Third seed Jessica Pegula and former finalist Madison Keys each punched their tickets into the second round of the U.S. Open with routine victories on Tuesday that bolstered hopes for a homegrown winner at the year’s final Grand Slam.
Pegula, whose U.S. Open tune-up included a triumph in Montreal just over two weeks ago, earned a 6-2 6-2 victory over Italy’s Camila Giorgi shortly after 2017 runner-up Keys beat Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus 6-2 6-4.
An American woman has not won the U.S. Open since Sloane Stephens beat compatriot Keys in the 2017 final but Pegula has shown she just may be hitting her stride at the perfect time after making light work of world number 52 Giorgi.
“I think we are all hoping that we hit the right form going into a slam, especially if you get through the first week trying to hit that stride in the second week,” Pegula said during her on-court interview in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“But you never really know what’s going to happen. Tennis is so day-to-day, you can feel great one week and then you can feel terrible the next. So you are just tying to really get through the first few rounds and try and get better each match.”
Pegula showcased top-quality footwork and movement as she went up a double-break for a 5-2 lead in the opening set before serving out with a hold to love that she punctuated with a stinging backhand winner down the line.
In the second set, Pegula struck first when she converted her seventh break chance of a 26-point game that lasted 18 minutes to open up a 3-2 lead and then broke again before closing it on her serve with a hold to love.
At Louis Armstrong Stadium, Keys went up a double break for an early 3-0 lead en route to sealing the opener in 32 minutes and never looked back as the American 17th seed got the break she needed for a 3-2 lead in the second before relying on her serve the rest of the way.
Garcia ousted by by Chinese qualifier
Caroline Garcia’s hopes of making another deep run at the U.S. Open came to a quick end as the French seventh seed suffered a shock 6-4 6-1 first round loss to Chinese qualifier Yafan Wang on Tuesday.
Garcia, a semi-finalist at Flushing Meadows last year who went on to claim the biggest title of her career two months later at the WTA Finals, was undone by 34 unforced errors against world number 114 Wang.
With the loss, Garcia will fall from the top 10 of the rankings to outside the top 20.
Wang, a former world number 47 who missed seven months of action in 2022 and was ranked 696th in March, has a 57-10 across all levels this year, including titles in five ITF events and the WTA 125 tournament in Stanford two weeks ago.
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