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Top-seed Pegula, past champ Keys advance in Charleston Open

charleston open

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Top-seeded Jessica Pegula and past champion Madison Keys easily won second-round matches at the Charleston Open.

Pegula, the American ranked third in the world, needed less than 65 minutes to beat Anna Blinkova of Russia 6-2, 6-0.

Keys, an American who took this title in 2019, worked a couple of minutes more (69) to oust countrywoman Hailey Baptiste 6-1, 6-2 in the season’s opening clay-court tournament.

Defending champion Belinda Bencic of Switzerland ran past Canadian Katherine Sebov 6-0, 6-3.

Pegula said the tournament at the Credit One Tennis Center feels familiar to her since she used to train at the facility when she grew up on Hilton Head Island, about two hours south of Charleston.

“It was a fun kind of period of my life, like maturing and growing into my career, and, yeah, figuring things out,” she said. “So it was a great time, and I loved everyone here.”

Pegula used a strong service game and steady groundstrokes to win the first four games of the match. She finished winning more than 71% of her first serves and did not have a double fault.

“I guess that’s how you want to play first match on clay and with a quick turnaround coming off the hard court,” Pegula said. “So just glad I got a good win.”

Keys put on a dominant show as well, winning all six break points Baptiste had against her.

In other matches, No. 3 seed Daria Kasatkina of Russia topped Madison Brengle of the United States, 6-2, 6-1; seventh-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia defeated countrywoman Yulia Putintseva, 6-1, 6-3; eighth-seeded Magda Linette of Poland needed three sets to get past Varvara Gracheva of Russia, 6-7 (3), 7-5, 6-4; 12th-seeded Paula Badosa of Spain beat Canada’s Leylah Fernandez, 7-5, 7-6 (6); and 15th-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania defeated American Sofia Kenin, 6-1, 6-4.

Fifth-seeded Veronika Kudermetova of Russia fell to countrywoman Diana Shnaider, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3.