Jessica Pegula Made Winning Ugly Look Beautiful Against Potapova in Miami
It was well after midnight when Jessica Pegula wrapped up her gritty 4-6 6-3 7-6(2) victory over Anastasia Potapova at the Miami Open.
The World No.3, who saved a pair of match points to become the first woman to reach back-to-back Miami Open semifinals since Serena Williams in 2015, didn’t have much energy left to celebrate, as was evidenced by her post-match tweet, sent at approximately 2:34 AM.
Asked what enabled her to turn the final set around, she didn’t seem to be sure.
“I don’t know,” she said. “I was just competing and I was trying to play my game or have my game plan. She was just playing fearless, just going for her shots and moving well and just returning well.”
For anyone watching it was clear that veteran poise and fortitude played a massive role. The American could have easily given in to her fatigue and let Potopova pull away. That she did not is a testament to how committed Pegula is to laying everything on the line each and every match these days.
She does not take a night off, and her results prove it.
“I think the key was just not to get too frustrated and just try and stay at least one break in that third, even though I was gassed, just try and see what happens,” she said. “I knew regardless she was going to get tight trying to close it out. I think she got a little tight, and I was just able to take my chances, I guess.”
Potapova, who valiantly rallied from 2-0 down in the third, had her chances to convert a pair of match points while serving at 5-4 in the final set, but got tight. When she did, Pegula (aka Mrs. Consistency) was there to strike. She broke, got into a tiebreak, and played brilliantly at the close, finishing off her 19th win of 2023 in style.
Rybakina and Sabalenka are the Ones to Beat
Next up, an earned opportunity against the hottest player in the women’s game – Elena Rybakina. Pegula owns the 2-0 head-to-head edge over Rybakina, but knows she’ll have her hands full.
“Obviously I think she’s picked up her level since then, so it’s going to be a really tough test especially after this past match, physically see how I feel, as well,” Pegula said. “Hopefully I can recover in time. At least I have another day.
“I’m just going to have to go out there and compete and play my game. I mean, she’s been playing some great tennis. I feel like her and Sabalenka are the ones to beat right now, so it’s going to be a great test and I think a deserved semi for a tournament like this.”