Jessica Pegula: I knew I needed to step up and take my chances against Maria Sakkari



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Jessica Pegula: I knew I needed to step up and take my chances against Maria Sakkari

World No. 21 Jessica Pegula wasn't interested in playing long points in the Melbourne heat so she decided to be aggressive right from the start against fifth-seeded Maria Sakkari. Pegula, seeded at No. 21, surprised world No.

8 Sakkari 7-6 (0) 6-3 to reach the Australian Open quarterfinal. "It was a little hot out there today, so I didn't really want to kind of play a lot of long points," Pegula said, per the WTA websute. "I thought I really had to step up and be aggressive when I had the chances to.

Luckily I was able to capitalize on that pretty well today and play a pretty clean match, I think. "I know that she's always going to fight and compete well. I wasn't really thinking about that [Miami] match. Obviously I know that I need to step up and take my chances.

She did start to play better at the end. She started serving better. In that last game she made me earn it, which is what I thought would happen."

Pegula claimed her first win over Sakkari

Pegula was twice up by a break in the first set but Sakkari both times recovered to force a tie-break.

Failing to capitalize on her previous two breaks didn't affect Pegula, who absolutely dominated the tie-break to win the first set. After winning the first set, Pegula broke Sakkari in the fourth game and held on to her serve the rest of the way to seal a straight-set win.

Pegula plays next against Ashleigh Barty, who will try to push the American off the baseline and make her feel uncomfortable. "But I know that she's also going to be doing the exact same thing to me and trying to make me uncomfortable.

That's the chess game that we play. You go out there and have fun with it, see who can execute better on the day, and that's about all there is to it," Barty added.