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Jessica Pegula Makes First Career Grand Slam Quarterfinal With Upset Victory At Australian Open

By Todd Kortemeier | Feb. 15, 2021, 3:10 p.m. (ET)

Jessica Pegula celebrates winning match point in her Women's Singles fourth round match at the 2021 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Feb. 15, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia.


Jessica Pegula not only scored her first career victory over a top 10 opponent Monday at the Australian Open, she booked her first appearance at the quarterfinals of any Grand Slam event.

The 26-year-old upset No. 5 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to become one of three U.S. women to advance out of the tournament’s fourth round. Pegula, ranked 61st, had been 0-6 lifetime against top 10 opponents. But apart from losing four games in a row in the second set she lost, Pegula controlled the match well against Svitolina, a two-time quarterfinalist in Melbourne. 

Pegula was already having a career-best tournament by reaching the fourth round, besting the third-round performance she turned in at last year’s US Open. Up next is Jennifer Brady in an all-American matchup for a spot in the semifinals. Brady, No. 22, knocked off No. 28 Donna Vekic of Croatia to reach the quarters. The other U.S. woman to advance was No. 10 Serena Williams who beat No. 7 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Not since 2017 have three U.S. women advanced to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open. That year it was Williams beating sister Venus for the title, to date the most recent Grand Slam victory for the all-time great.

On the men’s side, Michael McDonald fell to fourth-seeded Daniil Medvedev in straight sets, leaving no U.S. men left in the singles tournament. 

Todd Kortemeier

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.