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2023 WTA Finals: Pegula defeats Gauff to reach 'biggest final ever'

Arthur Kapetanakis | November 05, 2023

After the doubles partners split a pair of singles matches earlier this season, Jessica Pegula defeated Coco Gauff on the grand stage of the WTA Finals to reach the championship match in Cancun. Pegula extended her undefeated run at the season finale with a 6-2, 6-1 semifinal victory against her countrywoman on Saturday evening and now awaits Aryna Sabalenka or Iga Swiatek in Monday's final.


Pegula wrapped up her dominant victory after one hour of play, though the match was interrupted by heavy rain and wind in the second set. Through to her fifth final of 2023, she is set to play for the fifth and most prestigious title of her career.

"It's probably my biggest final ever," said the 29-year-old, who has won WTA 1000 crowns in Guadalajara last season and in Montreal this year "It's going to give me a lot of confidence going into next year."


World No. 5 Pegula improved to 3-1 against Gauff with Saturday's result. She has now won two straight matches against her compatriot—in Montreal and Cancun—after Gauff beat her in Eastbourne.


"I executed what I wanted to do really well," Pegula said of her tactics against the 19-year-old. "In the windy conditions, I think it worked even better.


"I was just trying not to get frustrated with my serve or returns or any funky kind of points that we had and just to keep my feet moving."


Pegula converted on six of 10 break points on a frustrating night for Gauff, who hit 25 unforced errors and won just 41% of her points on serve.

“She was playing well with the wind, and I wasn’t,” said Gauff, who finalized her singles record at 2-2 at the WTA Finals. “We both had the same circumstances. She just handled them better than I did.”


Pegula has not lost a set in her four wins this week, dropping a total of just 22 games, and has won nine matches in a row dating back to the start of her trophy run on Seoul. But she still won't consider herself a favorite in the final against either world No. 1 Sabalenka or Poland's Swiatek, who would be playing to reclaim the top ranking if she reaches the title match.


For Gauff, her WTA Finals campaign is still alive in doubles, where she and Pegula have a chance to advance to the semifinals. Scheduled to resume a rain-delayed match against Laura Siegemund and Vera Zvonareva with a 6-3, 1-1 lead on Sunday, the joint-doubles world No. 1 Americans will progress out of the group stage with a straight-sets win or a three-set victory, provided they win at least three games in the second set in the latter scenario. They would then meet Storm Hunter and Elise Mertens in the semis.


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