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2022 WTA Finals, Day 3: Pegula falls to Jabeur; Gauff and Pegula out of doubles

Victoria Chiesa | November 02, 2022


The semifinal picture got a little clearer at the WTA Finals Fort Worth on Wednesday, and unfortunately for fans of American tennis, there was bad news for Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula. The duo was the first pair eliminated from the doubles competition after a 3-6, 6-0, [10-5] round-robin loss to their fellow American Desirae Krawczyk and her Dutch partner Demi Schuurs in the Rosie Casals Group.

 

Both teams entered the match at 0-1, as Gauff and Pegula were beaten by China's Xu Yifan and Yang Zhaoxuan in their opening match, and Krawczyk and Schuurs fell to Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova. 

 

On Friday, Krawczyk and Schuurs will play Xu and Yang to determine which team will qualify for the semifinals in second place behind Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open champions Krejcikova and Siniakova. To close out round-robin play in the group, Gauff and Pegula will play the Czechs in a dead rubber that will have no impact on the overall standings.

The loss dropped Pegula to 0-4 so far her her first WTA Finals. Earlier in the day, she lost her second singles match to Ons Jabeur 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 despite winning her first set of the week in singles. 

 

Seeking revenge for defeats to Jabeur in Dubai and Madrid, Pegula took the first set in just 25 minutes, but went on to lose the last three games of the second and third sets. Crucially, Pegula failed to convert five break points in the first game of the decider that could've changed the complexion of the match's latest stages. 

 

"I thought she started serving better, maybe playing a little bit more aggressive," Pegula said in her post-match press conference. "I felt like she was playing aggressive the first set, just she wasn't making the balls as much.

"But the second set, I think maybe she just started serving a little bit better, and the second and third, returning a little bit better maybe. I think those were the two big adjustments.

 

"I thought I played a really solid first set, but after that ... I just I felt like I couldn't kind of step into the court as much as I wanted to."

 

Despite being 0-2 in the Nancy Richey Group, Pegula still has a chance to advance to the semifinals—but she'll need help.

 

Her first order of business? Beat Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets. If Maria Sakkari, who's already qualified for the semifinals after two straight-sets wins, beats Jabeur in straight sets, Pegula will advance out of the group as its second-place finisher. Should Pegula beat Sabalenka in three sets, the No. 2 slot behind Sakkari will be decided by percentage of games won.

 

"After losing four times in three days, it definitely sucks more than when you have a week to reset between tournaments, but that's good to know that I'm still alive, somehow," Pegula said. 

 

"I think it's definitely going to be a lot more mental now than it was after the first match. I still feel like I'm playing pretty well. I'm not winning the matches, but I feel like I'm still giving myself a chance. I'm playing still, I think high-level tennis.

 

"Aryna is always tough. ... She's never done and out ever, so that always makes it hard: to play someone that you just never know when they're going to turn it on if they're not on, or if they just start on the whole time. She's always tricky, because you can never really find a rhythm or you're not sure how to play her when she can kind of take the racquet out of your hand at times.

 

"It'll be tough, but I'll just try to go out there and have fun, and get a win, hopefully."

 

Gauff returns to the singles court on Thursday seeking her first win of the event, and her first against Daria Kasatkina. A straight-sets defeat would eliminate Gauff from semifinal contention in the Tracy Ausin Group, which also consists of world No. 1 Iga Swiatek and US Open semifinalist Caroline Garcia.

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