American Jessica Pegula has stunned Ukranian fifth seed Elina Svitolina in three sets, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, to advance to the quarter finals of the Australian Open.
- Jessica Pegula had not beaten a top-10 opponent in her career before her victory over Elina Svitolina
- Pegula will face either Jennifer Brady or Donna Vekic in her maiden grand slam quarter final
- Ash Barty is now the only seed in the top 10 in her half of the draw
In a seesawing contest featuring seven breaks of serve, the 61st-ranked Pegula held her nerve to reach her maiden grand slam quarter final against the two-time slam semi-finalist.
“Credit to Elina for a good match,” Pegula said to Channel 9 afterwards.
“I really admire how she is on the court. She put her head down and always fights so [that is] definitely something I tried to do today.
“I am happy to be through.”
Pegula pushed the boundaries during a fearless victory, countering 40 unforced errors with 31 winners — Svitolina hit 19 winners and made 25 unforced errors — off the back of an accurate first serve.
“I am hitting the ball well and I am serving well which is really important, especially against top players,” the 26-year-old said.
“Any extra free point you can get is huge.”
Pegula’s victory is just her first over a top-10 opponent in her career from six previous matches.
“I am happy that I am competing well, getting well, moving well and I feel good and everything feels pretty solid,” she said.
“I am just going to take it to the next match.”
That match will be against either her fellow countrywoman, 22nd seed Jennifer Brady, or Croatian number 28 seed, Donna Vekic.
Svitolina’s exit means another seed on Ash Barty’s side of the draw has been knocked out of the tournament.
Barty is now the only seed inside the top ten remaining on her half of the draw.