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

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

Top-seeded Jessica Pegula defeated Anna Blinkova 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 on Friday to progress to the San Diego Open semifinals. Pegula, ranked fifth in the globe, will face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova or Marta Kostyuk on Saturday.

“Anna’s always a really tough competitor,” Pegula added. “She makes you earn it. I believe I started out playing well, but she changed her game strategy and began hitting a lot of high balls and I was becoming frustrated because I wasn’t taking action. I made some extremely poor mistakes in a number of games, but I eventually found my range.”

Pegula finished with 24 winners. She committed 17 unforced errors, the majority of which occurred during the second set.

Third-seeded Emma Navarro advanced to the semifinals for the second year in a succession, defeating the final qualifier, 113th-ranked Daria Saville, 6-4, 6-2. She’ll take on Katie Boulter, who defeated 2022 runner-up Donna Vekic 6-4, 6-3. Navarro, the 2021 NCAA singles champion at Virginia, trailed 1-4 in the first set before winning five consecutive 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 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.”

This will be Navarro’s fifth tour-level semifinal appearance in less than a year. She won her maiden WTA title earlier this year, in Hobart, Australia. Vekic will not return to the semi-finals. On a windy day, the seventh seed was defeated by Boulter, the top-ranked British player at No. 49. Earlier this week, Boulter defeated second-seeded Beatriz Haddad Maia 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

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