Australia handed the defending champion United States a 2-1 loss to win Group C to advance to the quarterfinals at the United Cup in Perth. Behind wins by Alex de Minaur in singles and WTA doubles No.1 Storm Hunter and Matthew Ebden in mixed doubles, Australia edged the United States to win the group.

Earlier in the evening, Alex de Minaur boosted Australia’s United Cup quarterfinal hopes when he overcame Taylor Fritz 6-4, 6-2 to give the home nation a 1-0 lead.

Pegula was made to work by Ajla Tomljanovic, but the World No.5 battled past the Australian to win 7-6(6), 6-3 at the United Cup in Sydney. The victory leveled the United States with Australia at 1-1 and sent the tie to a deciding mixed-doubles match.

Needing a straight-sets victory to win the group, Hunter and Ebden outplayed Pegula and Rajeev Ram to win 6-3, 6-1. Ebden and Hunter raised their hands in the air after triumphing, taking in the roars from the raucous crowd at RAC Arena. Australia will play the winner of Group E in the last eight on Wednesday evening in Perth.

Coming off a tough three-set loss to Katie Boulter in her season opener, Pegula faced down Tomljanovic to come back from a precarious deficit in each set to engineer her first win of the season. 

After failing to hold on to an early break lead in the opening set, Pegula found herself facing set points to Tomljanovic as she served down 5-4. The American quickly tapped into her trademark fighting qualities, wiping out three set points with courageous serving to hold.

Little separated the two in the tiebreak, but Pegula edged ahead at 6-5 to earn her first set point. Tomljanovic, who spent the bulk of the 2023 season on the sideline due to injury, kept Pegula in the extended set, saving two set points before finally relenting after 63 minutes.

Tomljanovic did not let her disappointment linger. She broke Pegula early in the second set and built a 3-1 lead before the American once again fought her off. Though she struggled to find her trademark consistency throughout the match, Pegula found her best ball-striking when it mattered. She clawed her way back from a break down to reel off four straight games to close out the physical 1-hour and 52-minute encounter.

"Both my matches have been long games, long rallies, really physical," Pegula said. "I'm glad I got those two good matches in and started the year with a win. That's always nice.

"She played great. It was a tough match. I had to figure things out, try to find my game a bit. I'm glad I was able to keep it in straight sets today and fight back against a lot of different momentum swings throughout the match. I think mentally it was also a good test for me."