May 29th, 2024

Jessica Pegula advances to Charleston Open quarterfinals. Collins tops defending champ Jabeur

By The Associated Press on April 4, 2024.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – Top-seeded Jessica Pegula advanced to the quarterfinals of the Charleston Open on Thursday, and Miami Open champion Danielle Collins continued her strong form, beating defending champion Ons Jabeur in three sets.

The fifth-ranked Pegula, who reached the semifinals last year, had little trouble beating Magda Linette 6-2, 6-2. Pegula will face Victoria Azarenka for a spot in the last four at the clay-court tournament.

“I think I served really smart and I was playing well in these conditions, which were really tricky,” Pegula said. “And luckily, I was able to play the controlled, aggressive mentality in the wind and I was kind of able to pressure her.”

Azarenka rallied to defeat Taylor Townsend 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4.

Jabeur, ranked sixth, lost her opening match for a fourth consecutive tournament. Jabeur is 2-6 this season after the 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 loss to Collins.

Collins lost her first set at Miami last month before winning the next 16 on the way to the championship. She had to play again Thursday night against Sloane Stephens for a spot in the quarterfinals.

The tournament had a six-hour rain delay Wednesday, with several second-round matches getting pushed to early Thursday.

Collins said Jabeur is a tricky player with several slices and shots that force her opponents to stay mentally ready.

“I have a little bit of experience with that, so I definitely knew how to handle it, and handled it the best as I could,” Collins said. “Then just stayed mentally resilient.”

Jabeur said she ran into a player on a big-time roll.

“It’s tough to play players that have confidence and Danielle is playing really good,” Jabeur said.

Stephens, the 2016 champion here, topped Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-4.

Other early winners included Elina Svitolina, who beat Daria Saville 6-2, 6-4, and Elise Mertens, who defeated Varvara Gracheva 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.

Jaqueline Cristian, playing Charleston for the first time, defeated her second top-20 player this week. She followed a win over 18th-ranked Madison Keys by beating No. 20 Emma Navarro 6-3, 5-7, 6-1.

Cristian led 5-4 in the second set before Navarro fought off two match points and took the set. The Romanian quickly shook it off.

“You’re ready for it. You live in the present,” Cristian said. “You don’t worry about what happened in the second set or the first, just the point itself.”

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AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis

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