Sat, 30 Sep 2023

PARIS, June 2 (Xinhua) -- World No. 3 Jessica Pegula became the highest-ranked women's player to date to fall at the French Open after suffering a third-round defeat to Belgium's Elise Mertens 6-1, 6-3 on Friday.

The 28th seed went into the match with two victories in as many clashes against Pegula, who has yet to go further than the quarterfinal stage at any Grand Slam tournament.

"I was very happy to win in two sets, I think I played well. I was delighted to play on this amazing court," said Mertens, who played the first match of the day on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Pegula's 28 unforced errors during an hour and 22 minutes fight were one of the reasons that crashed her play, compared with only 13 from her opponent.

Mertens held easily to take the opening set after just 26 minutes and when she broke Pegula in the first game in the second, it looked like she would cruise to the victory.

The 27-year-old seized all breakpoints, converting all five chances to secure a spot in the round of 16 at Roland Garros for a second consecutive year.

Next for Mertens will be the winner of an all-Russian tie between Anastasia Potapova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Second seed Ayrna Sabalenka of Belarus, eyeing her second Grand Slam title after winning the Australian Open earlier this year, soared into the fourth round with a comfortable 6-2, 6-2 victory over Russia's Kamilla Rakhimova in only one hour and seven minutes.

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