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WTA Finals: American star Jessica Pegula defeats world number one Aryna Sabalenka to advance to semi-finals

In the semi-finals of the WTA Finals group stage, Jessica Pegula defeated world number one Aryna Sabalenka in two sets and successfully advanced.

The American had only beaten Sabalenka once in five attempts before, but they pulled off a thrilling victory in Cancun, Mexico, beating Sabalenka 6-4 on the seventh match point. , won with a score of 6-3.

Pegula maintained her unbeaten streak in the finals with a straight-sets victory over Elena Rybakina on Sunday. The Kazakh player will now face Sabalenka on Thursday to determine the second spot in the group.

Ribakina’s 6-0, 6-7, 7-6 victory over Maria Sakkari on Tuesday meant the Greek player was eliminated from the tournament after losing her second match in a row.

Pegula, who is now on a streak of wins over her top five opponents, said after Tuesday’s victory that she feels more confident and comfortable playing against the best players in the world.

“I didn’t think it was a big deal,” she said, according to TiT Sports. “Last year when I was in the top five, I felt like I was a little excited – but not too much. You think: ‘I can really Comparing with players at those levels? “

“I’ve always been good at beating weaker opponents, but now you need to beat one or two guys who were stronger than you before. I think you should focus on that more, and I didn’t really pay attention to it this year.”

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus takes on Jessica Pegula of the United States during Day 3 of the WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico.
Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus takes on Jessica Pegula of the United States during Day 3 of the WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico.

I feel more confident in these races and that’s why I’m getting more top-level wins in clutch situations. I think this is where I’ve improved.

According to WTA data, Pegula ended up with three losses in three finals games in 2023. Since then, however, she has defeated three No. 1 players and is 7-4 against top-10 opponents.

Opta said that on the WTA Tour, this is the fourth time since 2000 that a player has defeated the world’s number one player three times in a single season.

With their spot in the next round already confirmed, Pegula will face Sakkari in the final group match on Thursday.

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