respectively. Just one more receiving point won by Kerber seemed to have sealed the deal for the world number one as she won 110 points throughout the match as compared to 109 for Rogers.

Angelique Kerber with her trademark double fist-pump celebration | Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images Europe
Angelique Kerber with her trademark double fist-pump celebration | Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images Europe


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