Pegula upsets Sabalenka to reach WTA Finals semis

Jessica Pegula defeated Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets at the WTA Finals in Cancun on Tuesday (James Gilbert)

Jessica Pegula pulled off a stunning upset by defeating Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets at the WTA Finals in Cancun on Tuesday. This victory marked Pegula’s first time reaching the semifinals of the season-ending tournament. Sabalenka, the world number one, struggled with numerous errors throughout the match, allowing Pegula to dominate and secure a 6-4, 6-3 win.

Pegula’s path to the semifinals was guaranteed after fourth seed Elena Rybakina defeated Maria Sakkari. Reflecting on her win, Pegula expressed her increased comfort and confidence in playing top players this year. She remarked, “I don’t think it feels like such a big deal. Last year when I made top five, I think I psyched myself out a little bit. You have a couple thoughts in your head — do I really belong at that level?”

Sabalenka, who had voiced concerns about the court’s condition at the tournament, appeared uncomfortable throughout the match. Her frustration was evident as she finished with 33 unforced errors and five double faults. After the defeat, Sabalenka once again criticized the playing surface, describing it as “like leather.”

Despite the loss, Sabalenka still has a chance to qualify for the semifinals with a win over Rybakina. She stated, “You never know what’s going to happen, whether the bounce is going to help you or work against you… I’ll do everything I can in the next match.”

In the first set, Pegula broke Sabalenka in the fifth game and held serve to take a 4-2 lead. Despite a brief rally from Sabalenka, Pegula secured the set 6-4. In the second set, Sabalenka struggled further, going down a double break to trail 4-0. While she managed to break Pegula and close the gap to 5-3, Pegula ultimately emerged victorious, with Sabalenka unable to hold serve in the final game.

Overall, it was a remarkable performance by Jessica Pegula, who defeated the world number one and advanced to the semifinals at the WTA Finals.



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