The fourth-seeded Kenin, sporting an industrious print with matching shoes, is the only one of the top-five seeds in the French Open women’s draw, through to the fourth round.
“It was a tough match. It was a lot of ups and downs. I’m just really happy with the way I’m playing,” Kenin said.
“Leading up to French Open, I wasn’t practising the best. I took it easy, one match at a time. I figured out a plan. I just fight out there, leave everything out on the court. If that’s not enough, it’s not enough.”
Kenin, of the busy stride and bulldozer backhand, got off to a swift start, she led 3-0 when Pegula struck, winning six of the next seven games to take the opening set. The 22-year-old, whose play was a mixed bag on the day, she had 48 winners and10 double faults, however managed to string it together when it mattered.
Kenin recently announced that her father Alexander, who doubled up as her coach, a constant presence at courtside these last years, wouldn’t be coaching her any more. She arrived in Europe for the clay-court season without a coach and didn’t win a match until her first-round outing at Roland Garros.
The American stressed that she was in no hurry to sign on a new coach. Kenin, who made the final here last year, refused to live on memories.
“I have to try to move on,” she said. “Of course, those memories will always be with me, but I think I need to lock in and put that aside. That was last year. Try to make some new memories this year.”
Earlier in the day, the fifth-seed Elina Svitolina fell to the spin and guile of Czech Barbora Krejcikova 3-6, 2-6.
Defending champion Iga Swiatek, the eighth seed, was good enough to recover from an early break to score a 7-6 (7-4), 6-0 win over Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit. Sloane Stephens, ranked 59, knocked out the 18th-seeded Czech Karolina Muchova 6-3, 7-5.
The 13-time champion Rafael Nadal made the last sixteen with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 over Cameron Norrie. World No.1 Djokovic was too good for Ricardas Berankis, scoring a 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 win in 92 minutes.