Thursday's singles matches in Credit One Charleston Open have settled the line-up of quarterfinals, which contains the tournament's top seeds and both last years finalists, who prevailed in the round of 16.
Jessica Pegula advanced into quarters after defeating Irina Camelia Begu in the match, which took an absolute unusual turn of events. The top ranked American was an obvious pre-match favorite with an odd 1.36. Pegula was leading from the start after the break gained in opening game. Both players were serving well until 8th game, when the Romanian broke back to level the score. It has not discouraged Pegula, who regained the advantage in 11th game and clinched the opening set. The world's number 3 followed the regained momentum, moving up into 4-0 lead in second set. At this point, no one could expect, that Pegula who is known from being a super consistent player, can blow this advantage away. Anyhow, Begu did not give up and raised the level of her game, while Pegula's performance surprisingly dropped. The American was struggling on serve and helped a lot her opponent to miraculously come back into this match. Begu won 6th games in a row and forced the deciding set by winning second one 6-4 despite being 0-4 down. The striking series of Begu continued in third set. The image of play has not changed from what the fans could see in the end of second set, and the Romanian was leading 4-0 after gaining two relatively easy breaks on her higher ranked opponent. The series of games won in a row for Begu increased to 10. It's never over until it's over, though. The tournament's top seed who fell from heaven to hell in this match, proved her great class and fighting spirit. Pegula stopped the storm, regrouping herself somehow. While seemingly improving her game, the American has started to making up the gap, which made some nerves on Begu's side of the net. Pegula clicked the gear again after the beatdown suffered between second and third set, performing the same comeback which happened reversly in second phase of the match. The world's number 3 won six games in a row in a massive style, as Begu managed to take just 4 points since being 4-0 up in the deciding set. It's possibly one of the biggest comeback in Pegula's career and surely one of the greatest turnaround in whole the season so far.
Paula Badosa will be Pegula's opponent in a hit clash of Friday's quarterfinals. The Spaniard has suffered some bad luck this year, mainly due to an injury which denied her from the start in Australian Open despite an impressive start of the season in Adelaide. Badosa fell down in the rankings for a 33th place, lowest in the years according to her standards. Despite that, the former world's number two shows a great shape in the first clay tournament in 2023, as she arrived the quarterfinals without losing a set. Her Thursday's match ended up with a confident 6-1 6-3 win over Diana Shnaider.
Daria Kasatkina is also the one who relives in Charleston. The world's number 8 who claimed the trophy there in 2017, won two matches in a row for the first time in 3 months. Tournament's seed #3 won just 3 matches out of 10 before coming to the South Carolina, but managed to advance into quarters after two straight sets wins over the Americans - Madison Brengle and Bernarda Pera. Another player from US waits in the top 8 phase, as Kasatkina will face Madison Keys on Friday. The semifinalist of Australian Open 2022 had to fight for her quarterfinals spot against the player who reached out the same phase of Melbourne's Grand Slam this year. Magda Linette was rated much lower than Keys in pre-match odds, but the Pole managed to move the match into whole distance. It was a battle composed of three one-sided sets. Keys won the opening one 6-2, but Linette fought back by winning second set by just one decisive break 6-3. Third set was a great performance display from Keys who gave no chance to her opponent, winning it 6-1.
Ons Jabeur came to Charleston after struggling with a back injury issue, which has denied her from taking part in the Middle East swing and was naggling during both Sunshine Double tournaments. Despite being doubt about 100% fitness, Jabeur recalled the good times of last year when she reached out the final of tournament in Charleston. The Tunisian was a clear favorite before her match against Caroline Dolehide. Jabeur won 6-3 7-5 despite being a break down from the start of both sets. Especially the second set needed some effort from the world's number 5, as she was 1-4 down there, but managed to level the score of the set and tip the scales on her favour in 11th game, scoring a win which will surely give some boost for her confidency.
Anna Kalinskaya will play against Jabeur on Friday after making the biggest upset of all the round of 16 matches in Charleston. Victoria Azarenka was approaching the match against the world's number 70 as a favorite with an odd 1.50. Despite this, Azarenka was not feeling well with her game today, as she did not manage to move up in front in any time of this match. Kalinskaya won the opening set 6-4 after breaking the Belarusian to love in 9th game. Second set was all level until 9th game, when the Russian gained a break which gave her chance to serve for the win. Azarenka fought back, leveling the score again. The former world's number one had even a setpoint in 12th game, but Kalinskaya made an important hold there and forced a tiebreak. Azarenka was leading 3-0 with double mini-break, but the Russian did not want to slip her chance away and won 6 out of 7 last points, securing the win with a score 6-4 7-6(4). Interestingly, it was Kalinskaya's maiden clay win over the player ranked in top 50.
Belinda Bencic is still on the course for the title defence after defeating the local fans favorite Shelby Rogers 4-6 7-5 6-2. It was an intense battle, which took 2:45 hours, where the American had a big chance to make an upset in front of her home crowd. Bencic was an obvious favorite and started as expected, leading 4-1 with a single break advantage. The Swiss could extend it in 6th game, but Rogers made an important hold, defending two breakpoints in the longest game of this set. It occured to be a turning point there, as the American bounced back, utilizing weaker serving performance of Bencic since then, won 5 games in a row and clinched the first set with a score 6-4. It was all tight in second set, as it brought two breaks from start and both players were producing chances in opening phase of this set. Rogers was two games away from the huge win, but it was Bencic who started to dominate since the score 5-5. The current title holder gained a decisive break in 12th game and forced a decider where she gave no chance for the American. Bencic was leading from the start with a break and played with a great confidence, losing just 3 points in all service games of deciding set. Ekaterina Alexandrova will be Bencic's QF opponent. Tournament's seed #7 earned the expected win over Julia Grabher 6-4 6-2.