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2023 Miami Open: Eubanks makes Top 100 breakthrough, Pegula reaches QFs
As the 2023 Miami Open enters the home stretch, four Americans are still standing in the singles draws. It's no surprise to see third seed Jessica Pegula in the women's quarterfinals, or seeded men Taylor Fritz and Tommy Paul in the fourth round. But the biggest story is qualifier Chris Eubanks and his breakout run to the last 16.
By picking up his fifth win of the tournament, including two qualifying victories, Eubanks has set himself up to crack the ATP's Top 100 for the first time.
The 26-year-old backed up a three-set upset of 17th seed Borna Coric with a 6-3, 7-6(7) triumph against Gregoire Barrere in the third round. Eubanks' matchup with the Frenchman was delayed by rain with the American trailing 5-2 in the second-set tiebreak.
When play resumed after nearly two hours, Eubanks saved five set points before clinching the victory that sealed his Top 100 breakthrough.
“The past few weeks have been really, really tough just because I’ve been kind of thinking about Top 100 and everything,” Eubanks said post-match, as quoted on ATPTour.com. “I had some losses that I shouldn’t have [had] and I was really second-guessing a lot about my game and everything.”
Through tears, he later added: “Wow, it feels good. It feels good.”
Eubanks will hope to extend his dream run when he takes on another Frenchman in Adrian Mannarino Tuesday night in the fourth round.
In the top half of the draw, Fritz and Paul will also be in action on Tuesday, when the entirety of the men's fourth round will be played. The Americans will meet in the quarters if both advance.
Ninth seed Fritz, a 6-4, 6-1 winner against Denis Shapovalov in the third round, takes on seventh seed Holger Rune.
Paul beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, 6-3, 7-5, to set up a fourth-round showdown with world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz. The 16th seed will bid to improve to 2-0 against the Spaniard after his three-set win last August in Montreal. The defending champion in Miami, Alcaraz must retain his title to remain ahead of Novak Djokovic atop the ATP rankings.
In the women's singles draw, Pegula is flying the flag for Team USA in the quarterfinals. The American has not lost a set in her three Miami wins, the latest a 6-1, 7-5 victory against 20th seed Magda Linette on Monday.
"Definitely very happy to get it done in straight sets. It's always nice when you're able to do that," Pegula said in her post-match press conference. "It was kind of a weird match. I had strings of games where I was playing really well, then a little bit off. For the most part was able string together good games, so that's always a good sign."
Three wins away from her third WTA singles title, Pegula will play 27th seed Anastasia Potapova on Tuesday night for a place in the semis. The American holds a 3-0 head-to-head advantage over her 21-year-old opponent, including a three-set win earlier this month in Indian Wells.
Should Pegula advance, reigning Indian Wells champion Elena Rybakina or 25th seed Martina Trevisan would await in the next round.
In Miami doubles action, two all-American men's teams are into the quarterfinals. Paul and Ben Shelton knocked off second seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury, 6-3, 6-4, to reach that stage, where they are joined by Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow. In opposite halves of the draw, the two pairs could meet in the final. Austin Krajicek is also into the quarters with French partner Nicolas Mahut.
Second seeds Pegula and Coco Gauff are through to the women's doubles quarters, alongside Americans Nicole Melichar-Martinez (with Ellen Perez), Taylor Townsend (with Leylah Fernandez) and Bernarda Pera (with Linette).
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