US Open 2023: Jessica Pegula reduced to tears after US Open heartbreak, Ons Jabeur exits at hands of Qinwen Zheng

Qinwen Zheng reached the quarter-finals of the US Open after a statement victory against Ons Jabeur, but home favourite Jessica Pegula was eliminated in the fourth round.

Third seed Pegula lost in straight sets to fellow American Madison Keys on the Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Keys, who was runner-up at the US Open in 2017, swept to a 6-1 6-3 win, leaving Pegula in tears as she left the court.

Although Pegula has reached six Grand Slam quarter-finals – all since 2021 – she has never advanced past the last eight of any major tournament, despite her success on the WTA Tour.

Keys is into her first US Open quarter-final since 2018, when she reached the semis.

“This year I just have been trying honestly not to have any expectations and just go out and play tennis and just focus on that,” Keys said after the match.

“I feel like when I’m doing really well, my goals are much more based around trying to get to the net more or working on adding slices into sets or going more for my second serve.

“Things like that, where I have full control over those sorts of things instead of trying to have performance-based only [goals]. So my goals are a lot more trying to focus on what I’m trying to add to my game.”

The victory for Keys means she will face Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova next for a spot in the semi-finals as the final Grand Slam of the year edges to a close.

Wimbledon champion Vondrousova reached her first quarter-final at Flushing Meadows with victory over Peyton Stearns.

American Stearns took the opening set, but Vondrousova recovered to take the match to a decider.

The third set was a bridge too far for the unseeded Stearns who made 21 unforced errors as Vondrousova capitalised to take close out the win.

“She was playing great from the beginning, and I just tried to stay in the game,” Vondrousova said.

“I’m very happy. I actually didn’t expect it after Wimbledon – it was a lot of pressure. We’ll see what happens next.”

Following top seed Iga Swiatek’s defeat on Sunday and home favourite Pegula’s elimination on Monday, Jabeur made it three big-name exits within 24 hours after losing to Zheng.

Fifth seed Jabeur reached the final in New York last year and was eager to go one better at both the US Open and Wimbledon, where she lost in the final to Vondrousova.

But it was more disappointment for the Tunisian, who was outdone by a superior Zheng 6-2 6-3 as the 20-year-old became the youngest Chinese player in the Open Era to reach a quarter-final at a Grand Slam event

She will come up against either Daria Kasatkina or second seed – and soon-to-be world No.1 – Aryna Sabalenka in the next round.

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