US Open quarterfinals preview: Swiatek vs. Pegula, Pliskova vs. Sabalenka

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Black Friday

After Ons Jabeur and Caroline Garcia advanced to the US Open semifinals on Tuesday, we have the top half quarterfinal action scheduled for Wednesday: Iga Swiatek vs. Jessica Pegula and Karolina Pliskova vs. Aryna Sabalenka.

Iga Swiatek Jessica Pegula

Iga Swiatek [1] vs. Jessica Pegula [8] quarterfinal

Head-to-head: Swiatek leads 2-1

World No.1 Iga Swiatek is, just like Jessica Pegula, playing the US Open quarterfinals for the first time. While Swiatek is the only Grand Slam champion remaining in the draw, Pegula spent less time on the court than any player remaining in the top half.

The eighth-ranked Pegula has 21 hard-court wins this season, the third-most on the Hologic WTA Tour behind her upcoming opponent and Simona Halep. The American owns nine Top 10 victories in her career, including two at the majors. In the fourth round, she beat Petra Kvitova to register her first victory over a Grand Slam champion at one of the four majors.

Swiatek is the favorite in this match, but Pegula’s victory wouldn’t be a surprise either. Swiatek defeated Pegula in straight sets during title runs this season at Miami and Roland Garros, while Pegula recovered from a set and a break down to beat a teenage Swiatek en route to sole WTA title at the 2019 Washington DC. Facing the Top 10 opposition, Swiatek triumphed 12 times, including the last seven in succession.

When it comes to WTA rankings, Swiatek leads second-ranked Anett Kontaveit by 4245 points. Pegula has a chance to make a Top 5 debut after the US Open.

Karolina Pliskova Aryna Sabalenka

Karolina Pliskova [22] vs. Aryna Sabalenka [6] quarterfinal

Head-to-head: Tied at 2-2

The 2016 US Open runner-up Karolina Pliskova lost a lot of energy en route to the quarterfinals: she overcame a 4-1 deficit in the final set against Magda Linette in the first round, then recovered from 7-5 2-0 down against Belinda Bencic in the third round, and fought for more than three hours in the fourth round to beat Victoria Azarenka, her longest match since 2019.

Sabalenka has had her fair share of difficulties this fortnight in New York. She recovered from 6-2 5-1 down against Kaia Kanepi in the second round, saving two match points in second-set tiebreak, and battled for two and a half hours to beat Danielle Collins in three sets in the fourth round.

The sixth-seeded Sabalenka is bidding to win five matches in a row for the first time since last year’s semifinal run here at Flushing Meadows. Nine of her ten career titles came on hard courts and the US Open is her most successful Grand Slam.

By reaching the quarterfinals, the former world No.1 Pliskova is projected to return to the Top 20, while if she advances further, she’ll overtake Petra Kvitova as Czech No.1. The sixth-ranked Sabalenka will return to the Top 5 if she reaches the final.

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