Three American men in final eight
  | By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo Credit: Mike Lawrence/USTA

 

Jessica Pegula is the highest remaining seed left in the Australian Open women’s singles draw, and the event’s lone American woman still alive in the tournament. Pegula reached her fifth major quarterfinal of her career on Sunday after defeating 20th seed Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic 7-5, 6-2.

Pegula has reached the quarterfinals in Melbourne each of the last three seasons, but the American has yet to reach a semifinal at any of the four majors. She hopes that changes this time around.

“I definitely want to reach a semi. It will be my first. I mean, I have a great shot here,” said Pegula. “I feel more confident, I feel more experience being in this position. I think I definitely feel maybe a bit more settled than I have in the past in those tournaments. I’ve been playing the best I have in any of my other Grand Slam quarterfinals. That I think helps. I think I feel more experience coming in here. I think my win today will give me a lot of confidence.”

The third-seeded Pegula will meet 24th seeded Victoria Azarenka, two-time Australian Open champion, for a spot in the final four. Azarenka came back from a set down to defeat China’s Lin Zhu to book her spot in the quarterfinals.

The other women’s quarterfinals will see Elena Rybakina face Jelena Ostapenko, Karolina Pliskova take on Magda Linnette, and Aryna Sabalenka square off against Donna Vekic.

While Pegula is the only American woman remaining, three American men are into the quarterfinals. Shelton ousted compatriot J.J. Wolf 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-2 on Monday in a battle of former college stars.

“It has been a dream so far. Thank you to everyone who came out today, you guys are the best,” said Shelton. “It was a grueling match. There were a lot of swings throughout the match, going to me and then him. I was focused on being energetic, trusting my fitness and hustling. I was courageous and I think I did a good job of competing at the highest level in the fifth set.”

Shelton blasted 64 winners in the three hour and 51 minute showdown. He takes on another American in the quarterfinals, Tommy Paul, who defeated Spaniard Roberto Bautista-Agut. Sebastian Korda is the third American man into the final eight and he will meet Russia’s Karen Khachanov.

In the other two men’s singles quarterfinals, nine-time champion Novak Djokovic plays fifth-seed Andrey Rublev, while third-seed Stefanos Tsitsipas will look to end the run of Jiri Lehecka of the Czech Republic.