WTA

Pegula overcomes Azarenka to reach second WTA final of year in Guadalajara

By Sports Desk October 23, 2022

World number five Jessica Pegula clinched a berth in her second WTA final of the year with a straight-sets victory over Victoria Azarenka at the Guadalajara Open on a rainy Saturday.

Pegula defeated the former world number one Belarussian 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 in one hour and 29 minutes, having fought back from a 4-1 first-set deficit.

The American will need to wait until Sunday to learn her opponent, with rain forcing Maria Sakkari and Marie Bouzkova's semi-final to be suspended and eventually postponed with the Greek leading 7-5.

Pegula's triumph was her 40th win of the season, becoming the 10th American woman to achieve that feat.

The victory also made it four successive Grand Slam winners that Pegula has overcome to reach the final in Guadalajara, knocking off Sloane Stephens, Bianca Andreescu and Elena Rybakina along with Azarenka.

Pegula converted three of eight break points, while Azarenka took her only break point of the match to help her open up the 4-1 first-set lead.

The American proved better on her second serve, while she managed to win 15 of 26 points on Azarenka's second serve.

Sakkari and Bouzkova's semi-final will resume at 1pm local time on Sunday, with the fourth seed leading 7-5 after an epic first set that lasted 84 minutes.

The Greek showed off her grit after fluffing an early 3-1 lead by taking her eighth set point, winning a 22-shot rally - the longest of the first set - to break Bouzkova in the 12th game.

The final is due to commence no earlier than 6pm local time on Sunday, meaning it will be a physical test for the victor.

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