World No. 3 Jessica Pegula, the highest-ranked player remaining in the draw, reached the last eight of the Australian Open, getting the better of No. 20 seed Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic 7-5, 6-2 in a Round-of-16 clash here at John Cain Arena on Sunday.
In a highly-anticipated first meeting between two of last year’s Australian Open quarterfinalists, it was Pegula, who prevailed over 2021 Roland Garros champion Krejcikova after 1 hour and 41 minutes of play.
“I think the court felt a little bit faster than the other courts, which I think helped me a lot. Tried to not give her a lot of time to set up and angle me off the court, where she can work the court really well. Her court sense is really good,” Pegula said.
“I thought it was really high level, first set especially. Got a little tricky there trying to close that first set out. It’s tough when you play someone that has a lot of experience, that it can flip a match. I’m glad that I was able to fight and win that first set, then kind of go on a roll from there,” she added.
Pegula is into the quarterfinals in Melbourne for the third straight year. She had her Grand Slam breakthrough here in 2021 as an unseeded player, then backed it up last year to kick off a season where she also reached the same round at Roland Garros and the US Open.
Ever since Pegula started making second weeks at majors, she has been perfect in the Round of 16. The 28-year-old is now 5-0 in her fourth-round matches at Grand Slam events, although she is still aiming to garner her first match-win in a major quarterfinal.
Bidding to make her first major semifinal, Pegula will face either two-time champion Victoria Azarenka or Zhu Lin.