Jessica PEGULA powers through Anna BLINKOVA challenge and clinches semifinals at San Diego Open

Saturday, 02 March 2024 at 16:01
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Jessica Pegula (No. 5) overcame the challenge from Anna Blinkova (No. 51) with a 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 victory at the San Diego Open, advancing to the semifinals. The American tennis player secured her second consecutive triumph after being sidelined for several weeks, marking her seventh appearance in the semifinals in her last 10 WTA tournaments, excluding Grand Slams.
The 30-year-old athlete had notably defeated Jule Niemeier in her opening match and faced an unexpected opponent in Blinkova, who had eliminated former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and the recent finalist of the WTA 1000 Dubai Open, Dayana Yastremska.
In the first set, both players had first-serve percentages below 55%, although Pegula's effectiveness prevailed, winning 73% of her first serves and 89% of her second serves, while Blinkova only managed 45% and 40%, respectively.
After an initial exchange where both defended their serves (1-1), Pegula took control of the match and won five consecutive games against her opponent, who increasingly made unforced errors, ultimately claiming the set 6-1.
Pegula's superiority was evident, but problems arose for the world No. 5 in the second set. Pegula's service effectiveness took a complete turn as she conceded her service four times in a row. Despite managing to secure two breaks, it wasn't enough to overcome Blinkova's 6-2 lead.
In the third set, Blinkova's errors surfaced as she couldn't maintain her level of play on serve. Pegula secured two consecutive breaks at the start, taking a 3-0 lead. Despite a minor comeback by the Russian, who recovered one of the breaks, the decisive break for Pegula arrived in the seventh game. Pegula took a 5-2 lead and comfortably closed out the match from her service, winning 6-1, 2-6, 6-2.
In the final, Pegula awaits the winner of the match between the 4th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and the 6th seed Marta Kostyuk in a new clash between Ukrainian and Russian players.

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