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Brady, Pegula set all-American

quarterfinal at Australian Open

Victoria Chiesa  |  February 15, 2021
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 15: Jessica Pegula of the United States plays a backhand in her Women's Singles fourth round match against Elina Svitolina of Ukraine during day eight of the 2021 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on February 15, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

The United States is guaranteed a women's singles semifinalist at the 2021 Australian Open thanks to the efforts of Jennifer Brady and Jessica Pegula.


Contrasting fourth-round victories on Monday in Melbourne earned the two good friends passage through to the quarterfinals, and by extension, a match against each other. First up on Rod Laver Arena, Pegula's best-ever Grand Slam run continued thanks to a hard-fought, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory over No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina, her first career win against a Top 10 player. 


"I can't get more confident, it is my best result yet and I'm playing good tennis. Today was a hard fought win, so [I'm] feeling pretty good," Pegula said after the match. "Jen is an awesome person. She's a great person. She was texting me, I'm so happy, I'm so proud. ADVERTISEMENT This is awesome... It's an opportunity for both of us. I'm just happy I'm here. She's been playing some good tennis, solidifying herself as a top player."


Following her into the last eight was No. 22 seed Brady, who defeated No. 28 seed Donna Vekic, 6-1, 7-5, to reach the quarterfinals for a second straight Slam. 


"Having the experience of making the semifinals... if I didn't have that experience already today, it would have been maybe a little bit tougher conditions mentally for me to close out the match. Maybe it wouldn't have gone my way, to be honest," Brady added.  "I think just the more matches you play, the further you go in tournaments, especially big tournaments, the more experience you gain, and then the more confidence you gain and then it helps you in those moments to believe in yourself and to close out matches."


Brady and Pegula have played once before: a 7-6(5), 6-4 win for the Buffalo native in the first round of last summer's Western & Southern Open played in New York. 


In the bottom half of the draw, Serena Williams' run to the last eight continued with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 win over No. 7 seed Aryna Sabalenka on Sunday, her first-ever meeting against Belarus' top-ranked player. Williams will next face No. 2 seed Simona Halep in the pair's first meeting since the Romanian defeated her in the 2019 Wimbledon final. In all, the American leads the head-to-head, 9-2. 


Finally in the women's draw, Charleston's Shelby Rogers saw her best-ever AO come to an end on Monday night at the hands of world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, 6-3, 6-4, in the last 16.


The women's doubles quarterfinalists also feature three Americans, but the trio will all share the court in the next round. Nicole Melichar and her partner Demi Schuurs, seeded No. 4, will face Coco Gauff and Caty McNally for a spot in the semifinals. On Monday, the American teens earned a second consecutive win over a seeded pair, ousting No. 9 seeds Alexa Guarachi and Desirae Krawczyk, 7-5, 6-3, after having surrendered just three games against No. 6 seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Gabriela Dabrowski in Round 2. Melichar and Schuurs did not lose a set in their first three matches. 


READ MORE: Nicole Melichar ready for new challenges in 2021


The U.S. is also represented among the men's doubles quarterfinalists by Rajeev Ram, as he and Brit Joe Salisbury continued towards their title defense with a 7-6, 7-6 win over John Peers and Michael Venus in the third round. The No.5 seeds will face unseeded Marcus Daniell and Philipp Oswald in the last eight, after the New Zealand-Austria pairing defeated the all-American team of Nicholas Monroe and Frances Tiafoe. In mixed, Krawczyk, Ram and Hayley Carter are all still alive in the draw. 


Finally, in the Quad wheelchair doubles draw, David Wagner his his partner Andy Lapthorne of Great Britain overcame Wagner's fellow American Nick Taylor and Japan's Koji Sugeno, 6-1, 6-4. Wagner and Lapthorne will next play for the title against top-seeded Aussies Dylan Alcott and Heath Davidson. 

For complete draws, schedules and results, visit the official Australian Open website.


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