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No. 1 seed Jessica Pegula reaches semifinals of San Diego Open

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Top-seeded Jessica Pegula beat Anna Blinkova 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 on Friday to advance to the semifinals of the San Diego Open.

Pegula, ranked No. 5 in the world, will face sixth-seeded Marta Kostyuk, who eliminated fourth-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in a rain-delayed quarterfinal.

“Anna’s always a really tough competitor,” Pegula said. “She makes you really have to earn it. I feel like I started out playing really well, then she changed up her game plan and started hitting a lot of high balls. I wasn’t stepping in and was getting frustrated. I reeled off some really bad errors for a couple of games there, but I managed to find my range.”

Pegula finished with 24 winners. She made 17 unforced errors, the majority of which came in the second set.

Third-seeded Emma Navarro advanced to the semifinals for the second year in a row by beating the last remaining qualifier, 113th-ranked Daria Saville, 6-4, 6-2. She’ll face Katie Boulter, who beat 2022 runner-up Donna Vekic 6-4, 6-3.

Navarro, the 2021 NCAA singles champion at Virginia, was trailing 1-4 in the opening set before reeling off five straight games to take control of the match.

“Someone in the crowd told me to wake up. I guess that was maybe the push I needed,” said the 22-year-old Navarro, who capitalized on eight of her 14 break-point opportunities. “It’s tough playing someone I’ve never played before. I was just kind of getting used to her game and putting together a strategy of how I wanted to play. It took me a little bit to find that, but I got there in the end. I’m happy with the win and excited to be moving forward.”

It will be Navarro’s fifth tour-level semifinal in less than a year. She won her first WTA title earlier this year at Hobart, Australia.

There will be no return trip to the semifinals for Vekic. The seventh seed was upset on a windy day by Boulter, who at No. 49 is Britain’s top-ranked player. Earlier this week, Boulter beat second-seeded Beatriz Haddad Maia 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

“It was an absolute battle,” said the 27-year-old Boulter, who overcame a 1-3 first-set deficit to reach the second tour-level semifinal of her career. “Very tricky conditions. Not easy to get any rhythm for either of us, because we’re both big hitters. I found it tough to kind of get into the match. I just tried to stay as strong as I could and somehow found a way over the line. I’m an aggressive player, so I do try to go for it no matter what the conditions are.”


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