By Steve Galluzzo, special to USTA.com
– Shelby Rogers had been in the exact same situation before and knew what to expect against fourth-seeded Petra Rampre of Slovenia in the first round of the Carson USTA Women’s $50,000 Challenger presented by the Farmers Classic being played at The Home Depot Center.
It had been 14 months since the 18-year-old from Charleston, S.C., had beaten Rampre in three sets in the first round of the $25,000 women's challenger in Ft. Walton, Fla., and when their match went to a third-set tiebreaker Wednesday, Rogers had a plan: serve big and stay aggressive. She did precisely that, winning, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4), in the most competitive match of the day.
"She's at all the tournaments, and she just won Raleigh on clay," said Rogers, who turned pro last year. "Those are different conditions than here, obviously, but she's been playing well, so this is a good win."
One break of serve decided each of the first two sets. In fact, Rogers cited serving as the key to the match. She took got a 4-2 lead in the third-set tiebreaker, then got to match point on a mini-break.
"When I served well, I dictated the points, so it was all about serving," she said. "I felt pretty in control once I got ahead in the tiebreaker."
Later in the day, Rogers partnered with Aleksandrina Naydenova of Bulgaria to beat Rampre and American Chichi Scholl, 6-1, 6-2, in the first round of the 16-team doubles draw.
Rogers, who trains at Family Circle in Charleston, made college visits but believes turning pro was the right decision.
"It's been awesome," said Rogers, who won the USTA 18s National Hardcourts last year in San Diego. "It was definitely a good move for me to [turn pro]. I want to be totally focused on my tennis."
Rogers plays fellow American Taylor Townsend in the second round Thursday. The 15-year-old Townsend trains with the USTA in Boca Raton.
"She's a younger player, so it'll be a little different," Rogers said. "I got to the finals at Indian Harbour last year, and that's been my best result, so I'm hoping I can go one step further here."
Top-seeded Camila Giorgi of Italy swept Lina Litvak in her first-round match Wednesday morning, and in the afternoon, second-seeded Alexa Glatch of Newport Beach defeated Hollywood native Jessica Roland-Rosario, 6-4, 6-0.
For more information on the tournament, log onto the website at www.usta.com/carsonchallenger
Wednesday's First-Round Singles
Shelby Rogers, U.S., def. Petra Rampre, Slovenia , 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4)
Alexa Glatch, U.S. , def. Jessica Roland-Rosario, Puerto Rico, 6-4, 6-0
Taylor Townsend, U.S., def. Brittany Augustine, U.S., 6-4, 6-2
Sachia Vickery, U.S., def. Jan Abaza, U.S., 6-0, 6-0
Camila Giorgi, Italy, , def. Lena Litvak, U.S., 6-3, 6-2
Ashley Weinhold, U.S. , def. Elizabeth Ferris, U.S., 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
Samantha Crawford, U.S., def. Alexandra Mueller, U.S., 6-0, 7-6 (2)
Megan Falcon, U.S., def. Alyona Sotnikova, Ukraine, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2
Teodora Mircic, Serbia , def. Aleksandrina Naydenova, Bulgaria, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
Ellen Tsay, U.S., def. Angelina Gabueva, Russia, 6-4, 6-1
Wednesday's First-Round Doubles
Angelina Gabueva, Russia / Alyona Sotnikova, Ukraine, def. Amanda Fink, U.S. / Lena Litvak, 6-3, 7-6 (3)
Aleksandrina Naydenova, Bulgaria / Shelby Rogers, U.S., def. Petra Rampre, Slovenia / Chichi Scholl, U.S., 6-1, 6-2
Christina Fusano, U.S.  / Yasmin Schnack U.S., def. Nicole Melichar, U.S. / Ellen Tsay U.S., 6-0, 4-6, 10-5 (super tiebreaker)
Macall Harkins, U.S.  / Teodora Mircic, Serbia, def. Julia Boserup, U.S. / Jessica Pegula, U.S., 6-4, 6-3