Jessica Pegula, the highest ranked American woman, made an earlier than expected exit from the 2023 French Open. Pegula, the No. 3 seed, fell to No. 28 Elise Mertens 6-1, 6-3 in the third round of the Grand Slam tournament on Friday
Pegula had reached the quarterfinals at four of the past five major tournaments, including at the 2022 French Open.
"I feel like I was still playing good points," Pegula said following the match, according to the Associated Press. "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."
Throughout the third-round match, Pegula made 28 unforced errors compared to just 13 made by Mertens. Pegula fell behind 5-0 in the opening set and winded up losing that set 6-1.
In the second set, Pegula was able to take a 3-2 lead, but Mertens won four consecutive games to win the set. With her elimination from the women's singles bracket of the French Open, she'll now try to win a doubles title with partner Coco Gauff.
Mertens, 27, was a semifinalist in the 2018 Australian Open and has also reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals on two occasions. The Belgian will now face off against 2021 French Open runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the fourth round on Sunday.
Pegula joins No. 5 Caroline Garcia, No. 8 Maria Sakkari, and No. 10 Petra Kvitova as the fourth top 10 player to be eliminated at Roland Garros. Only 12 seeds made it past the second round, which is the lowest number since the field expanded to include 32 seeded players back in 2002.