Jessica Pegula has not had a particularly consistent so far and the American has struggled at times early season. But, in Miami, seems to be finding form again. Pegula was hit-and-miss at the start of the season in Australia. In a Melbourne warm-up event, the American lost in the very first round despite being the top seed. Sydney was no better, as Pegula lost in the first round again, this time to Caroline Garcia.
However, she was back to her best in time for the Australian Open. At the first Slam of the year, the 28-year-old was the 21st seed. After taking out Ukranian Anhelina Kalinina in a thrilling three set match, the American eased through the next few matches in straight sets.
Pegula defeated Maria Sakkari in the fourth round, dominating the first set tiebreak. Then the American broke the Greek serve to book a spot in the quarter final against the top seed Ash Barty. The Australian dominated the match with Pegula only winning two games. Still, it was this was the second consecutive year that Pegula had reached the last eight at the Australian Open.
In Dubai, the American was unseeded. It was a battle of the Americans in the first round as Pegula was against Coco Gauff. The 18-year-old was broken by Pegula in both sets, who set up a meeting with eighth seed Ons Jabeur. But the Tunisian dominated their the second-round match.
The American was the ninth seed in Qatar. Pegula did better on the hard courts here, reaching the third round. In a rematch of their Australian Open clash, the 28-year-old came up against Sakkari again. This time the Greek got the better of the very tight match. However, Pegula teamed up with Gauff for the doubles in Qatar and the unseeded pair claimed the title against a very good German pairing.
Indian Wells was not a good hunting ground for Pegula. The American although seeded, lost in the first round to an inspired Marie Bouzková. However, just like Melbourne and Sydney were warm ups for the Australian Open it appears, so far at least, that Indian Wells was a warm up for Miami, where Pegula is 16th seed.
Pegula has made the semifinal in Miami. Against Sloane Stephens in the first round, she dominated the first set, and broke in the second to ease through a 6-1 6-4. Against the 17th seed Elena Rybakina the American took her chances to break serve and get into the next round in straight sets.
A dominant performance against Kalinina secured the first set for a bagel. At this point the Ukranian decided that she was unable to play on and retired from the match. A stunning performance against Paula Badosa saw the American lead 4-1. The fifth seed then retired from the match. Securing a semi final place for Pegula, her first at Miami, and her best placing to date at the event.
How far can Pegula go? That much is uncertain, but making the semifinal of her second 1000 WTA event (Pegula also made the semifinals in Canada last year) should give her confidence. The American can go far if she keeps these recent performances up and doesn’t revert to the very early season play.
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