The highest-ranked American male or female, Jessica Pegula, was defeated in the French Open third round.
Elise Mertens, the 28th-seeded Belgian player, defeated Pegula, the third-seeded player, 6-1, 6-3, to go to the round of 16. Pegula had lost in the quarterfinals of four of the previous five major tournaments as a 29-year-old at a career-high ranking.
Pegula dropped the second set 4-3 after blowing three break opportunities in a 14-minute game. After then, Mertens shattered Pegula to end it.
“I feel like I was still playing good points. Elise was just being really tough, not making a lot of errors and making me play every single ball. And with the windy conditions, I felt like it definitely played into her game,” Pegula said.
Due to Pegula’s withdrawal, No. 6 seed Coco Gauff, the runner-up from the previous year, is now the last seeded hope for the United States to win a major title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open.
Since Monica Seles won the 1996 Australian Open, the United States has gone 11 major tournaments without an American champion.
In order to advance to the quarterfinals, Mertens must defeat 96th-ranked Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the 2021 French Open runner-up. Mertens has lost in the third or fourth round of the previous six French Opens.
Daria Kasatkina, a ninth-seeded Russian, was the first athlete to advance to the fourth round earlier. Peyton Stearns, an American player ranked 69th and the 2022 NCAA champion from Texas, was defeated by her 6-0, 6-1.
The only American woman still in the bottom half of the draw is 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens. Later on Friday, she performs as Kazakh Yulia Putintseva. In the top half, Gauff, Bernarda Pera, and Kayla Day are still present.
Men’s matches on Friday were top seed Carlos Alcaraz vs. Canadian No. 26 Denis Shapovalov and No. 3 Novak Djokovic vs. Spaniard No. 29 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
This report was made possible by the Associated Press.