MELBOURNE, Australia - At the draw ceremony for the season-ending WTA Finals in October, the emcee called Jessica Pegula to the front of the room and asked the 28-year-old American about her championship at an event in Mexico a handful of days earlier.
He called it the "biggest title" of her career. Pegula politely corrected him: "Biggest title so far," she said, emphasizing those last two words.
Pegula chuckled when asked about that exchange during an interview with The Associated Press.
"I didn't mean to say that, but that's good that I said that," she said. "So far, that IS my biggest title, so that's factual and true - but also, hopefully, definitely not the last."
Pegula's had a winding journey in professional tennis and, at the Australian Open, she is hoping to add by far her most significant trophy yet. When she steps on court to face 2012-13 champion Victoria Azarenka, Pegula will be appearing in the quarterfinals for the third year in a row at Melbourne Park - and for the fifth time overall at a major, all in the past 24 months.
The No. 3 Pegula is the highest-seeded woman remaining, with No. 1 Iga Swiatek and No. 2 Ons Jabeur eliminated.
"I have a great shot here. … All around, throughout the whole tournament, I've been playing the best I have," she said after beating 2021 French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova 7-5, 6-2 in the fourth round.
Pegula relies on terrific returning (she's won a tournament-high 64% of games served by opponents) and strong defense. She uses a flat forehand and backhand slice (she's won 61% of points played at the baseline, second-best so far).
"She plays quite simple, which is, I would say, a compliment," Azarenka said, likening that aspect of Pegula's approach to former No. 1 Ash Barty, who "just did certain things so well, over and over and over again."
Pegula is 0-4 so far in Slam quarterfinals, with losses to Jennifer Brady at the 2021 Australian Open, Barty at the 2022 Australian Open, and Swiatek at the 2022 French Open and 2022 U.S. Open.
"I guess, currently, seeding-wise, I'm the favorite," Pegula said. "I would say it feels different."
And it's a long way from her trying times over the last decade. There was a 2013 knee problem that required surgery, but she worked her way back from that and earned a Grand Slam main-draw debut at the 2015 U.S. Open by beating 2009 U.S. Open quarterfinalist Melanie Oudin in the last round of qualifying.
Then came another health setback: A hip operation that kept Pegula out of action for more than half of 2017, dropping her ranking to No. 860 and sending her to lower-level ITF events.
Again, she regrouped and returned, claiming her first WTA title at Washington in 2019. That came shortly after beginning to work with Venus Williams' former coach, David Witt, who has pointed to the way Pegula "started believing in herself more that she belongs up there."
In Grand Slam action, Pegula went through a seven-match losing streak that ended with a third-round showing at the 2020 U.S. Open, and she delivered her initial major quarterfinal five months later in Australia.
More steps have followed - she called them "mini-breakthroughs" - including cracking the top 10 last year.
"I was like, `Wow, I broke through there,' because I didn't have a great Slam record. Then after that, it was … winning my first WTA event. That was a big one," Pegula said. "So there's all these little … milestones, I guess you could call them. I think it just kept building my confidence as I went along. I wouldn't say there was like a huge turning point."
Another could come this week: The Pegula-Azarenka winner will face whoever emerges from the quarterfinal between 2022 Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina and 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.
The fourth-round matches on the bottom half of the draw were as follows: Aryna Sabalenka vs. Belinda Bencic, Donna Vekic vs. Linda Fruhvirtova, Caroline Garcia vs. Magda Linette, and Karolina Pliskova vs. Zhang Shuai.
Jessica Pegula eyes 1st Grand Slam semifinal at Australian Open originally appeared on NBCSports.com
Doping is a persona Page 18 and 19 The fight against doping WADA, the Page 20 and 21 The fight against doping The WADA P Page 22 and 23 The fight against doping The CIS An Page 24 and 25 Sanctions for anti doping violation Page 26 and 27 The WADA Prohibited List Prohibited Page 28 and 29 The WADA Prohibited List Sport spec Page 30 and 31 The WADA Prohibited List Social dru Page 32 and 33 Supplements What are the risks purchase stromectol Fluorochome measurements were made on two nonconsecutive 10 Ојm sections per animal at 200 unless otherwise statedREPLY
5 molecules of maytansine buying lasix A545G mutationREPLY
cialis cheapest online prices This study evaluated absolute platelet count, absolute lymphocyte count, lactate dehydrogenase, carcinoembryonic antigen, and cancer antigen 15 3 CA15 3REPLY
buy lanoxin 250mg lanoxin 250 mg without prescription purchase molnupiravir pillsREPLY
diamox us order imdur 20mg without prescription azathioprine oralREPLY
order digoxin 250 mg for sale molnunat pills buy molnunat 200mgREPLY
carvedilol 6.25mg brand amitriptyline 10mg over the counter amitriptyline 10mg cheapREPLY
buy amoxicillin 1000mg generic stromectol 3mg without prescription stromectol 6 mgREPLY
generic alendronate fosamax 35mg canada purchase motrin pillsREPLY
buy dapoxetine for sale purchase avanafil pills purchase domperidone genericREPLY
order pamelor 25mg sale paxil 10mg over the counter buy paxil saleREPLY
purchase indocin generic order tamsulosin for sale cenforce costREPLY
order pepcid 20mg generic mirtazapine pills remeron 15mg oralREPLY
doxycycline cost chloroquine 250mg pills methylprednisolone 8mg without a doctor prescriptionREPLY
buy requip 2mg without prescription order calcitriol 0.25mg pills labetalol 100mg usaREPLY
order fenofibrate 160mg pills sildenafil 100mg price purchase viagra online cheapREPLY
tadalafil order purchase trimox sale buy trimox saleREPLY
order tadalafil 5mg generic Free cialis sildenafil 150mg priceREPLY
order esomeprazole 20mg online biaxin 250mg pill cost furosemide 100mgREPLY
buy tadalafil 20mg sale Cialis samples mens erection pillsREPLY
generic minocycline 50mg order hytrin 1mg sale generic terazosin 5mgREPLY
buy modafinil 200mg without prescription cost modafinil 100mg purchase phenergan pillREPLY
buy metformin 1000mg online order verapamil 240mg for sale buy nolvadex 20mg without prescriptionREPLY
buy deltasone 20mg generic isotretinoin 20mg buy amoxicillin 500mg for saleREPLY
buy clomid generic clomiphene drug cheap prednisoloneREPLY
order generic fildena 100mg finasteride 5mg cheap purchase finasteride genericREPLY
buy isotretinoin 10mg for sale order isotretinoin 40mg online buy ampicillin 500mg without prescriptionREPLY
Every few weeks, Ridge carries the bedbugs out to her red Honda, puts them behind the driver s seat, and brings them home legit cialis online Swedish men have very low smoking rates and much lower rates of smoking related deaths and illnesses than the populations of other EU countries because of their widespread use of snusREPLY
buy zofran 8mg without prescription order amoxil pills order bactrim genericREPLY
ivermectin 6 mg without a doctor prescription best drug for ed deltasone 20mg for saleREPLY
buy ventolin generic levoxyl price buy augmentin pillREPLY
isotretinoin 40mg uk oral isotretinoin buy generic zithromax 250mgREPLY
order modafinil pill modafinil pills metoprolol 100mg tabletREPLY
prednisolone 20mg pill buy generic prednisolone 40mg buy lasix online diureticREPLY
order dutasteride generic buy xenical 120mg for sale order xenical genericREPLY
order vibra-tabs generic buy acyclovir 800mg generic zovirax costREPLY
imuran 50mg tablet naprosyn 250mg price buy naprosyn 500mg for saleREPLY