Pegula cruises into DC quarterfinals; Garcia upset

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WASHINGTON — Jessica Pegula rolled into the quarterfinals at the DC Open by beating fellow American Peyton Stearns in straight sets Thursday.

The fourth-ranked women’s player in the world and tournament’s top seed shook off a slow start and overpowered Stearns on the way to a 6-3, 6-4 victory. The Buffalo native next plays Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina on Friday for a spot in the semifinals.

Pegula won this event in Washington in 2019, one of the 29-year-old’s two career singles titles. She’s coming off a quarterfinal loss at Wimbledon and an exit in the round of 32 at the French Open.

The big upset of the day came just before Pegula and Stearns stepped onto stadium court. Sixth-ranked Caroline Garcia, the tournament’s second seed, got knocked out in the round of 16 by Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk 6-2, 6-3.

Fans waved Ukraine’s blue and yellow flag in the stands after Kostyuk broke Garcia to win the match. She joined wild card Elina Svitolina as women’s players from the war-torn country to reach the quarterfinals in Washington, with Kostyuk set to play Liudmila Samsonova from Russia on Friday for a spot in the semis.

On the men’s side of the draw, fifth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov advanced to the quarterfinals by beating Emil Ruusuvuori 6-4, 6-3, and J.J. Wolf beat Michael Mmoh 6-4, 7-6 (5). No. 1 seed Taylor Fritz is set to face three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray in prime time.

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