World No.5 Jessica Pegula made a winning return to competition on Wednesday at the Cymbiotika San Diego Open, easing past German qualifier Jule Niemeier 6-0, 6-4 in the Round of 16. 

Pegula will face either Anna Blinkova or Dayana Yastremska. A victory would boost Pegula into her first semifinal of the season.

Playing her first match since a second-round exit at the Australian Open in January, Pegula lost just nine points in the first set and built a 6-0, 5-1 lead before Niemeier began to find her range. The German, ranked No.126, powered through the next three games to close the gap. But the top seed finally closed out the win after 64 minutes, finishing it in style with an outstanding backhand pass.

"I haven't played a tournament since Australian Open, so I knew I was going to be a little nervous and things were going to be weird," Pegula said. "But then I came out playing really well. I don't think she was playing her best but I came out really strong.

"I know she's the type of player who can make some really good shots, she has a lot of power and she's super crafty. I knew if I gave her a chance she was going to try and make a run there at the end, which she did. I'm lucky that I'm standing here talking to you guys and not battling it out at the end of the second set."

Earlier in the evening, Katie Boulter and Daria Saville each came back from a set down to advance. No.49 Boulter notched the upset of the tournament so far, handing No.2 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia her third consecutive loss. Boulter rallied to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to advance to her first WTA 500 quarterfinal.

Highlights: Saville d. Maria | Boulter d. Haddad Maia | Kostyuk d. Preston

The victory was Boulter's second Top 20 win of the season, having defeated Pegula at the United Cup. She will face either 2022 finalist Donna Vekic or Canadian qualifier Marina Stakusic.

Saville scored the most dramatic win of the day, saving a match point to overcome Tatjana Maria 5-7, 7-6(2), 6-2 and advance to her first WTA 500 quarterfinal since 2022. Ranked No.148, the Australian came through qualifying and has secured back-to-back main-draw wins for the first time since making the Hobart semifinals in January. She will face either No.3 seed Emma Navarro or Katerina Siniakova.