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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Rybakina, Pegula dig deep to stay alive in Adelaide

Elena Rybakina
Elena Rybakina
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ADELAIDE, Australia: World number three Elena Rybakina and fifth-ranked Jessica Pegula ground out wins at the Adelaide International on Wednesday to book their spots in the quarterfinals.


Coming off the back of crushing Aryna Sabalenka to lift the Brisbane International title on Sunday, top seed Rybakina had to battle hard to get past Spain's Cristina Busca 6-3, 7-5.


The Russian-born Kazakh, aiming for a deep run at the upcoming Australian Open, will face either Veronika Kudermetova or Ekaterina Alexandrova for a place in the semifinals.


Pegula rallied from a slow start to overcome Bernarda Pera and set up a quarter-final against 2021 French Open finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.


The second seed needed two-and-a-quarter hours to win the all-American battle 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.


"I stayed relaxed and tried not to get frustrated. I want to keep improving and have a good mindset," said Pegula.


"It's a brand new year and I want to find my confidence for the Australian Open."


Pegula has made the quarterfinals at the Australian Open in each of the past three tournaments.


Pavlyuchenkova defeated Katerina Siniakova 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 to keep her tournament hopes alive.


Laura Siegemund, part of Germany's United Cup winning team, advanced past Romanian Ana Bogdan 6-4, 7-5 with either Anna Kalinskaya or Daria Kasatkina awaiting her in the last eight.


Meanwhile, Latvia's former French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko proved too good for France's Caroline Garcia, coming through 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 and will next play Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk.


PAUL THROUGH


In men's action, top seed Tommy Paul scored an emphatic 6-3, 6-2 win against qualifier Alex Bolt, while fellow American and third seed Sebastian Korda saw off a stiff challenge from Lorenzo Sonego 6-4, 7-6 (12/10).


They will play Briton Jack Draper and Australian Chris O'Connell respectively in the quarterfinals.


"The first match of the year, you never really know what to expect," said Paul.


"I was obviously working pretty hard in the past two months, but you can't recreate the feelings that you have on court. So I was happy to get out there and play some good tennis."


Draper came through a marathon, battling for 3hr 39min before finally advancing against Serb Miomir Kecmanovic 5-7, 7-6 (11/9), 7-6 (9/7).


Chilean second seed Nicolas Jarry also needed more than three hours to topple Italian Matteo Arnaldi 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (9/7), 6-4, saving a match point in the second-set tie-break.


In contrast, O'Connell cruised past Russia's Alexander Shevchenko 6-3, 6-1 in 60 minutes.


At the WTA Hobart International, top seed Elise Mertens powered into the last eight with a 6-2, 6-3 thrashing of the Slovak Republic's Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.


She will face Arantxa Rus next after the Spaniard swept past France's Varvara Gracheva 6-2, 6-3.


Chinese pair Zhu Lin and Yuan Yue also progressed, but fifth seed and 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin crashed out. — AFP


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