Australia’s Daria Saville upset top-seeded defending champion Jessica Pegula 7-5, 6-4 on Wednesday at the Washington Open.
World No. 88 Saville ripped the seventh-ranked American in hot and humid conditions while Romanian third seed Simona Halep retired with illness down 7-5 2-0 to Anna Kalinskaya.
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“I stayed really composed,” Saville said.
“I managed the energy really well. It was very hot. But I thought it’s hot for everyone so get on with it.”
Saville booked a quarterfinal match against Canadian qualifier Rebecca Marino, who beat Germany’s Andrea Petkovic 6-3 3-6 6-1.
The 28-year-old Russian-born Aussie won her only WTA title at the 2017 Connecticut Open but dispatched Pegula in 98 minutes for her second top-10 win of the year after downing Ons Jabeur at Indian Wells in March.
“Everyone’s attitude is I’m here to win the tournament and I’m no different,” Saville said. “I’m playing really good tennis right now. I’m excited for more.”
Saville fell to 627th in the world rankings after Achilles tendon surgery that sidelined her for most of last year.
Now she is into her third quarter-final of the year after Miami and Guadalajara.
“I’m happy,” Saville said.
“It creates good reputation. Players are going to say, ‘She’s playing well. She has some good wins this year’.”
On the men’s side of the draw, Nick Kyrgios defeated Tommy Paul in straight sets to move into the round of 16 and continue his strong form ahead of the US Open.
It wasn’t such good news elsewhere among the Australian contingent in Washington, with Alexei Popyrin and Alex de Minaur losing to Taylor Fritz and Yoshihito Nishioka, respectively.