CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT – American Jessica Pegula (29) swept her compatriot and doubles partner Coco Gauff (19) 6:2, 6:1 in the semifinals of the Champions Tournament in Cancun, Mexico, and did not lose a set even with her fourth opponent. The oldest participant of this year’s singles competition won’t play for her most valuable title until Monday, as the second semifinal between Aryna Sabalenková and Iga Šwiateková was interrupted in the fourth game due to rain, and she herself is still in the game even in the doubles alongside Gauffová. In the doubles, even the semi-finalists have not yet been decided.
Pegula – Gauff 6:2, 6:1
Jessica Pegula a year ago on her debut at the Tournament of Champions on home soil in Fort Worth, Texas, she lost all three duels in singles and doubles, although shortly before that she won the WTA 1000 event in Guadalajara and boosted her confidence by winning her then most valuable trophy.
Also this year, she tuned in to the peak of the season with a triumph, when she dominated the WTA 250 tournament in her mother’s native country in Seoul, South Korea. Unlike last year, however, she continues her winning streak even at the Tournament of Champions, in Cancún, Mexico, she handled all her opponents in two sets.
After world number four Jelena Rybakinová from Kazakhstan, number one Aryna Sabalenkova from Belarus and number nine Maria Sakkariová from Greece, she continued her great performances in the semi-finals against Coco Gauff. In another windy lottery interrupted by rain, she swept the ten-year-younger compatriot, with whom she is still playing in the doubles, 6:2, 6:1 and won the third mutual match outside the grass.
“The weather was crazy. I appreciate you all coming out and filling the stadium. The conditions are tough, but if you support us, we appreciate it even more in this weather.” commented Pegulaová, at 29 the oldest singles player at this year’s Tournament of Champions.
“She played well even in that wind, I didn’t. We both had the same conditions, but she handled them much better.” regretted the unequivocal defeat of Gauff, who played only six winners and committed 25 unforced errors.
At the age of 29, the oldest single player at this year’s Tournament of Champions defeated a member of the elite ten for the seventh time in a row and improved her balance with the TOP 10 players to 19:26. At the same time, it was only during the 2019 season that she reached the TOP 100 at the age of 25, and now she is the first American finalist of the Tournament of Champions in five years. The last American champion was Serena Williams in 2014.
Pegula advanced to her biggest and overall 10th final, her fifth this season. She has four trophies in her collection, two of which she won this season. She celebrated the most valuable ones at the thousands in Guadalajara 2022 and Montreal 2023.
“At the end of the year, I’m getting my craft together. I did a good job of resetting myself after last year’s setback. It wasn’t nice to leave Fort Worth 0-6. I’m glad the tables turned. Making the finals boosted my confidence “ Pegula boasted.
This year, the native of Buffalo has already played a total of 132 matches in singles and doubles. In 2023, she won all 51 first-set matches. Only two tennis players – Viktoria Azarenkova in 2012 (60:0) and Lindsay Davenportová in 2001 (53:0) – have been able to close the season without defeat in duels in which they led 1:0 in sets.
Pegulaová has to wait until Sunday for the name of her final opponent. The second semi-final between Aryna Sabalenkova and Iga Šwiatekovábetween which the position of the world number one at the end of the season can be decided, was interrupted due to rain at the score of 1:2 and 30:30 when Belarus served and postponed to the next day.
“A favorite in the final? I don’t think so, Aryna and Iga are ahead of me (in the rankings). Even if I’m playing great tennis now, I’ll be an outsider,” said Pegulaová.
Final postponed to Monday
Bad weather and the absence of a roof will extend this year’s Tournament of Champions by one day. The organizers announced shortly before midnight on Saturday that the singles final will not take place until Monday. On Sunday, in Cancun, Mexico, in addition to the second finalist in singles, the final semi-finalists, finalists and champions of the women’s doubles competition should also be decided.
One doubles pair can play three matches in one day on Sunday, and Pegula could be one of the players. Together with Gauffová, she will start at 12:30 (18:30 CET) for the playoff of the last match in the group against Laura Siegemundová and Věra Zvonareva (score 6:3 and 1:1) and, if they lead the duel to a 2:0 victory in sets, they will eventually succeed in three sets and in the second set they will win at least three games, advance to the afternoon semi-finals, and theoretically the final could also await them in the evening.
The doubles semifinal and final will be interspersed by a singles playoff between Sabalenkova and Šwiateková.
Krejčíková and Siniaková can fly away
At the same time, the WTA decided on the night from Saturday to Sunday that Barbora Krejčíková and Kateřina Siniaková no longer have a chance to advance from the group, which was already certain on Friday after their second defeat. The Czech tennis players can therefore, with an unnecessary delay, set off on their journey from Cancun via Toronto to Seville, Spain, where the Billie Jean King Cup match against the Swiss awaits them on Tuesday.
Results of the Tournament of Champions in Cancun
Článek původně publikován pro Livesport Zprávy.