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Madison Keys sweeps Jessica Pegula, into U.S. Open quarterfinals

Madison Keys

USA’s Madison Keys reacts after defeated USA’s Jessica Pegula during the US Open tennis tournament women’s singles round of 16 match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City, on September 4, 2023. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP) (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

Madison Keys overpowered fellow American Jessica Pegula 6-1, 6-3 in just over an hour Monday to move into the U.S. Open quarterfinals.

Keys, the No. 17 seed and 2017 runner-up at Flushing Meadows, converted on 77% of her first-serve points and used powerful ground strokes to keep rallies short — a little over three strokes on average — to make quick work of her third-seeded opponent and close friend.

Keys said it was tough playing a friend but “at the end of the day we both want to win. We’re all business on the court.”

For Pegula, it marked yet another Grand Slam disappointment. She has advanced to the quarterfinals in each major tournament but has yet to reach the final four.

U.S. OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men

Keys’ quarterfinals opponent will be ninth-seeded Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic, who came back to beat unseeded American Peyton Stearns 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-2 to keep her dream alive of a second straight Grand Slam title after winning Wimbledon in July.

“I actually didn’t expect it after Wimby, there was a lot of pressure,” Vondrousova said in her postmatch interview. “Let’s see what happens next.”

Carlos Alcaraz had little trouble beating unseeded Matteo Arnaldi 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals, the third time in as many appearances he’s gotten at least that far at Flushing Meadows.

The No. 1-seeded Alcaraz, who is seeking to defend his title after winning Wimbledon in July, said afterward that he now prefers hard courts over any other surface and also likes playing under the Arthur Ashe Stadium roof. He enjoyed both against the 61st-ranked Arnaldi, an Italian who proved little match for Alcaraz’s power, which produced 31 winners.

By advancing to the round of eight, the 20-year-old Spaniard became the youngest player to reach three U.S. Open quarterfinals in the open era that dates to 1968 and the only player other than Andre Agassi to do so before turning 21.

Alcaraz next faces the winner of the night match on Ashe between sixth-seeded Jannik Sinner and No. 12-seeded Alexander Zverev.

In Louis Armstrong Stadium, eighth-seeded Andrey Rublev of Russia slugged his way past Jack Draper of Britain 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to advance to his fourth U.S. Open quarterfinals and the ninth Grand Slam quarterfinals of his career.

He will await the winner of the match later between third-seeded Daniil Medvedev, the 2021 U.S. Open champion, and 13th-seeded Alex de Minaur.