Jessica Pegula Reaches French Open Quarterfinals; Madison Keys ousted


 Jessica Pegula Reaches French Open Quarterfinals;  Madison Keys ousted

Jessica Pegula became the third American to reach the quarterfinals at the French Open on Monday, but Madison Keys couldn’t join the party when she was sidelined after a sizzling start to her fourth-round match at Roland Garros.

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek dropped the opener before overtaking Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen 6-7 (5) 6-0 6-2 to earn her 32nd straight win – and with it the third longest win tied Streak on the women’s tour since 2000.

26-year-old Pegula, who is seeded 11th, will next face Swiatek in the quarterfinals.

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 reach her second consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal.

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.

Pegula, whose two previous rounds of the last eight came at Grand Slam tournaments last year and this year’s Australian Open, came to Paris with a 2-3 career record at the clay-court major with a third-round appearance .

The 31-year-old Begu, who had won her two past encounters against Pegula in straight sets, fell to 3-0 in fourth-round games at Majors. Previously during this French Open, she was fined $10,000 after throwing her racquet, which hit the stands and grazed a child in the stands.

Swiatek’s 20-set winning streak ended against Qinwen, but it didn’t matter as her match streak hit 32. Venus Williams tops this list at 35 in 2000, followed by Serena Williams at 34 in 2013 and Justine Henin at 32 in 2008.

Swiatek, the 2020 French Open champion, shrugged off an unusually problematic stretch and returned to beat 19-year-old Qinwen.

Swiatek led 3-0, 5-2 in the opener but failed to finish it, wasting five set points in total. In the tiebreak, Swiatek took five straight points to lead 5-2 – and the 74th Zheng responded by reeling off the next five points. That was the first sentence ceded by Swiatek since April 23.

Zheng’s movement wasn’t that great early in the second set and she took a medical time-out to get her upper right leg taped while she was 3-0 down. Swiatek snatched eight straight games to own the second set and take a 2-0 lead in the third, and didn’t let the lead slip away.

When it was over, she yelled “Come on!” and shook her right fist.

Earlier Monday, Keys completely lost control after a brilliant opening set, failing in a 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 loss to Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova in Paris.

Keys, the number 22 who reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros in 2018 and the quarter-finals the following year, was powerless against Kudermetova, who put Keys on the defensive with a heavy forehand on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Kudermetova has reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time.

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

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

“I tried to trust myself, to believe. That was my key,” said 29th-seeded Kudermetova, who will meet her compatriot 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 had not progressed past the third round in singles in any of her previous 12 major tournaments, broke in the opening game of the third set from a 40-0 deficit and, save for a service break in game four, controlled the rest of the match.

Keys was runner-up at the 2017 US Open and came from a semifinal at the Australian Open.

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

20th-seeded Kasatkina secured a break point when she served for the match and clinched it through consecutive unforced errors from Giorgi.

“I’m especially looking forward to the quarter-finals in Roland Garros,” said Kasatkina, who reached the quarter-finals at the French Open and Wimbledon in 2018. “It doesn’t matter who’s on the other side of the net.”

Keys’ defeat stopped USA from taking four women to the Roland Garros quarter-finals for the first time since 2002. Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion, and 18-year-old Coco Gauff already progressed on Sunday.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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