American tennis star Jessica Pegula thinks playing a Billie Jean King Cup tie in Asheville prepared her well for Madrid. Mid-April, the United States hosted Ukraine in a Billie Jean King Cup qualifying tie. Pegula played three matches during the Billie Jean King Cup weekend - two in singles and one in doubles.
Pegula defeated Katarina Zavatska in her first singles match but then lost to Dayana Yastremska in her next match. In the doubles, Pegula teamed up with Asia Muhammad as they defeated Yastremska and Lyudmyla Kichenok in the deciding rubber.
After helping the United States clinch a Billie Jean King Finals spot, Pegula went to Madrid. Pegula is making a strong progress in Madrid as on Sunday she defeated Kaia Kanepi 6-3 6-3 to reach the round-of-16. Pegula says the clay in Madrid is fast and it suits her game.
“Playing BJK Cup in Asheville, there was a similar altitude. I’ve changed my tension a bit from experiencing that," Pegula told WTA Insider. "I like the fast clay, it suits my game. Even last year, I was playing well and lost to Sabalenka, who was unstoppable at that tournament”.
Pegula: “Playing BJK Cup in Asheville, there was a similar altitude. I’ve changed my tension a bit from experiencing that.
"I like the fast clay, it suits my game. Even last year, I was playing well and lost to Sabalenka, who was unstoppable at that tournament”.
Pegula saw off Kanepi to reach back-to-back Madrid round-of-16
Pegula claimed the first break of the match in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead but got broken back in the following game.
Blowing an early break didn't impact Pegula, who broke Kanepi again in the eighth game and served out for the first set in the following game. After winning the first set, Pegula started the second set with an early 2-0 lead.
Pegula claimed another break in the fifth game to go up by a double break but Kanepi got one break back in the following game as Pegula led 4-2 after the opening six games of the second set. Pegula didn't let Kanepi make a comeback as she broke Kanepi again in the ninth game when the Estonian was serving to stay in the match. Pegula, who also reached the Madrid round-of-16 last year, plays Bianca Andreescu next.