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.

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek, meanwhile, dropped the first set before getting past Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen, 6-7 (5), 6-0, 6-2, for her 32nd consecutive win — tying the third third-longest win streak on the women’s tour since 2000.

The 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 advance to her second straight 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 runs to the round of eight at Grand Slam tournaments came at the Australian Open last year and this year, 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.

Swiatek’s 20-set winning streak came to an end against Qinwen, but it was of no matter as her match streak reached 32. Venus Williams leads that list with 35 in 2000, followed by Serena Williams with 34 in 2013 and Justine Henin with 32 in 2008.

Swiatek, the 2020 French Open champion, shook off an uncharacteristically problematic stretch and came back to beat the 19-year-old Qinwen.

Swiatektook leads of 3-0 and 5-2 in the first set but couldn’t close it out, wasting five set points in all. In the tiebreaker, Swiatek claimed five consecutive points to lead 5-2 — and the 74th-ranked Zheng responded by reeling off the next five points. That was the first set ceded by Swiatek since April 23.

Zheng’s movement was not as good at the start of the second set and she took a medical timeout to have her upper right leg tapped while down 3-0. Swiatek grabbed eight straight games to own the second set and take a 2-0 lead in the third and would not let the lead slip away.

When it ended, she screamed “Come on!” and shook her right fist.

Earlier Monday, 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.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.


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