Jessica Pegula, American seeded No. 3, loses at French Open to Elise Mertens

Pegula was a quarterfinalist at four of the five most recent majors, including a year ago at Roland Garros.

Jessica Pegula quickly gathered her belongings and marched out of Court Philippe Chatrier after a 6-1, 6-3 loss to Elise Mertens in the third round Friday at the French Open, a far earlier exit than the No. 3-seeded American has been used to at Grand Slam tournaments lately.

Pegula was a quarterfinalist at four of the five most recent majors, including a year ago at Roland Garros.

She’s never gone further than that stage at a Slam and never really got into this match against the 28th-seeded Mertens, a 27-year-old Belgian who was a semifinalist at the 2018 Australian Open and twice has reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals.

But Mertens still has not made it beyond the fourth round on the red clay in Paris. She will attempt to do that when she plays Sunday against No. 24 Anastasia Potapova or 2021 French Open runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

With Pegula joining No. 5 Caroline Garcia, No. 8 Maria Sakkari and No. 10 Petra Kvitova on the sideline, four of the top 10 women’s seeds already are gone. That’s part of a pattern this year at Roland Garros: Only 12 seeds made it through two rounds, the fewest in Paris since the field expanded to 32 seeds in 2002.

Another woman from the United States joined Pegula on the way out early Friday: Peyton Stearns, the 2022 NCAA champion for the University of Texas, was eliminated by No. 9 Daria Kasatkina 6-0, 6-1 in 55 minutes.

Stearns, a big hitter who defeated 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the second round, simply could not find her targets on a day with a breeze at about 10 mph (15 kph) and a chill in the low 60s Fahrenheit (low teens Celsius).

More than half of Kasatkina’s 59 points came via the 30 unforced errors by Stearns.

Pegula had similar issues, making 28 unforced errors to only 13 by Mertens.

It was a rough start for Pegula, who is partnering Coco Gauff in women’s doubles. When she dumped a forehand into the net, Pegula chucked her racket off the ground, already down 4-0. The deficit was 5-0 after fewer than 20 minutes.

There was more of the same in the second set. Mertens used drop shots effectively in the wind, and Pegula couldn’t get going.

In the opening game of the second set, she put a backhand into the net and bounced her racket off the court. She flubbed a forehand and rolled her eyes.

There was a moment of hope for Pegula when she held to lead 3-2, but then Mertens reeled off the final four games.

Disclaimer: This Article is auto-generated from the HT News service

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