WIMBLEDON, England -- There’s something about the fourth round of a Grand Slam that agrees with Jessica Pegula’s game.
On Sunday, the American won for the sixth time in six tries, defeating Lesia Tsurenko 6-1, 6-3 to advance to her sixth major quarterfinal in less than three years. Now, can Pegula take the next step and reach her first Grand Slam singles semifinal with a victory over Marketa Vondrousova on Tuesday?
Pegula is only the fifth American woman to reach the quarters at all four majors in the past quarter century, joining Venus and Serena Williams, Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens.
“To say that I’ve done that at all four is something I’ve wanted to say,” Pegula told reporters later. “Obviously I hope I can do more than that.
“But at the same time, it's pretty cool to say that I’ve done that at every slam. Just the last couple of years to be able to accomplish all of that is pretty crazy. Especially here, I feel like Wimbledon is really special to make the final eight as well. It was definitely a goal. Yeah, I’m really happy I get to kind of mark that off.”
And while there has been much discussion regarding the new Big Three, Pegula is holding down the No.4 spot quite nicely. She’s now won 33 matches this year -- joining No.1 Iga Swiatek, No.2 Aryna Sabalenka and No.3 Elena Rybakina as the only women to crack the 30-win barrier.
“I mean, everyone knows I’ve been very consistent,” Pegula said. “To go a little bit further is obviously the goal. I would definitely love to crash the Big Three party, if possible. That would be definitely a goal.”
Tsurenko, the oldest player left in the women’s draw at 34, is ranked No.60. Pegula -- remarkably consistent -- has won 20 of her past 22 major matches against players ranked outside the Top 50. Tsurenko had won their only previous meeting, four years ago in Indian Wells.
4 - Jessica Pegula conceded only four games in victory over Lesia Tsurenko. The four games are the equal-least Pegula has conceded in a single match at Wimbledon, conceding as many against Caroline Garcia - R128 2021. Zone.#Wimbledon | @Wimbledon @WTA @WTA_insider pic.twitter.com/vB988IfsLH— OptaAce (@OptaAce) July 9, 2023
Tsurenko, who lost 11 of the first 13 games, rallied to break Pegula and close it to 5-3 in the second set. Serving at 40-all, Tsurenko took a medical timeout for what appeared to be a blister on her right foot. Two points later, Pegula was the winner.
Pegula broke Tsurenko’s serve five times and was broken herself only once. The match required only 75 minutes, a windfall for Pegula since she and Coco Gauff are still alive as the second-seeded team in women’s doubles.
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Pegula and Vondrousova have never played.
In four previous appearances at the All England Club, Vondrousova won only a single match. Now she’s a perfect 4-for-4 and into a singles quarterfinal of a Grand Slam for only the second time after coming back to defeat Marie Bouzkova 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.
There now has been at least one unseeded quarterfinalist at Wimbledon every year since 2008. Vondrousova could be joined by Elina Svitolina, who plays Victoria Azarenka, and Mirra Andreeva, who meets Madison Keys in a fourth-round match on Monday.
In the second round, Bouzkova ended the singles career of Anett Kontaveit, 6-1, 6-2. The No.32 seed followed that up with a three-set upset of No.5 Caroline Garcia. Vondrousova had knocked off two seeds, No.12 Veronika Kudermetova and No.20 Donna Vekic on her way to the fourth round.
In a matchup of two 24-year-olds from the Czech Republic, Vondrousova’s firepower was the difference. Far less averse to risk than Bouzkova, she finished with 37 winners -- and survived 44 unforced errors.
Going in, Vondrousova knew that Bouzkova would get a lot of balls back and that patience would be critical.
“I just wanted to stay in the match and maybe be more active and going for the volleys and everything,” Vondrousova told reporters later. “I think the match had everything. We had such long rallies. I think also very physical. I’m just very happy that I made it.”
A finalist at Roland Garros in 2019, Vondrousova was one of three Czechs to reach the fourth round. Petra Kvitova will try to join her in the quarterfinals when she plays Ons Jabeur on Monday.