’s-Hertogenbosch | Krunic upsets Pegula

Aleksandra Krunic delivered the shock of the Libéma Open on Thursday when she outlasted top-seeded Jessica Pegula, 7-6(3) 6-7(3) 6-4, in a Last 16 upset win that lasted 2 hours and 44 minutes in ’s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands.

It definitely takes a lot to beat Jess on grass. I think it took absolutely everything out of me today. I don't think I could have done anything better. I was absolutely playing at my 100 percent today. Aleksandra Krunic

Krunic, who won the tournament here in 2018, is ranked 400 in the world, but took advantage of a rusty Pegula, who was playing in her first tournament since April due to injuries.

The Serbian saved 5 of 7 break points and won 56 of her 69 first-service points, some 81.2%, to set up a quarter-final meeting with Hungary’s Dalma Galfi, who upset 5th-seeded Veronika Kudermetova from Russia, 6-3 3-6 7-5.

It was the 5th Top 10 win of Krunic’s career, as the 31-year-old advances to her quarter-final since 2022, and her first on grass since winning her sole title here 6 years ago when she produced a memorable run that saw her upset top seed CoCo Vandeweghe in the semi-finals and Kirsten Flipkens in the final.

Later that season, Krunic reached a career-high of 39 in the rankings.

The Serbian, though, arrived here looking for her first tour-level main-draw win since 2022, having ruptured her ACL during her Tallinn qualifying campaign that same year, and not returning to competition until Wimbledon in 2023.

Using her protected ranking this week, Krunic ended her drought in the 1st-round, posting a 3-set win over French qualifier Jessika Ponchet.

Meanwhile, Pegula was playing just her second match since April after skipping the European clay season to heal a nagging rib injury.

In their first career meeting, Pegula struggled to consolidate her leads in the first and third sets, leading by a break at 4-2 in the opener, only to see Krunic peg her back and force a tiebreak, where the Serbian’s all-court pressure won out, as the American World No 5 lost 5 straight points to fall a set behind.

“I think my variation was the key, and definitely the way I moved,” Krunic said afterwards. “I knew Jess would be consistent with her powerful shots, so I had to be at my highest level of movement. I tried to make her play an extra shot over, and over, and over.”

Top seed Jessica Pegula struggled to consolidate leads in the first and third sets against Aleksandra Krunic, and lost in the Last 16

Libéma Open/Facebook

The second set saw a similar pattern, but it was Pegula who broke serve first, and Krunic storming back, and, this time, it was the American who took the last 5 points of the breaker to force a decider.

“I haven’t played at this level since my surgeries, so I was worried if I could play the same level in the third set,” Krunic said. “But apparently I could.”

Krunic saved 2 break points in her opening service game in the third, before breaking Pegula for a 2-1 lead.

After saving a 3rd break point, she consolidated to move ahead 3-1 and did not face further threat for the remainder of the match.

“It definitely takes a lot to beat Jess on grass,” Krunic said later. “I think it took absolutely everything out of me today. I don’t think I could have done anything better. I was absolutely playing at my 100 percent today.”

No 2 seed Liudmila Samsonova overturned a 2-5 deficit to defeat wild-card Celine Naef at the Libéma Open 's-Hertogenbosch

Libéma Open/Facebook

In other action on Thursday, the No 2 seed from Russia, Liudmila Samsonova, beat Switzerland’s Celine Naef, 7-5 6-2, while her countrywoman and 3rd seed Ekaterina Alexandrova, the defending champion, took down American Emina Bektas, 7-5 6-4, and Robin Montgomery, a 19-year-old American, defeated Germany’s Jule Niemeier, 6-3 6-3.

19-year old Robin Montgomery made the Last 8 with a convincing 2-set win over Jule Neimeier

Libéma Open/Facebook



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