Jessica Pegula crushed by Krunic as return at Libema Open 's-Hertogenbosch stutters

Thursday, 13 June 2024 at 16:49
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Jessica Pegula's return to tennis after recent injury travails has hit a stumbling block losing out at the Libema Open s'Hertogenbosch to former champion now ranked top 400, Aliaksandra Krunic.
Krunic earned the fifth top 10 win of her career defeating the World No.5 in a 7-6(3), 6-7(3), 6-4 win in the second round in Rosmalen. The 31-year-old Serbian advanced to her first Quarter-Final since 2022 and her first on grass since winning this title previously.
Something must be in the water for her on this surface at this tournament as she won the title and reached a career high of World No.39 back then. She will have a big chance to reach at least the semi-finals as Veronika Kudermetova again stuttered. She lost to Dalma Galfi.
Krunic came into this year wanting her first tour-level main draw win since 2022. During her qualifying campaign in Tallinn, she ruptured her ACL and only returned last year. So she is veyr much a player who can produce but hasn't for some time. Pegula though really stuttered during the tie spurning leads.
Pegula led 4-2 in the first set only to see Krunic force a tie-break. The pressure tolled on the American as Pegula lost five straight points to fall a set behind. The second set saw the same but it benefited Pegula. The American won the last five points of the tie-break to force a decider.
But Krunic in the final set saved two break points in her opening service game before breaking Pegula for a 2-1 lead. She consolidated that and did not face another break point as she eased home to the win. Pegula is back to the drawing board after a damning defeat.
While not unexpected given Krunic's ranking not giving her full story, Pegula will be embarrassed by her start to the grass court season especially with the chance that has since opened up.

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