Jessica Pegula reached her first Major quarter-final at the Australian Open on Monday with a fourth-round upset over fifth seed Elina Svitolina. The American won 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in an hour and 56 minutes. At the start of the match, both players held their own.
The staring contest of the racquets ended in the seventh game when Pegula broke Svitolina and then backed it up by winning her own service game. The next two games remained on serve with Pegula serving out the set in the 10th game.
The Ukrainian retaliated by grabbing the momentum in the second set. She won four games in a row to build a 4-1 lead for herself in the set. Pegula did try and reduce the deficit by winning two more service games but she couldn’t stop the world no.
5 from serving the set out in the ninth game. The score-line read 4-1 as in the first set but this time, it was Pegula who led her higher-ranked opponent. There was a brief transition in the momentum as Svitolina regained the break back in the seventh game.
However, she was broken for the second time while trying to consolidate it. With a chance to serve for the match, the world no. 61 made no mistakes and notched the win on her first match point. Pegula hit 31 winners to Svitolina’s 19 and had 40 unforced errors to the fifth seed’s 25.
In the end, only four points separated the victor from the vanquished – Pegula won 91 points for the match while Svitolina won 87. This was Pegula’s first win over a top-10 player.
Australian Open: Jennifer Brady's first-time QF outing
In the quarter-finals, the 26-year-old will play a derby against compatriot, 22nd seed Jennifer Brady.
Brady defeated 28th seed Donna Vekic in their fourth-round match 6-1, 7-5 in an hour and 34 minutes to reach the Australian Open quarter-final for the first time. The first set of the Vekic-Brady match zipped by quickly in the latter’s favour and the second set, too, looked to be heading that way.
However, the Croatian arrested the momentum after taking the break back in the eighth game to level the set at four-all. However, two games later, Vekic – who had heavily strapped her right knee – was unable to fight back any further and she went down a second break in the 11th game.
Serving for the match in the 12th game, Brady squandered no opportunity as she brought up three match points and closed out the match on her first match point. Brady finished the match with 22 winners and 19 unforced errors to Vekic’s 17 winners and 37 unforced errors.
Their Australian Open quarter-final will be the second meeting between Jessica Pegula and Jennifer Brady. The two had faced each other at the 2020 New York Open and Pegula had won that match.