Jessica Pegula is the daughter of Terry Pegula, an American billionaire who made his fortune in natural gas extraction, real estate and professional sports. He owns the Buffalo Sabers (NHL) franchises and, with his wife Kim, the Buffalo Bills (NFL). It is also to her parents that Pegula dedicated her victory over Elina Svitolina in the round of 16 of the Australian Open.
A late outbreak
Having turned professional in 2012, Pegula will have to wait three years before experiencing the excitement of a Grand Slam. It was at the 2015 US Open where she came out of qualifying. It will take three more years for her to play her first final on the circuit in 2018, at the Quebec Open where she will be beaten by Pauline Parmentier. It was in 2019 that she won what is to date the only title on her record, the Washington Open, by beating Camila Giorgi in the final.
Often hit with a rising ball, Jessica Pegula’s forehand does damage. (Asanka Brendon Ratnayake / Reuters)
A click after confinement
Jessica Pegula was playing relatively below the radar until the resumption of post-containment competition last summer. Until then, it had hardly sparked and its best ranking, 55th, was already behind it. And then she came out of qualifying for the Cincinnati Open to make her way to the quarterfinals, pushing aside the No. 5 seed, Aryna Sabalenka, in the process. Only Elise Mertens was going to be able to stop it. In the process, Pegula offered a third round at the US Open (beaten by Petra Kvitova). It was then his best Grand Slam result. To believe that the long break imposed on the circuit did him the greatest good.
Service and trust
David Witt, the coach of Jessica Pegula is formal. “The blows, she always had them. The problem was trust. Even when she was around 100th place, she was able to beat some good top 50 players. It just took a few wins to start believing it. And when she had those wins, the confidence came behind. “
Witt also took advantage of the confinement to make his service work for his protege. “We worked a lot and the idea was for her to give herself free points. A few winning aces or serve and your serve sets are easier to win. Suddenly, she can concentrate on her comeback games. And since she is gifted in return, being relaxed as she easily gains her services can only help. “
The band of three
With Shelby Rogers and Jennifer Brady (whom she will face in the quarterfinals), Jessica Pegula had two good friends to accompany her in the knockout stages. The three Americans train together as soon as possible. They motivate themselves, pull themselves up and do not hesitate to say things to each other to find solutions when things are not going well. Facing Brady, Pegula will play against someone who knows her by heart and will have to ignore the emotional aspect.