"I had knee surgery. I had hip surgery...they all came at really crappy times, " Jessica Pegula had said on her resurgence from being out and recuperating from surgeries to being up; then capturing her first WTA maiden title at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C.
It was a few years ago that Pegula had a new coach Jesse Levine who understood her injury situations. He too, had his playing time cut short on the ATP tour because of an elbow injury years ago. Jessica Pegula had a mishap 5 years ago and was injured during the qualifying rounds at Wimbledon.
She had to undergo a knee operation which kept her off the courts for over a year. She experienced a crawl back up in rankings by playing on the minor league tennis circuit. Pegula acquired that needed wild card going into the 2015 qualifying rounds at the U.S.
Open. She'd make it to the 2nd round. It was just when her momentum had sparked that she developed a leg injury and it turned out to be a hip that needed surgery in January of 2017. "I've been around a long time, but 3 of those 5 years I've been injured," she said sadly.
The daughter of Terry Pegula, owner of the NFL Buffalo Bills and the NHL Buffalo Sabres, she had the determination and fire to restructure her game plan after needed operations and get into form again. Last year, the 2018 CitiOpen she received a wild card and beat Christina McHale and then Samantha Stosur, to blow in the semifinals but that gave her all the open to participate in this year's Citi Open.
Pegula's ranking coming into the Washington event was no. 79 and she was encouraged to feel that her chances were good at going deep since the defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova couldn't play because of visa issues.
"I know my game is there. I just need to stay healthy and strong mentally," Pegula thought and her predictions were excellent. The first round at Citi Open Jessica Pegula came out aggressive winning over Czech's Katerina Sinakova in straight sets.
Poland's Iga Swiatek created some challenges for Pegula as she had to go three sets to gain a victory. An American comrade, Lauren Davis was her third opponent who previously was exceptionally tough but Pegula dug deep and won the first set and the tiebreak with precision down-the-lines and pushing Davis back to grab corner court victories.
It wasn't long before unbelievably Pegula who had remembered those months of being in rehab and treatment rooms was behind her. She was in the final a Citi Open with Italy's Camila Giorgi who had some comeback issues back from wrist injuries keeping her off the court for three months.
"It's not easy to start from zero," Giorgi had said after she'd beaten the doubles partner of Coco Gauff, Caty McNally. The petite Italian must have lost much energy in her tank defeating the 17-year-old McNally because she had lost a bit of rhythm and spirted blasting shots in playing Pegula.
Giorgi tried coming on strong, it was Pegula who jumped out to a 3 to 1 lead with her passing down the lines and cross-court rally victories. Giorgi's unforced errors were the evil force behind her losing the first set 6-3 along with losing her shot selection techniques.
There were tough rallies, but it was Pegula who came up with the victories at the end of them. The second set had seemed to evaporate as Pegula had found her groove and went up 4-1 in a matter of a half-hour at best. Giorgi had only gotten an extra game before Pegula had seen match point been captured as she dropped her racket bend down to her knees becoming a bit emotional.
She then raised her hand to the crowd and thanked her team during the winner's speech section for sticking by her at the 6-2, 6-2 victory in barely an hour. She happily raised the glass pyramid-shaped trophy in relief and total happiness at winning her first WTA career title.