No.3 seed Jessica Pegula continued her strong play at the Australian Open, ousting No.20 seed Barbora Krejcikova 7-5, 6-2 in the Round of 16.
In a highly anticipated first meeting between two of last year's Australian Open quarterfinalists, it was World No.3 Pegula -- the highest-ranked player remaining in the field -- who prevailed over 2021 Roland Garros champion Krejcikova after 1 hour and 41 minutes of play.
More from Day 7:
- Rybakina upsets World No.1 Swiatek
- Ostapenko blitzes Gauff
- Pegula reaches third straight Melbourne quarterfinal
- Azarenka predicts big things for Zhu
- Day 7 by the numbers
- Swiatek ready to reset after loss
- Five things to know about Zhu Lin
- From Swiatek to Volynets, top Week 1 moments
Back to the elite eight: 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.
Pegula is now 5-0 in her fourth-round matches at Grand Slam events, although she is still aiming for her first win in a major quarterfinal.
Key moments: A break at love gave Pegula a 4-3 lead in the first set, and sturdy groundstrokes helped her reach double set point at 5-3. However, Krejcikova successfully chased down multiple drop shots and flustered Pegula with her creative replies, pulling back level to 5-5.
"I think the court felt a little bit faster than the other courts, which I think helped me a lot," Pegula said. "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 remained composed, and she converted her fifth break point of an 11-minute game with a passing winner to break again for a 6-5 lead. On her third set point, Pegula’s inside-out forehand clipped the corner to wrap up a closely contested opening frame.
"I thought it was really high level, first set especially," Pegula said. "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."
Pegula let 11 of her 13 break points in the first set go begging, but she was far more stingy with that stat in the second set, converting three of her five break points during that timeframe.
Still a long road ahead for Pegula: With No.1 Iga Swiatek's loss in in the fourth round, Pegula is now the highest-ranked player left in the draw.
"It feels like there's still a long ways to go, to be honest," Pegula said. "I look at the draw you have Rybakina who won Wimbledon last year, you have Vika [Azarenka] who does really well here, Caroline [Garcia] won the championships.
"It doesn't really feel like I'm the highest left, even though I guess that's a cool stat."
Up next: Bidding to make her first major semifinal, Pegula will next face two-time champion Azarenka, who finally ended Zhu Lin's run with a three-set win. Pegula has split her four meetings with Azarenka.