Improvements can always happen, even at the age of 29.
Jessica Pegula rewrote her story this week at the Omnium National Bank in Montreal, where she split two matches against mixed doubles partner Coco Gauff — and defeated the ascendant teenager in three sets.
on saturday She turned a 2-5 head-to-head record against world No. 1 Iga Swiatek and cruised into the final on Sunday against Liudmila Samsonova, who advanced to the final earlier that day. Her first WTA 1000 by beating No. 4 Elena Rybakina 1-6, 6-1, 6-2 in a postponed semi-final on Friday.
As for Pegula, she reached the championship after losing in the semi-finals in Montreal in her only two previous appearances.
Pegula upsets Swiatek to reach finals in Montreal
“I hope the third time is a charm,” Pegula told reporters after handing Swiatek his eighth loss of the season with 50 wins. “I’ve always played well here. And I lost to a difficult team. [Simona] Halep last year and the other went [Camila] Georgie [in 2021].
“Both won the match, so… I hope that means I win tomorrow.”
In this case, there is no evil karma. There is no bitterness to overcome. At any level, Pegula has a 2-1 head-to-head record against Samsonova.
Pegula’s assimilation skills are extraordinary. Her ability to process information and make proper adjustments is the reason she made it to the first finals in Montreal.
Last year Pegula played Swiatek and lost all four times. This year? She is 2-for-3 with a win at the United Cup in Australia back in January and a superb Saturday to take down the world No. 1 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-4.
After losing the first four matches of her career to the No. 1 player, her total experience at the Canadian Open was two semi-final defeats, and she changed that history too.
Pegula stared at Swiatek for 150 minutes and barely blinked. Swiatek had 15 serve games and an incredible 11 concedes – a career worst. Pegula stepped 2-3 feet inside the base line. and crushed her second serve, earning 23 points out of a total of 33.
Only four women have beaten Swiatek three times in her career: Aryna Sabalenka, Maria Sakkari, Elena Rybakina — and now Pegula.
Granted, Pegula’s track record at this level isn’t great. She has reached six WTA Tour finals in her career. and only won two titles It is a disappointing total for the 29-year-old world No. 3. She is unnaturally consistent. By reaching the quarter-final round 6 of the last 11 important rounds but lost all
Although this feels different.
In an emotional quarterfinal on Friday, Swiatek was her second Top 10 victim in two days. It looks like she’s playing video games on both sides.
Last year, Pegula reached her first WTA 1000 final in Madrid, losing to Ons Jabeur five months later. She won the title in Guadalajara, defeating Elena Rybakina, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sakkari along the way.
Perhaps the most important factor was that Pegula finished almost 24 hours before Rybakina and Samsonova walked onto the pitch. — Greg Garber
Advantage Samso Nova
Samsonova’s summer is upon us again. Last year, the 24-year-old won titles in Washington, D.C. and Cleveland, so it’s no surprise to see her make a comeback on the hardcourt. in North America
In her maiden WTA 1000 final, Samsonova was a fearless and unshakable competitor. She was the devastation in Montreal, beating No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka and No. 4 Elena Rybakina en route to her first final since Abu Dhabi in February. As if two top-5 victories weren’t enough to cement her form. Samsonova also added a win over Belinda. Benzic and Zheng Qin Wen ranked 13th as well. Her victory over Zabalenka and Bencic both happened in one day.
The biggest question for Samsonova right now is how much money she has in the tank for Pegula. The two tied for 3 full sets and split the meet into two main events. That must convince Samsonova that she can take Pegula to the brink if she digs deep and finds the extra energy to serve and break through Pegula’s defense. She has game to stop the American.
This will be the first meeting of the season. Pegula won her last match in 2022 in Rome, winning 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Samsonova won Wimbledon a year ago on grass, winning 6-4, 3-6, 6. -3 This will be their first meeting in hard court.
— Courtney Nguyen
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