Pegula Stops Sabalenka At WTA Finals, Rybakina Wins Thriller; Swiatek v Gauff Today

by Staff | November 1st, 2023, 12:04 pm
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After an 0-3 mark in her debut at the WTA Finals last year, Jessica Pegula has turned this around winning her second match of the week yesterday easing past world No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka 6-4, 6-3.

“I was always good at beating those below me, but now you have to beat the one or two before you,” Pegula said. “I think you put a bigger emphasis on that. And I think this year, I’ve not really cared. I’ve had more confidence in those matches and that’s why I’ve got more top wins in big moments. I feel that’s where I’ve improved a little bit.”

Sabalenka finished with 33 unforced errors, but is still in the hunt for the final weekend. She’ll face Elena Rybakina on Thursday.

“I guess she just played great tennis,” Sabalenka said. “Yes, I could come back in this match, but it was too much.

“But, I still get a chance to pass the group, so I’m trying to stay strong.”

The victory puts Pegula at 2-0 and gives her the Bacalar Group win, and qualifies her into the Saturday semifinals against the Chetumal Group runner-up.

Rybakina picked up a win edging Maria Sakkari 6-0, 6-7(4), 7-6(2). The former Wimbledon champion escaped a break point at 4-4 in the third to hang on. Sakkari is eliminated from the event.

“I remember that forehand I missed in the net on, I think it was 4-all, 30-40 on her game,” Sakkari said. “I went for a bigger shot than I should. It was a high bounce, I shouldn’t have tried to hit it as flat. I think also a crucial game was the first one of the third set. Things would have been different, but she made good first serves. Yeah, I had chances.”

In a rematch of their Australian Open final, Rybakina and Sabalenka will play for the runner-up spot in the Bacalar Group.

“Now it’s gonna be either you win and you stay or you lose and you go back home,” Rybakina said. “So it’s kind of now the same as the other tournaments. It’s not going to be easy, and I’m going to try to do my best.”

Today, Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff meet for the 10th time. Swiatek leads 8-1 overall but Gauff beat her for the first time in Cincinnati. Swiatek gained revenge for the loss in Beijing.

“The more I can play against her, the more I can get better,” Gauff said. “Hopefully, for this time I would love to get a W on the head-to-head. We could potentially play for our second time if we both keep doing well.

“At this rate, we probably will have the most matches ever at the end of our careers.”

Marketa Vondrousova then takes on Ons Jabeur in a rematch of their Wimbledon final.

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