Berlin: Jessica Pegula completes win over BF Coco Gauff in few minutes, reaches final

After rain delay, Pegula needed just four points to complete her win over Gauff in the Berlin semifinal.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Berlin: Jessica Pegula completes win over BF Coco Gauff in few minutes, reaches final
© Getty Images Sport - Inaki Esnaola

World No. 5 Jessica Pegula completed a straight-set win over her best friend Coco Gauff when their Berlin semifinal resumed this afternoon, while Anna Kalinskaya defeated Victoria Azarenka a day earlier to also reach the final.

Pegula, seeded at No. 4 in Berlin, was 7-5 7-6 (3-1) up on top-seeded Gauff in their match when the rain suspended play on Saturday evening. With just four points away from the win, Pegula returned to the court today and needed just a couple of minutes before completing a 7-5 7-6 (2) win over the 2023 US Open champion. 

Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff
Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff© Getty Images Sport - Inaki Esnaola
 

For 30-year-old Pegula - who is making her second Berlin appearance this week - this is her first final at the tournament. After some rest, the second best-ranked American female tennis player will be on the court again to meet world No. 24 Klinaksaya, who beat former world No. 1 Azarenka 6-1 6-7 (3) 6-1 to make her first grass final but also her first WTA 500 final. 

Going into the Berlin final, there is one thing interesting about the Pegula and Kalinskaya matchup - their first and lone meeting came in the 2019 Washington semifinal, which the American won. That week, Pegula captured her first WTA title. 

Now five years later, Pegula and Kalinskaya are set to meet again - but this time, the American is bidding for her fifth WTA title, while the 25-year-old Russian will be looking to win her first WTA title. 

How Pegula beat her best friend Gauff?

After six relatively calm games, Pegula earned the first break of the match in the seventh game and realized it. But when the time came for Pegula to serve out for the first set in the 10th game, she dropped her serve for the first time in the match as Gauff broke back to tie the opener to five games apiece.

However, Pegula didn't panic and she got another chance to serve out for the first set after breaking Gauff again in the 11th game for a 6-5 lead. This time, the 30-year-old American made no mistake on her serve, converting her second set point to go up by a set.

Jessica Pegula
Jessica Pegula© Getty Images Sport - Inaki Esnaola
 

Down by a set, Gauff claimed an early second-set break in the fourth game - went on to open a 5-2 lead - but then failed to serve out for the set in the ninth game. After failing to serve out for the second set, the top seed still had a chance to take the set but didn't realize a set point on Pegula's serve in the 12th game. 

After saving a set point, Pegula started the second-set tie-break with a 3-0 lead before Gauff won the following point to get on the board in the tie-break. With Pegula four points away from victory, the rain started falling and the match was suspended.

When the match resumed this afternoon, Pegula needed just a couple of minutes to complete her two-set win as she won the fifth point to go 4-1 up before Gauff won the following point. Then, Pegula won the next three points to win the tie-break and get the job done.

How Kalinskaya prevented an Azarenka comeback?

Kalinskaya came out blasting against Azarenka as the Russian started their semifinal match with back-to-back breaks and a dominant 5-0 lead. Azarenka managed to serve out the sixth game and avoid a bagel but it didn't change anything regarding the outcome of the first set as Kalinskaya still easily won the opener after realizing her first set point in the seventh game.

Anna Kalinskaya
Anna Kalinskaya© Getty Images Sport - Inaki Esnaola
 

After easily losing the first set, Azarenka started showing signs of life early in the second set - the former world No. 1 didn't convert her first break point in the second game but realized her second break point in the fourth game to go 3-1 up. At one point, Azarenka held a 5-2 lead but Kalinskaya managed to get the break back in the ninth game and that's how the second set went into a tie-break.

After Azarenka failed to close out the second set, it appeared that the momentum was on Kalinskaya's side. But the two-time Grand Slam champion bounced back impressively, winning four consecutive points in the second-set tie-break to open a 5-2 lead before realizing her first set point to send the match into a decider.

Kalinskaya may have lost a tight second set - but when the third set started - she was the one controlling everything. Early in the third set, Azarenka saved a break point to level the set to one game apiece but that was all from the Belarusian as Kalinskaya won the next five games to complete her big win in a very impressive way. 

Jessica Pegula Coco Gauff
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