Take Five: Jessica Pegula nears Top 10 after Madrid final
Welcome to Take Five, a weekly series on USTA.com recapping five of the biggest stories from American tennis over the last week on the professional tennis circuit. As the clay-court swing continued, the first of two combined ATP and WTA 1000-level events concluded in Madrid.
1. Jessica Pegula runner-up in Mutua Madrid Open finals
Though she ultimately lost a three-set final against Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur at the Mutua Madrid Open on Sunday, the United States’ 28-year-old Jessica Pegula continued to tear up the tour in 2022.
By finishing as runner-up at the Spanish WTA 1000 clay-court tournament, the New York-native rose to world No. 11 ranking on Monday – just five points shy of cracking the Top 10.
Despite leading 4-0, Pegula was unable to lock up the first set.
A hard-hitting Jabeur capitalized on Pegula’s errors and took the set at 7-5 after 54 minutes of play. The American blew past her 27-year-old opponent in the second set, 6-0, but couldn’t stick the landing in the third. Pegula initially traded break points with Jabeur before she was ultimately overpowered. Up 3-2, the Tunisian claimed the last three games – and the biggest title of her career.
“For both of us, the last two weeks proved a lot,” Pegula said after the match. “We’ve come a long way from a few years ago when we were ranked 75 and 76. We were right next to each other, so that’s pretty amazing.”
Pegula’s opener against Italy’s Camila Giorgi proved her toughest match en route to the final. The American survived 7-5, 2-6, 7-5, then swept Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi in the second round. Next, Pegula faced Canada’s 2019 US Open-winner Bianca Andreescu – who fell in straight sets, having just returned to the tour in April after nearly six months away from the tour. The finalist then trounced Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo and Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann.
Since she won her maiden WTA title at the 2019 Citi Open (defeating Giorgi in the final), Pegula has only built upon her success. After finishing 2021 as world No. 18, Pegula advanced to January’s Australian Open quarterfinals for the second time in two years. She followed with a semifinal spot at the Miami Open.
Pegula is now within two spots of world No. 9 Danielle Collins, the world’s top-ranked American female tennis player.
2. Doubles specialist Desirae Krawcyzk runner-up in Madrid
After winning three mixed doubles majors on as many surfaces in 2021 – the French and US Opens with Great Britain’s Joe Salisbury, and Wimbledon with Neal Skupski – California’s Desirae Krawcyzk has found more success since teaming up with the Netherlands’ Demi Schuurs in March.
Though Krawcyzk and Schuurs lost to Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski and Italy’s Giuliana Olmos at the Mutua Madrid Open on Saturday, the duo won April’s Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany.
3. U.S. women win bronze at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup
On Sunday, the U.S. women’s team earned their second straight bronze medal at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup in Vilamoura, Portugal – defeating Colombia to secure a medal.
American Shelby Baron kicked off the first of two matches by defeating world No. 47 Johana Martinez Vega, 6-3, 6-1. Team leader and two-time Paralympian Dana Mathewson sealed the deal with a win over Angelica Bernal.
The team’s third member, Emily Kaiser, proved instrumental during the group stage, which saw the U.S. sweep Thailand and France.
While the U.S. men fell to bronze medal match opponents Japan 2-0, the foursome of Chris Herman, Jason Keatseangslip, Casey Ratziaff, and Conner Stroud got further than any team in nearly two decades. American men haven’t clinched a medal since 2004.
4. Amanda Anisimova reaches Madrid quarterfinals
Another American on a hot streak: world No. 32 Amanda Anisimova, who advanced to Madrid’s quarterfinals before falling to qualifier Ekaterina Alexandrova, 6-4, 6-3.
The Freehold, N.J. native defeated last year’s winner Aryna Sabalenka in her opener, and former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in the third round en route to her third quarterfinal of the year.
Just 20 years old, Anisimova blasted out of the gate as a teenager. She reached the fourth round of the Australian Open in 2019, then the French Open semifinals later that year. Though largely absent from the tour in 2021, Anisimova claimed the Melbourne Summer Set title early this January. Later that month, she took out defending champion Naomi Osaka in the third round of Australian Open, before falling to eventual winner Ashleigh Barty in her next match.
5. Katie Volynets wins U.S. women’s Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge
After reaching the semifinals at the USTA Pro Circuit event in Bonita Springs, Fla., last week, Katie Volynets scored a big win: a wild card spot in this month’s French Open.
The 20-year-old from Walnut Creek, Calif. passed Taylor Townsend in the final event that counted towards the USTA’s Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge. She made her major debut at the 2019 US Open, having been awarded a wild card as the USTA Girls’ 18s national champion.