New Champ to be Crowned: Saville upsets defending champ and No.1 seed Pegula

August 3, 2022 03:51 PM

 

By: Ben Raby (www.twitter.com/benraby31)

SavilleCome Sunday, there will be a new women’s champion at the Citi Open.

In a second-round upset on Stadium Court, Australian Daria Saville (right) held off the reigning champion and World No.7 Jessica Pegula 7-5, 6-4.

“I just beat a Top-10 player, so I’m feeling pretty good,” Saville said in her post-match on-court interview. “I think if I keep going this way, I can go as far as the finals. That’s the goal.”

Saville was ranked as high as No.20 in the world in 2017, but injuries including a nagging Achilles issue limited her progress.

She ultimately missed most of 2021 after undergoing Achilles surgery, but Saville said Wednesday, the time away from Tour has given her a greater appreciation of Top-10 wins like her triumph over Pegula and the opportunities to play deep into tournaments like the Citi Open.

“The reason why I really wanted that surgery, I was like, ‘This is just not giving me a chance like to see my whole potential.’ Because I was hurting. So now I'm like, ‘Okay, you have a chance now every week to see how far you can go, how much improvement you can make. Like these little wins I take every single day or every single week.’

With her win over Pegula, Saville is through to her third quarterfinal of the year. Loftier goals remain.

“I think definitely there is opportunities,” she said of the remaining draw in DC.

“I think everyone here in the draw, I feel like everyone's attitude is, ‘Hey, I'm here to win the tournament.’ I'm no different. So I want to go as far as possible, and I am hoping to win the whole thing, you know. Like my attitude is, ‘Okay, let's go. Let's win the tournament.’

marinoSaville will next face Canadian qualifier Rebecca Marino (left) in the quarterfinals on Friday.

Marino followed her first-round win over Venus Williams by defeating Andrea Petkovic of Germany 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in the opening match Wednesday on John Harris Court. Including qualifying, all four of Marino’s wins this week have been three-set affairs.

“I guess it’s nice that I had the previous three-set matches to help me push through today,” said Marino, who is through to the Final-8 of a WTA-250 event for the first time since Quebec City in 2018.

“I feel like this is the next progression, the next step, coming through a 250 and getting some good wins,” she said. “Especially hardcourt season right now and the U.S. Open. This is where I want to be right now.”

Elsewhere in the women’s draw, Anna Kalinskaya advanced to the quarters when No.3 seed and two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep retired due to illness. At the time, Kalinskaya was leading 7-5, 2-0. Halep was competing in her first tournament since reaching the Wimbledon semifinals last month.

 

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