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Jessica Pegula, Madison Keys cruise into 2nd round at Charleston

Top-seeded Jessica Pegula and past champion Madison Keys easily secured second-round matches at the Charleston Open on Wednesday.

Pegula, the American ranked third in the world, needed less than 65 minutes to defeat Anna Blinkova of Russia 6-2, 6-0.

Keys, an American who took this title in 2019, worked a few minutes more (69) to oust countrywoman Hailey Baptiste 6-1, 6-2 in the season’s opening clay-court tournament.

Pegula stated the tournament at the Credit One Tennis Center feels familiar to her because she used to train at the facility when she grew up on Hilton Head Island, about two hours south of Charleston.

“It was a fun kind of period of my life, like maturing and growing into my career, and, yeah, figuring things out,” she said. “So it was a great time, and I loved everyone here.”

Pegula used a strong service game and steady groundstrokes to win the first four games of the match.

She finished winning more than 71% of her first serves and did not have a double fault.

“I guess that’s how you want to play first match on clay and with a quick turnaround coming off the hard court,” Pegula said. “So just glad I got a good win.”

Keys put on a dominant show as well, winning all six break points Baptiste had against her.

In other matches, No. 3 seed Daria Kasatkina of Russia topped Madison Brengle of the United States, 6-2, 6-1; seventh-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia defeated countrywoman Yulia Putintseva, 6-1, 6-3; 12th-seeded Paula Badosa of Spain beat Canada’s Leylah Fernandez, 7-5, 7-6 (6); and 15th-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania defeated American Sofia Kenin, 6-1, 6-4.

Fifth-seeded Veronika Kudermetova of Russia fell to countrywoman Diana Shnaider, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3.

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