Jessica Pegula reaches French Open quarterfinals; Madison Keys ousted

Jessica Pegula became the third American woman to reach the quarterfinals at the French Open on Monday, but Madison Keys failed to join the party as she crashed out after a sizzling start to her fourth-round match at Roland Garros.

After losing the first set, Pegula fought back to seal a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over Romanian qualifier Irina-Camelia Begu and advance to her second straight Grand Slam quarterfinal.

Pegula will take on the winner of the match between world No. 1 Iga Swiatek or Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen.

No. 11 Pegula, whose parents own the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and the NHL’s Buffalo Sabers, and Swiatek are the only two of the top 15 seeds remaining in the women’s bracket.

The 26-year-old Pegula is seeded 11th at Roland Garros. Her two previous runs to the round of eight at Grand Slam tournaments came at the Australian Open — this January and last year.

Pegula arrived in Paris with a 2-3 career record at the clay-court major, with one third-round appearance.

The 31-year-old Begu, who had won both of her past meetings vs. Pegula in straight sets, fell to 0-3 in fourth-round matches at majors. She was fined $10,000 earlier during this French Open after she threw her racket, which bounced into the stands and brushed a child in the stands.

Keys totally lost control after a brilliant opening set, crashing out with a 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 loss to Russian Veronika Kudermetova in Paris.

Keys, the No. 22 seed who reached the semifinals at Roland Garros in 2018 and the quarterfinals the following year, was powerless against Kudermetova, who used a heavy forehand on Court Philippe Chatrier to put Keys on the defensive.

Kudermetova advanced to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time.

Keys dominated the opening set but lost rhythm after Kudermetova took a bathroom break before the second set.

She held and then broke Keys’ serve to take a 2-0 lead in the second, which she served out on her seventh set point.

“I tried to trust myself, to believe. That was my key,” said the 29th seeded Kudermetova, who will face fellow Russian Daria Kasatkina in the quarterfinals.

“Sometimes I tried to play harder, sometimes with the spin, a little smarter. I did a good job today.”

Kudermetova, who hadn’t been past the third round in singles at any of her previous 12 major tournaments, broke in the opening game of the third set after being down 40-0 and, with the exception of a service break in the fourth game , controlled the rest of the match.

Keys was the runner-up at the 2017 US Open and was coming off a semifinal run at the Australian Open.

Kasatkina matched her best performance in a major by reaching the quarterfinals with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Camila Giorgi.

The 20th-seeded Kasatkina saved a break point as she served for the match and clinched it on back-to-back unforced errors from Giorgi.

“I’m excited about the quarterfinals at Roland Garros, most important,” said Kasatkina, who reached the quarterfinals at the French Open and Wimbledon in 2018. “It doesn’t matter who is on the other side of the net.”

Keys’ loss kept the US from having four women advance to the quarterfinals at Roland Garros for the first time since 2002. Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion, and 18-year-old Coco Gauff already advanced Sunday.

Swiatek will be chasing a 32nd consecutive win against Zheng, aiming to equal the third-longest win streak on the women’s tour since 2000. Venus Williams leads that list with 35 in 2000, followed by Serena Williams with 34 in 2013 and Justine Henin with 32 in 2008.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.


Leave a Comment