For the third straight year, Jessica Pegula is into the Australian Open quarterfinals.
The 28-year-old American won in straight sets Sunday over Barbora Krejčíková. The No. 3 seed next will face off against Victoria Azarenka at 3 a.m. ET Tuesday in hopes of making her first semifinal at the Melbourne major.
All eyes will be on Pegula, as she is the lone American woman – and the highest seed – left in the women’s singles draw.
So what is Pegula’s path to the title? Just Women’s Sports breaks it down.
A former world No. 1, Azarenka has made the final at the Australian Open twice before in 2008 and 2011, but the 33-year-old has not made a major final since 2019. This year’s quarterfinal appearance marks her best run at the Australian Open since 2016 and her first appearance past the fourth round in a major since the 2020 US Open.
Azarenka and Pegula have faced off five times prior to this. Their most recent meeting came at the 2022 Guadalajara Open, which Pegula won in straight sets. She went on to win the title at the October tournament.
"I absolutely adore her." 🥰Rocking the sunglasses, @vika7 looks ahead to her quarterfinal against good friend @JLPegula. 😎#AusOpen • #AO2023 pic.twitter.com/igwmLY29Y6— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2023
"I absolutely adore her." 🥰Rocking the sunglasses, @vika7 looks ahead to her quarterfinal against good friend @JLPegula. 😎#AusOpen • #AO2023 pic.twitter.com/igwmLY29Y6
The good news is that Pegula won’t have to go up against world No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the semifinal after Swiatek lost her round of 16 matchup. Instead, she’ll face off against either Rybakina or Ostapenko.
Rybakina won Wimbledon last year and is fresh off taking out Swiatek in a dominant, straight-set win. But Pegula has beaten Rybakina in both of their previous matchups, including a win at the 2022 Guadalajara Open.
Ostapenko, meanwhile, is a former French Open champion who is on a career-best run at the Australian Open. She ousted No. 7 seed Coco Gauff in the fourth round but has lost twice to Pegula in her career. She won their most recent meeting, though, at the Qatar Open in 2021.
The highest seed left in the draw besides Pegula is No. 5 Sabalenka, who took out Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic in the fourth round. The 24-year-old Belarusian has beaten Pegula four times, most recently at the WTA Finals in Fort Worth in November.
Other possible opponents for Pegula in the championship match include Madga Linette, who took out No. 4 seed Caroline Garcia, as well as Donna Vekic and former world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova.