Jessica Pegula says she “does not mind” playing Elena Rybakina but noted that the Kazakh “is the one to beat right now.” Pegula, 29, and 23-year-old Rybakina are set to meet in the Miami semifinal. Going into the match, Pegula owns a 2-0 head-to-head record.
Pegula defeated Rybakina twice last year but the Kazakh elevated her game to a new level at the start of the 2023 season. “I don’t mind playing her, at least in the past. Obviously she’s picked up her level since then, so it’ll be a tough test, especially after this match, just physically see how I feel.
Hopefully I can recover in time. At least I have another day. I think she and Sabalenka are the ones to beat right now so it’s going to be a great test and a deserved semi for a tournament like this,” Pegula said.
Pegula beat Anastasia Potapova to set up a Rybakina match
Pegula, ranked at No 3 in the world, saved two match points before edging out 26th-ranked Potapova 4-6 6-3 7-6 (2).
In the third set, Potapova was twice serving for the match but Pegula twice managed to recover and eventually force a tie-break – which the American won. Serving for the match in the 10th game of the third set, Potapova missed out on two match points.
“I really don’t know how I won. She was just playing fearless, just going for her shots, moving well. The key was to not get too frustrated and just try and stay within one break in the third even though I was really gassed.
I knew regardless she would get tight trying to close it out. She got a little tight and I was able to take my chances,” Pegula said after beating Potapova. Last year, Pegula made the Miami semifinal before losing to Iga Swiatek. It remains to be seen if Pegula can beat Rybakina and reach her first Miami final this year.
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