PREVIEW | 2023 Toray Pan Pacific Open Final: Jessica Pegula v Veronika Kudermetova - Will consistent American add to 2023 title tally?

Saturday, 30 September 2023 at 18:30
After a week of action in Tokyo, it all comes down to this with Jessica Pegula facing Veronika Kudermetova on Sunday morning at the Toray Pan Pacific Open for the title. Preview looks at their route to the final, head to head and other talking points.
It will pit one of the WTA's most consistent players who has already won a WTA 1000 title this summer against one of the WTA's best spoiler players who continues to thwart the big names.

Route to the Final - Jessica Pegula

The favourite for the title will be the World Number Four and it is pretty simple to see why. You could say after the US Open where she looked to be in the form of her life and fell to Madison Keys has brought the fire back and she has won every match in straight sets this week.
But Pegula has long been a player who has been able to string these wins together in smaller tournaments without producing in the Grand Slams, so the consistency was never in doubt.
There is also the facet in the case of Pegula of now having one part of the remainder of her season boxed off. That being her WTA Finals spot which she confirmed by seeing off Maria Sakkari who has been a consistent player like Pegula but went off the boil only to win the Guadalajara title won by Pegula last season after the US Open.
So a player in form was defeated as well as a top seed in Daria Kasatkina who was swept aside in the Quarter-Finals more easier than Cristina Bucsa with the former winning just one game against a barrage by Pegula.
It would be a fourth career title for Pegula in sealing this one and seeing off another Russian in Liudmila Samsonova in Montreal could be an omen against Kudermetova. Before that she only won in Guadalajara and back in 2019 in Washington meaning it would be a first WTA 500 title too.

Route to the Final - Veronika Kudermetova

Next up for Pegula will be World No.19, Veronika Kudermetova who has played one more match than her opponent in Tokyo to reach this point. She saw off Harriet Dart, Kayla Day and the big win then came against Iga Swiatek.
Kudermetova who has had a bit of a horror streak before against Swiatek like Coco Gauff did previously has come up with the goods and won their Quarter-Final to leave the new World No.2 soul searching. A win over fellow Russian and a resurgent one at that in Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova saw her reach the final.
After winning in straight sets until the Quarter-Final, she has been embroiled in three sets since then which could hand Pegula a slender advantage given she also had a performance bye as a top two seed.
It would also snap a four final losing streak in finals with Kudermetova losing her latest one in Rosmalen earlier this season. She has one win back in April 2021 in Charleston and will aim to add a second WTA 500 title.

Head to Head - Pegula v Kudermetova

But despite that poor record in finals as of late, she has a 100% record against Pegula albeit from only one match which Kudermetova sealed in Madrid earlier this year.
On a different surface and in the Quarter-Finals, it was the usual Pegula one way and then another kind of clash which saw Pegula win the second set 6-0 before being edged out in the decider.
As a result, it isn't a huge Head to Head record compared to Sakkari for Pegula or Swiatek for Kudermetova that either have to overcome.
Prediction - Pegula in two sets


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