WASHINGTON: Australia’s Daria Saville upset top-seeded defending champion Jessica Pegula 7-5, 6-4 on Wednesday at the ATP and WTA Washington Open, where Hubert Hurkacz and Simona Halep also exited. World number 88 Saville ripped the seventh-ranked American in hot and humid conditions while Romanian third seed Halep retired with illness down 7-5, 2-0 to Anna Kalinskaya.
“I stayed really composed,” Saville said. “I managed the energy really well. It was very hot. But I thought it’s hot for everyone so get on with it.” Polish second seed Hurkacz crashed out in his second-round match at the US Open hardcourt tuneup, falling to Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori 6-4, 7-6 (7/3).
Wimbledon runner-up Nick Kyrgios of Australia defeated US 14th seed Tommy Paul 6-3, 6-4 to book a third-round date with US fourth seed Reilly Opelka. World number 63 Kyrgios, whose most recent title came at Washington in 2019, broke to open and close the first set. Paul’s fourth double fault gave the Aussie a match point and his forehand shot beyond the baseline gave Kyrgios the victory in 85 minutes.
Saville booked a quarter-final match against Canadian qualifier Rebecca Marino, who beat Germany’s Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. The 28-year-old Russian-born Aussie won her only WTA title at the 2017 Connecticut Open but dispatched Pegula in 98 minutes for her second top-10 win of the year after downing Ons Jabeur at Indian Wells in March.
“Everyone’s attitude is I’m here to win the tournament and I’m no different,” Saville said. “I’m playing really good tennis right now. I’m excited for more.” Saville fell to 627th in the world rankings after Achilles tendon surgery that sidelined her for most of last year. Now she’s into her third quarter-final of the year after Miami and Guadalajara. “I’m happy,” Saville said. “It creates good reputation. Players are going to say, ‘She’s playing well. She has some good wins this year.'”
Ruusuvuori, set to rise one shy of his career-high to 43rd in the world rankings, denied Hurkacz on all four break-point chances to advance after one hour and 44 minutes. “I just tried to hang in there and stay as tough as can,” Ruusuvuori said. “Long rallies, they really drain you and you start to feel dizzy during the points. Very tough.” His third-round foe will be Sweden’s Mikael Ymer, who ousted 15th seed Aslan Karatsev 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 after eliminating three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray in round one.
Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka ousted Aussie 11th seed Alex De Minaur 3-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-2. The world number 96 will next face seventh seed Karen Khachanov. US third seed Taylor Fritz beat Australia’s Alexei Popyrin 6-4, 6-3 to book a third-round match against British 16th seed Daniel Evans. World number 13 Fritz comes off a five-set Wimbledon quarter-final loss to Rafael Nadal and two weeks in a boot with a stress fracture in his left foot. “It has felt great. No pain at all. It’s a really good sign,” Fritz said. “Gives me a lot of confidence moving forward.”
In another development, second-seeded Paula Badosa survived a scare on the way to a 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 (7/5) victory over US qualifier Elizabeth Mandlik on Wednesday in the WTA hardcourt tournament in San Jose, California. After comfortably pocketing the first set with two breaks of serve, Spain’s Badosa went down an early break in the second against her 240th-ranked opponent, who is the daughter of four-time Grand Slam champion Hana Mandlikova. She broke back, but was broken again in the 11th game to give Mandlik a chance to serve out the set and extend the match.
After breaking for a 4-3 lead in the third, Mandlik twice had a chance to serve for the set, but they traded service breaks in the final three games to send it to the tiebreaker, in which world number four Badosa won the last five points to seal the victory. Badosa will next face the winner of Thursday night’s marquee clash between four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka and sixth-seeded American Coco Gauff.
Japanese superstar Osaka is unseeded as she plays her first tournament since falling in the first round of the French Open, where she was battling a left Achilles tendon injury. Gauff, the French Open runner-up, is seeded sixth. Third-seeded Tunisian star Ons Jabeur, playing her first match since her historic runner-up finish at Wimbledon, pulled away late to beat American Madison Keys 7-5, 6-1. Jabeur will face either Veronika Kudermetova or Claire Liu in Friday’s quarter-finals. Jabeur got off to a strong start with an early break for a 2-0 lead before Keys surged to a 5-3 lead.
Jabeur responded by winning 10 of the next 11 games. “I’m grateful that I played at night because it’s slower and it helps me a little bit with the conditions,” Jabeur said. “I knew it was going to be a tough match for me. I just tried to stay low and hit the ball as much as I can. Make her play another ball and in the end I was feeling much better.” American Amanda Anisimova beat Czech Karolina Pliskova for the first time in five attempts to reach the quarter-finals. Anisimova trailed by a set and a break on the way to a 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 victory. Seventh-seeded Daria Kasatkina also advanced, beating American Taylor Townsend 6-4, 6-0. – AFP