Skip to Content

WTA Finals: US star Jessica Pegula defeats world No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka to reach semifinals

By Matias Grez, CNN

(CNN) — Jessica Pegula defeated world No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets to advance past the group stage and reach the semifinals of the WTA Finals.

The American had only previously beaten Sabalenka once in five attempts, but won a thriller in Cancun, Mexico, closing out a 6-4 6-3 victory on her seventh match point.

Pegula remains undefeated in the Finals following her straight sets win over Elena Rybakina on Sunday, while the Kazakh now faces Sabalenka on Thursday to determine who qualifies second from the group.

Rybakina defeated Maria Sakkari 6-0 6-7 7-6 in Tuesday’s other match, meaning the Greek player has been eliminated after losing her second straight match.

Pegula is now on a five-match winning streak against top five opponents and said after Tuesday’s win that she is feeling “more confident” and “more comfortable” playing against the world’s best players.

“I don’t think it feels like such a big deal,” she said, per the WTA. “Last year when I made top five, I think I psyched myself out a little bit – not a lot. You have a couple thoughts in your head: ‘Do I really belong at that level?’

“I was always good at beating those below me, but now you have to beat the one or two before you. 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.”

After ending last year’s Finals with three defeats from three matches, Pegula has now recorded three wins over No. 1-ranked players in 2023 and has a 7-4 record over top 10 opponents, according to the WTA.

It is only the fourth time since 2000 that a player on the WTA Tour has recorded three wins over world No. 1s in a single season, according to Opta.

With her place in the next round already guaranteed, Pegula will face Sakkari in her final group match on Thursday.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Sports

Jump to comments ↓

CNN Newsource


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content