Kudermetova secures second career title with exceptional performance against Jessica Pegula at Pan Pacific Open

Veronika Kudermetova secured her second title by defeating Jessica Pegula 7-5, 6-1 in the final of the WTA 500 Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, Japan.

Pegula had previously played in seven finals, winning three titles and finishing as the runner-up four times, including her recent victory at the Canadian Open less than two months ago. She arrived at her first tournament since the US Open in excellent form, winning all her matches in straight sets.

The second seed, Pegula, lost only nine games in the six sets she played, with impressive victories over Cristina Bucsa (79th), Daria Kasatkina (13th), and Maria Sakkari (6th).

Her opponent, Veronika Kudermetova (19th), put behind her inconsistent performances during the hardcourt swing of the US Open series. The eighth-seeded Russian eliminated the world No. 2 Iga Swiatek in the quarterfinals and faced a tough challenge against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to reach the seventh final of her career, with only one previous title to her name.

Kudermetova had previously reached seven finals but had only won one title, the WTA 500 Charleston Open in 2021.

From the beginning of the match, Kudermetova took control of the proceedings, securing a break in the second game and quickly taking a 3-0 lead. However, Pegula improved during the exchanges and won the next three games to level the score.

While Kudermetova held her service games without too much trouble, she also applied pressure during Pegula's service games. Kudermetova took a break when it seemed like the set would go into a tie-break, advancing 7-5.

The errors that cost Pegula dearly in the first set seemed to affect her performance in the second set, where Kudermetova was significantly more aggressive. She took an early break to lead 3-0 and extended her advantage in the sixth game with a second break, eventually closing out the match with her serve at 6-1.

This is Kudermetova's second career title and will elevate her to world No. 16. As for Pegula, the result will not lead to any changes in her ranking, and she remains as the world No. 4, only behind Sabalenka, Swiatek, and Gauff.

Both players will now head to Shanghai for the final WTA 1000 event of the year, with Kudermetova facing the winner of the match between Lesia Tsurenko and Lin Zhu, while Pegula will take on Anna Blinkova.

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