Jessica Pegula advances to semis of WTA Finals

League: Tennis

Posted on: 03 Nov, 2023 at 06:49 AM

Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Jessica Pegula stretched her winning streak to eight matches and clinched a spot in the semifinals of the WTA Finals with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Maria Sakkari on Thursday night in Cancun, Mexico.

A year after going 0-3 in the round-robin singles play at the event, Pegula went 3-0, including a win over No. 1-ranked Aryna Sabalenka.

Pegula, the fifth seed in the tournament, has not lost a set in Cancun. Against Sakkari, the American dominated second serves - winning on 11 of 19 second serves and 19 of 30 second-serve returns (Sakkari won just 8 of 19).

Pegula also made about half as many unforced errors - 18 to Sakkari's 35 -- on a windy evening that featured some rain early and a lot late.

The 29-year-old Pegula will play in the semifinals on Saturday.

"Getting through 3-0 is really kind of a cool accomplishment," she said, "especially coming off of last year, where it was the opposite."

Sakkari, a Greek player ranked No. 9, was already eliminated before playing Pegula; she lost all three matches, not winning a set.

"That's not the way I wanted my season to end," Sakkari said. "I think that physically and mentally, I was paying a toll for how much I traveled and how much I played and how emotional this season was."

The late match Thursday between Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina was to be finished Friday morning after rain delayed it numerous times. In a rematch of the Australian Open final won by Sabalenka, the top-ranked player led Rybakina 6-2, 3-5 when play was suspended.

Sabalenka, 25, will retain the No. 1 ranking if she goes undefeated in round-robin play or makes the final.

--Field Level Media